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General Science and Teaching

Best Science Apps?

Author Post
Wendy Ruchti Wendy Ruchti 24835 Points

Do any of you use Ipod Touches or IPads in the classroom? Smart phones? What are the best apps you've found and how do you use them?

Linda Ngo Linda Ngo 2775 Points

In the classroom that I student taught, my cooperating teacher uses mostly Brain Pop Jr. since they have the video and quizzes that students can answer questions on.

Wendy Ruchti Wendy Ruchti 24835 Points

Geology Apps: Folds and Faults (tutorial with pretty cool pics) epicenter and Epicentral: lists geological "events" sorted by distance, size, time...they are different but very interesting. Pangaea Seismometer (a tiny seismograph)

Wendy Ruchti Wendy Ruchti 24835 Points

Space Science: Star Chart, NASA LER, NASA Biology: Mitosis

Dorothy Ginnett Dorothy Ginnett 28240 Points

Hi Wendy - Thanks for starting this discussion thread! Are the APPs you mentioned all Free? Can you tell us a bit about why you like each of those Apps for teaching? I'm very interested in learning more about the best science teaching Apps. Also, would be interested in hearing more about Apps for current science news and professional development. Dorothy

Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43175 Points

What a fun thread. I recently purchased an I-Pad2 and found they work wonderfully well here on the NSTA website. It’s so easy to access my PD portfolio, articles and resources while on the run, waiting for doctors appointments, and niece and nephew events. While at the Apple store, the wonderful guy that helped me out showed me a periodic table app that excited me to no end. It’s called “The Elements for iPhone, Element Collection.” There are two drawbacks, one, at the moment it appears to be for the i-phone only and it’s $9.99. The good news is, once you’ve bought an app, you have it forever. You have to be a little careful when you initially download it because there are several versions, some are very phone model specific, another is in Japanese. My guess is there will be further versions for the I-Pad coming, but you never know. What I loved about this is the ability to see photographs of the real element, tap on the element and go to the element’s homepage and find more samples and objects relating to the sample. You can use your finger to rotate the objects. The app is based on the book, “The Elements”, by Theodore Gray. “iLab: Quick Timer” is a must have for teachers that are always on the hunt for a stopwatch/timer. There are three different presets which allows you to count up continuously or count down from a set time; repeat once or until cancelled; have an individual alert sound. I use the free version.

Elisia Grim Elisia 2040 Points

Very helpful! I will definitely be using the iLab:Quick Timer in my future classroom!

Danielle Penrod Danielle Penrod 2295 Points

You should be able to purchase an I-phone app for your ipad. I know I have done this before, but don't remember which app I did this with. I remember doing this because someone told me about an app, but I could not find it in the store. After switching to I-phone only apps, I was able to find it and load it to my ipad.

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92246 Points

I don't have an Ipod Touch, Ipad, or Iphone. I know it is hard to believe! Are these Apps specific to each Idevice? Are there things you can access through Apps that are not available on an 'old-fashioned' computer? Imay have to get on the Iway!
At the Using Technology in the Classroom Yes or No thread, someone mentioned Iming. Is that considered an App? Has anyone used that in the classroom?

Wendy Ruchti Wendy Ruchti 24835 Points

Carolyn wrote: Are these Apps specific to each Idevice? Are there things you can access through Apps that are not available on an 'old-fashioned' computer? Imay have to get on the Iway![i] Carolyn, I'm not an expert, but I do know that you can buy apps from ITunes (for Ipod Touch, IPhone, and IPad), and then you also have apps for other smartphones and tablets (Android). There is supposedly a bigger selection from ITunes, but I hear that as the Android market heats up, there will be more and more. Since I have an IPod Touch, I use those from ITunes. These apps are only made for the devices listed, not for a general computer. It's been way fun to try out new apps as they have, so far, had one for 99% of what I'm looking for. For example, I have an app called 'Attendance'. I use it in my college classes at the beginning of the semester when I have all new students. It let's me enter their names and upload a photo (I have a 4th gen IPod Touch that has a camera. I can enter other information, but don't usually need to. I then use it to quiz myself so that I can learn student names. It also has the ability to assign to groups of any size and, my favorite, to randomly call on students (but cycles through them all), so if I'm asking questions, I can make sure to call on everyone. I also have another app called IClicker (and there are many others like this) where I can control a PPT presentation, see my notes, and make marks on the PPT from my IPod Touch. I use this when I have students using their laptops (and other inappropriate off task behavior) so I can really wander the room while still clicking. 'Proximity' works at the college level too.

