Teachers can use Tinybop Schools to introduce and explore a variety of scientific concepts with high-quality models and simulations. Educators might have students work individually or in pairs exploring a specific system of the human body, the water cycle, the solar system, and so much more. As students work through the experience, teachers can facilitate class discussions. For younger students, teachers could project the simulation or conduct a class activity, and then have students try it on their own. Tinybop will display some questions or hints on what to click, but the design of the app appropriately emphasizes exploration, not explanation. It's up to the teacher to help students make meaning from their observations.
Tinybop provides great thinking questions and has created excellent handbooks and worksheets for students to complete. The simulations stand on their own, so these handouts aren't necessary. These pages are a great option for teachers who want to provide a little more direction or obtain a more concrete form of assessment. Teachers who use them will no doubt appreciate the quality of these printables.Continue reading Show less
Tinybop Schools is a web-based tool for modeling an array of science and engineering concepts. Until recently, Tinybop apps have been available only on Android and iOS. Tinybop Schools allows students on Windows, Macs, Chromebooks, and other devices to have the opportunity to use these apps. These web simulations are similar to if, not the same as, their iOS and Android counterparts.
The full suite of titles available on the web platform includes Human Body, Coral Reef, Weather, Space, Simple Machines, Mammals, The Earth, Skyscrapers, and Homes. Each one of these has several simulations that students can investigate by clicking or clicking and dragging. Of course, touch-compatible devices will work as well. All of the simulations have labels, which can be switched from English to many other languages. The main text throughout the app (titles, descriptions, questions, etc.) is in English only.
The teacher dashboard is minimal. Teachers can create classes and add student accounts. It doesn't display any information on what students have completed, time spent in simulations, or any other data. The app doesn't have any built-in assessment data such as short answers or multiple-choice questions -- the focus is on student discovery.
Some teachers may be frustrated that Tinybop Schools doesn't collect any assessment data. While that feeling is understandable, it keeps the student focus on exploring and interacting with the simulation. Even without direction, students will learn lots with Tinybop Schools and most will thoroughly enjoy discovering on their own. If teachers have some specific concepts they want students to walk away with -- or if they want to make sure to correct any misconceptions -- they should use the provided worksheets or supplement with their own activity or discussion.
The design is simple enough that any student willing to click around to see what happens will figure it out. The app doesn't have built-in text-to-speech, but the device's text reader should be able to read texts for students that need it. Being able to read isn't essential for using the app, but younger students will need more support and modeling. Younger students may not be able to understand everything in the app, but they can make observations -- such as what happens when light shines on the human eye.
Teachers should be aware that biological processes are appropriately represented. Mammals will demonstrate how a fetus grows in an animal and is born through the vagina. This also means things will eat, digest, and poop. In Skyscrapers, students (as engineers) will see the impact of clogged toilets, which people will continue to use. The toilet use isn't very graphic but involves some noise. This shouldn't steer anyone away from using the website, but some teachers may need to prepare students for these experiences.
Key Standards Supported
Earth and Human Activity
Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants or animals (including humans) and the places they live.
Ask questions to obtain information about the purpose of weather forecasting to prepare for, and respond to, severe weather.
Earth’s Place in the Universe
Use observations of the sun, moon, and stars to describe patterns that can be predicted.
Use information from several sources to provide evidence that Earth events can occur quickly or slowly.
Develop and use a model of the Earth-sun-moon system to describe the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, eclipses of the sun and moon, and seasons.
Analyze and interpret data to determine scale properties of objects in the solar system.
Use and share observations of local weather conditions to describe patterns over time.
Obtain information to identify where water is found on Earth and that it can be solid or liquid.
Obtain and combine information to describe climates in different regions of the world.
Make observations and/or measurements to provide evidence of the effects of weathering or the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind, or vegetation.
Analyze and interpret data from maps to describe patterns of Earth’s features.
Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth’s materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.
Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales.
Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses results in changes in weather conditions.
Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth's systems result in changes in climate.
Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.
Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.
Make observations to determine the effect of sunlight on Earth’s surface.
Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents.
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.
Read texts and use media to determine patterns in behavior of parents and offspring that help offspring survive.
Develop models to describe that organisms have unique and diverse life cycles but all have in common birth, growth, reproduction, and death.
Use evidence to support the explanation that traits can be influenced by the environment.
Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
Use a model to describe that animals’ receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways.
Matter and Its Interactions
Plan and conduct an investigation to describe and classify different kinds of materials by their observable properties.
Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that a pattern can be used to predict future motion.
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