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Star Walk Kids: Astronomy Game
Pros: Fantastic tool for young stargazers is packed with kid-friendly graphics and content.
Cons: Provides no way for kids to assess learning.
Bottom Line: Interactive tool is an excellent resource for kids who are curious about space.
This tool is an exciting way to bring astronomy to life in the classroom. Have kids work in small groups to point the device toward the sky and explore all that appears on the screen. Discuss as a class the celestial bodies and the constellations kids see. Encourage them to look at the night sky at home and compare what they see to what they observed while using the app.
With its simple yet appealing layout, this app is easy to navigate. The main screen is a virtual planetarium, which is essentially a built-in gyroscope that, when the user's device is pointed toward the sky, matches a map on the screen to the stars seen from the user's location. Kids can tap a dial in the top-right corner to rotate the screen clockwise or counter-clockwise. A compass at the bottom-right corner helps kids find North, and a tappable icon in the top-left corner gives them access to facts about space. The menu includes four categories: Planets, Stars, Constellations, and Extra, which incudes information about Hubble and the International Space Station.
Star Walk Kids is an engaging, exploratory tool kids can use to learn about stars (including star patterns or constellations), planets, and spacecraft, like Hubble and the International Space Station. They can also use the virtual planetarium to view real-time locations of these objects in the sky, which encourages kids to freely explore outer space anywhere at any time. Several easily accessible animations and audio explanations teach kids facts about space. Some narrations are quite brief, but this seems appropriate given the target age of most users. An assessment or game would be a great way for kids to apply what they learn.