Wendy Ruchti Wendy Ruchti 24835 Points

@Adah, I also love google of the main reasons I want to get an IPad or Iphone, because google earth only words with internet access, and the IPod Touch doesn't work without WiFI. I have talked to several field geologist that now use their IPhone out in the field...

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92246 Points

Wendy, Thank you so much for all the information about how you are using Apps in your classes. It really helped to hear about all the different ways you have incorporated this technology. You have provided the nudge I needed to make the purchase that will bring me up to Tech Date - warp speed ahead to my Apple store! Carolyn

Dorothy Ginnett Dorothy Ginnett 28240 Points

Field Identification APP

For the bird watcher out there try free Field ID APPS, such as the free
'Peterson' (Bird Feeder Birds of North America) APP.

It has Bird images, range maps and bird song audio clips for about 160 common birds.

This would be great for teaching species identification prior to a field trip and then for a quick reference source while in the field.

I'm guessing there are field ID APPs on other groups - mammals, frogs, etc.



Patty McGinnis Patricia McGinnis 25635 Points

I found this web site that lists the 100 best apps for teachers; some of them look quite interesting

Dorothy Ginnett Dorothy Ginnett 28240 Points

More Free APPS -

Here are some more wildlife and nature observation APPS

WildObs (Wildlife Observer Collection - document and share wildlife observations)

Project Noah (From NYU - citizen science, record nature observations)

Nature Find - Find nature sites near your location


Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43175 Points

One of the questions that came up in our Professional Learning Community this week was whether or not educators were able to receive a discount on apps for the I-Pod/I-Pad. A Google search yielded an interesting site, “Wired Educator” with lots of information that is well worth thinking about. Some of his suggestions also gave me some ideas how to expand my use of the iPad in class. Here is the link: I also spent some time on, which deals specifically with education apps provided by Apple broken down specifically by content area. The Science section is particularly well laid out and worth the time to look. I would love to hear how others are successfully using the iPhones/iPad in their classrooms, especially with autistic students.

Kendra Young Kendra Young 17180 Points

What a great thread! I have Droid and my middle schooler loves to use my Google Sky! She even entertained the staff at my dentist's office with it a few weeks ago. For bird lovers, I would also suggest iBird. We are new to the pacific NW and have used it many times to identify the birds that come to our feeders. For fun, try the Attendance Countdown that happily counts down the number of days to the end of the semester or until the next break. Some of my other favorites are Word of the Day, EleMints, and Brushes. Thanks for posting! Kendra

Bambi Bailey Bambi Bailey 9515 Points

I am so happy to see this thread! Sometimes I want to purchase technology for teachers as part of a grant, but I need to plan to teach them how to use the technology to enhance their teaching. This thread will be vary helpful for me. On my phone I have SkyWalk, Electrical toolkit, Cell - something (I'll have to check.), but I needed the earth science ideas. I also appreciate the attendance app info. I can use that with my college students. Bambi

Bambi Bailey Bambi Bailey 9515 Points

Earlier I couldn't remember what the name of my cell app is. It's 3D Cell. The Apple website has a list and connects you to iTunes to get other science apps. Vernier has a motion sensor app for the iPhone 4 that is great. A colleague has it. We've just started playing with it. I'm sure as more people get the technology Vernier and others will develop more support for it. Bambi

Donald Boonstra Donald Boonstra 8585 Points

This is an inspired topic!!! I only get free apps - so far. Here are the ones I have on my iPhone and use quite a bit. Compass NASA Planets 3D Sun (great messages about solar storms are pushed through) SkyORB Weather Underground I have to check out that Peterson's guide - ooh, I may have to pay for an app. The Birds of North America at 14.95 might be worth breaking down.

