STEM Apps Beyond the Classroom
Are you concerned that your child spends too much time playing meaningless games on the smartphone or tablet? Don’t fret! Apple features over 65,000 educational apps, designed specifically for the iOS platform that reaches all levels of education. But, with so many apps to choose from, parents may find it challenging to know which apps are best for their children. Here are a few apps that teach STEM-related (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) material that are educational, but fun and entertaining.
Rube Works: The Official Rube Goldberg Invention Game by Electric Eggplant in partnership with Kalani Games and the Heirs of Rube Goldberg and published by Unity Games
Where to download: iTunes App Store; Google Play; Amazon App Store; Mac App Store
This app combines puzzles, humor and creative problem solving in a whimsical environment. Users enter the wacky world of Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) to learn the logic of physics through the connection of oddball items, inventing machines that solve problems.
Tinkerbox HD by Autodesk, the creators of AutoCad and other engineering tools
Where to download: iTunes App Store
Moving away from whimsy, Tinkerbox uses an industrial-looking design in its app. The physics-based puzzler and engineering tool assists users to create their own virtual inventions. STEMists and their parents will dive into this app to learn engineering basics, mechanical concepts and other science facts. Machines built in the Invent mode can be shared with friends. Plus, high scores on the physics puzzle game can be shared through the Game Center’s social network, if desired.
iLiveMath Animals in Africa by iHomeEducator
Where to download: iTunes App Store
Animal lovers should check out iLiveMath Animals in Africa . This app combines math word problems with the enjoyment of learning about the lives of animals in Africa. This app uses entertaining pictures, videos and sound to help first- through sixth-grade students gain mathematical confidence by answering questions related to some of their favorite animals!
Solar Walk: 3D Solar System Model by Vito Technology
Download: iTunes App Store
The recent reintroduction of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos on ABC primetime programming has children and adults all over the country interested in the universe and all its wonders, once again. Astronaut wannabes and space enthusiasts will get lost in the awesome graphics of Solar Walk. Rated a best app of 2010, 2011, 2012 by Apple, Solar Walk is a spectacular model of the solar system displaying planets and satellites with remarkable detail and accuracy. Users navigate through space and time with scrolling, tapping, and zooming capabilities. 3D graphics highlight and complement learning about planet composition, trajectory, temperature, history, and more. Plus, users can study the layers below the surface with views from various angels.
Solar Walk’s 3D mode can be connected to a 3D television or viewed with red/blue 3D glasses. Click here to get them for free online or make them yourself!
Other Apps to Mention
Space enthusiasts of all ages also might like to experience NASA’s free app, which offers a news feed on the latest news in the science community, information on each space mission, entertaining videos on space travels, and much more.
Montessori Geometry, by Les Trois Elles Interactive also is ideal for children 5 to 10 years old. This app, designed by Montessori teachers, offers multiple levels of instruction through 3D graphics, and teaches about the different shapes, definitions and vocabulary associated with geometry.
Engineers Decide by author and educator David Janoszis an interactive iBook ideal for STEMISTs age five through ten. This iBook is all about things engineers do. It encourages children to apply their imagination to create new things that make our lives better. Full of colorful artwork and interactive videos, Engineers Decide is a wonderful way to show how engineering careers shape our lives, inspiring the next generation of STEMists to get excited about STEM.