What it is:Starting with Soil is a free app from the Whole Kids Foundation that teaches the importance of healthy soil and lets kids discover the harmonious roles that plants, animals, and people play in keeping it healthy. This high-quality, interactive app lets kids explore the life in soil through lots of interactive experiences. They can use a compost wheel to learn about which things can be composted; learn about pollinators and their role in the food we eat; explore fungi, bacteria, protozoa, algae, and nemotodes with a built-in microscope; and learn how long it takes to make an inch of healthy soil with an interactive timeline. Kids can also plant digital seeds, make it rain, and build their own digital compost pile.
How to integrate the Starting with Soil App in your classroom:The Starting with Soil app is a fantastic interactive experience that will help your students learn about how nature creates organic soil, the role that animals and cover crops play in organic farming, how different plants can thrive together, the importance of pollinators, and how compost is made and its part in growing healthy food. This free app can be used as a provocation for an inquiry unit about soil, in your science classroom, or during discussions about ecosystems or nutrition.
My favorite part of this app is the way it let’s kids explore soil. Rather than telling them why healthy soil is important, it reveals its importance through discovery, exploration, and play.
Follow-up learning by giving students the opportunity to put that new understanding to work. Have students design pollinator hotels for your school yard or garden, start a composting bin, or start a school garden. Check out the Whole Kids Foundation site for fantastic resources, ideas, and grant opportunities.
Tips: Starting with Soil is available on the App Store and Google Play.
What it is:The Hobby Shop is an amazing interactive site where students can learn about science. Students can learn about a compound microscope, dissecting microscope, catapults, chemistry, and rockets. Each section of the hobby shop is completely interactive and has students discovering learning through virtual experimentation. Students can look through microscopes, each step of the way they are taught how to do things like prepare petri dishes, and clean up properly afterward. In the chemistry lab students can create an ingredient found in chalk, make a chemical used in photography, make liquids change colors, or test chemicals for electrical conductivity. Students are led through each step of an experiment just as they would do it in an actual lab. There is an interactive periodic table of elements that students can use to learn about different elements. Students can create their own rocket in the rocket lab choosing the body, nose cone, and fins of a rocket and then test it out. Students can also test out catapults with water balloons.
How to integrate Hobby Shop into the classroom: Hobby Shop is a wonderful place for students to experiment and interact with science in preparation for doing the experiment in class. It is interactive enough to take the place of experiments where the science budget doesn’t allow for a class set of materials. I am SO impressed with the way that this site leads students through each step of the process to complete an experiment. Use this site with the whole class using an interactive whiteboard, invite students to come up to the board and conduct the experiment. This site is also perfect for use as a science center in the one or two computer classroom or for individual use in a computer lab environment.
Tips: Check out the Teacher Resources for standard alingment, correlating worksheets, and other pdf files.
Leave a comment and tell us how you are using The Hobby Shop in your classroom.