Bambi Bailey Bambi Bailey 9515 Points

I was just a meeting where a presenter showed us her Air Link from Pasco. Students can gather data on Pasco sensorware connected to AirLink and send it to an iPad. All the data goes the same place wirelessly! Another presenter used a Cloud as the database so that all his students could access the Google docs of others on different parts of an island. I very excited and have to check out Vernier to see if they followed the leader on that one! If anyone else has used this kind of hardware, please let me know how well it works.

Stacy Holland Stacy Holland 6865 Points

Google apps allow you to use discovery education on droids. I also use visual thesaurus from Web 2.0.

Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43175 Points

Three new Apps I discovered this week for my iPad was “GoSkyWatchP”, an astronomy star guide. There are lots of options to turn different functions off or on. It’s really pretty accurate. The only thing I find difficult is the constant turning. While it was not a free app, it was not overly expensive either. The second I am having a lot of fun with is “Casey’s Contraptions”. As you play the app you try to help Casey get his toys back. This is accomplished by creating Rube Goldberg contraptions to free the toys. The concepts are all basic physics, but gradually get more difficult the further you proceed. Was not free, but was less than $5.00 The third is “Hungry Hamsters”. This one has me baffled at some early levels. The goal is to help guide the poor starving hamsters to treats. Initially it seems easy. You use your finger to draw a line, based on physics principles to guide the hamster to the treat. The only easy part of this is drawing the line. Connecting it in a manner so as to make the hamster follow the path is a different story. To accomplish the task you have to use both physics concepts and logic. Again, not a free app, but was less than $4.00.

Bambi Bailey Bambi Bailey 9515 Points

Because we are working on a list of potential apps (primarily focused on iPad, but some teachers have iTouches and their own iPhones) for a workshop, I incorporated what is on this list with other things that we have found. I'm attaching the current draft list for use by this forum. The apps that have the price listed are for iPads. We'll work on making it complete, and I'll upload it soon. It just sounds like between this thread and the one about managing working with these technologies the need is now. OK, I've tried three different formats and am told that none of them (.doc, .docx, .rtf) are the appropriate file types. I'll try to upload later when there may be less traffic. I'll also try from my other computer. Sorry for the buildup and letdown. I'll get the list up. Bambi

Maria Berrios Maria Berrios 395 Points

Hi Bambi, You may want to try to convert the file to a .pdf. Maria

Katherine Nellis Katherine Nellis 220 Points

I'd love that list Brandi!

Angie Fairweather Angelika Fairweather 12180 Points

Has anybody used the smartphones as a handheld response "clicker"? I have seen several sites selling software to use with PowerPoint or for polling. Any suggestions? Thank you, Angie

Cheryl Cheifetz Cheryl Cheifetz 1695 Points

For free, use poll everywhere. You can get instant feedback and any device that can access the web can be used. -

Bambi Bailey Bambi Bailey 9515 Points

Finally trying again! There should be a list of apps attached. However, I have been slowly adding things to my iPad so will update this after school gets started.


Angie Fairweather Angelika Fairweather 12180 Points

This is such a great forum. Using technology to engage students will help us produce 21st century students. Bambi thank you for the list, parents are always asking for recommendations. I would like to come up with a lesson where students write and share their results using the iPAD II, which we have a class set available. Any suggestions? Thank you, Angie

Bambi Bailey Bambi Bailey 9515 Points

Angelika, Do you use Pasco? They have the Air Link that allows data to be sent to an iPad. Also, soome colleagues have used Drop Box for students to upload their data to one place, but either the students need to be in a WIFI area or have 3G iPads. Bambi

Angie Fairweather Angelika Fairweather 12180 Points

Thank You Bambi, the iPad is a new platform for me. I will look into Pasco. We have WiFi so I'll be able to use the dropbox app you mentioned. This technology is so new to the face of education. I am excited to see what ideas develop for their application to education. Thank You, Angie

Renee Hashimoto Renee Hashimoto 1595 Points

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92246 Points

For those of us needing a little extra 'help' with the new technologies, Seimens is having a webinar: iThink iNeed iPads in the Classroom Go to this site to register. It is on Wednesday, November 30, 2011, 7pm ET
Here is the informational summary: We'll take a close look at how exactly these technologies are being leveraged in the classroom and what the best Apps are for educational purposes. We'll also explore some creative ways that you can fund your own i-initiative!

 steve staley 2480 Points

just to take pics of the students for our blog and website

 steve staley 2480 Points

I also use science trivia apps and periodic table apps

Rocio Garcia Rocio Garcia Rangel 750 Points

I think it is important to include the new technology in the classroom to enhance the classroom. I personally have installed Google Sky on my phone which I think would be something interesting to recommend to the students and their parents. A simple app like this can connect the students to science and give a time for families to interact. Students are eager to explore and if the tools are available I think it is wise for the students to use such tools to further their explorations. -Rocio

Lorrie Armfield Lorrie Armfield 51438 Points

My school is one of four in our school district in which all the scholars have iPads 2. If anyone is searching for great apps to use, the link attached is a wonderful starting point. Most of the apps are free, and many of them can be used with just a teacher iPad and a white board/interactive board/Promethean board. LA


Science Apps for the iPad (External Website)

Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43175 Points

I am appreciative of the list posted by Bambi and the website from Lorrie. I love technology and spend way too much time on it, if that is even possible. Both of these resources are useful in giving great starting places to look for what others have used and recommend. I continue to be interested in what others find and share.

Caryn Meirs Caryn Meirs 26235 Points

Ruth - I love the trivia game thanks for the suggestion! Here's a return the favor app that maybe you could get to work on your android or computer. Its called icell by HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. Free to download - and great for earthscience people like me who constantly need to review it or lose it when it comes to life science terms and skills!

Lorrie Armfield Lorrie Armfield 51438 Points

Yet more Apps... Earlier today I facilitated s session at our iCamp workshop (using iPads in the classroom). I set up stations (as in the Apple Store)....At the genius bar which was monitored by amazing students who are tech saavy and who have served as iScholars in our science classroom, my students helped other science educators in our county download several apps. Among them were: 3D4 Medical Images 3DCell Stain Accuweather APOD: Astronomy Picture of the Day Astro App Discovery Channel Earth HD EMD Periodic Table of Elements Exoplanet Hudson Alpha iCell iBird Lite HD iCarbon Calc Lab Timer Mild EleMints Modality Body Science educators had an opportunity to explore the apps, and then could choose to attend a 'studio session' led by me, to actually learn how a few of the apps could be used in the classroom. A great time was had by all. Lorrie

Tara Kogelschatz Tara Kogelschatz 2030 Points

This is such a great thread! I am studying Elementary Education, and the apps suggested are all very neat and I am sure that I will have a lot of fun using them in my field placements!

Fozia Baig fozia baig 810 Points

I will be a certified teacher next year and this was so helpful! I will be integrating technology in my classroom and science is one of the hardest to include technology with since its demonstrations and observations but these apps look like they will really help. I will definitely be looking into them.. Thank you so much for the tips!

Brianna Kendrick Brianna Kendrick 375 Points

While not exactly science related, I use Plickers app in my classroom for our problem of the day. Each problem is a question to assess what we have learned. Each student has their card glued into their notebook for easy access. Plickers is great because it graphs all the information for you.

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