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Forums / General Science and Teaching / How are you using ipads in the middle and high school science class?

General Science and Teaching

How are you using ipads in the middle and high school science class?

Author Post
Ginger Shirley Ginger Shirley 535 Points

My school just adopted that all incoming students grades 7-12 must have an ipad 2 or 3 for class use. Being we just got our ipads in April and are expected to implement the use of them in our classes starting in August, I was hoping to gather some great ideas for use in my classes this next year. I teach 7th, 8th, and high school Earth-Space. Any ideas would be great!! Whether you share a great app (which I know there are forums on that topic) or a specific lesson, I would love ideas. I figure I am not the only one facing this situation fo the upcoming year. All our students are required to have Keynote, Pages, and Numbers on their iPads. We are not allowed to ask them to purchase any apps, at least for this upcoming year. If you have an app you suggest, can you tell me how you use it? Can't wait to see the great ideas you all have.

Chris Leverington Chris Leverington 4035 Points

Just out of curiosity do the kids have to buy their own Ipad or is the school providing them with them? Our school has bought Ipads for use in AP-US and AP-Chem next year. I don't use them, so I can't be of much help unfortunately.

Ginger Shirley Ginger Shirley 535 Points

What we have done is for next year only, we are waiving our $410 textbook rental fee. Parents can then use that money to purchase an iPad. Going forward, we are not adopting any new textbooks or so we have been told. Students will be charged a $75 technology fee for this next year. We are having our entire building wired for WIFI and each department is purchasing Apple TVs to be placed in department classrooms. Students are responsible to purchase the 3 main apps school required. Not real sure what the $75 dollars is going to cover...hasn't really been explained to us fully.

Chris Leverington Chris Leverington 4035 Points

boy...i'd love to see my school try to require a textbook fee!

Here are a few apps that I've used: General: Evernote: the best way to connect all mobile devices (IMHO) i-Clickr for presentations splachtop and Touchpad: I also use these for presentations LiveBinder: access your shared livebinders Presi: use to present Presis created online For Math: Slice it! (really fun and challenging, I think) For Science: Epicenter, pangaea (somewhat lame, but the kids liked it), NOVA Elements Must get a Star Chart of some sort (my favorite personal app) Of course TED has an app as well. FYI: for document processing: I DO NOT recommend Docs to Go...go with Pages if you really want students to word process My favorite to-do/productivity app: 2Do OK, that may be enough for now...the list could go on and on!

Cathleen McCracken Cathleen McCracken 345 Points

I was lucky this year in that I received a class set of iPads as a trial run for the district. The students turned out to be the best source of how to integrate the use of iPads in the classroom. They would find apps and suggest ideas. One of the favorite apps for the students was coaster physics. This app shows acceleration, G force and potential and kinetic energy as the roller coster travels the path. Students are also able to build their own roller coasters. I will continue to share apps and lesson ideas. Even though I still am experimenting with the program. The major downfall was due to the fact that it was a class set of iPads and students had to share the iPad which led to another management issue.

Timothy Selgas Timothy Selgas 480 Points

Textbook fee Is needed! Our students love to defile them and damage them I have an iPad but our school district does not have any money for them. I have been looking over a few apps. Supposedly Microsoft office is coming to the iPad in September or so. APPS - Molar Mass - PTABLE is a web app I. It is a very interactive periodic table.

Patricia Rourke Patricia Rourke 45925 Points

The new app. Graphical Analysis for iPad is a great tool for analyzing data and for modeling data, too. Teachers may purchase class sets of subscriptions which cut the modest price of the app in half, essentially. 1.1 Graphical Analysis for iPad is now available and free upgrades will ensue. patty

Stefanie Camp Stefanie Camp 280 Points

I do think it is great, Ginger, that your school is able to provide the technology for your students to work with. I am surprised though that the school is able to get away with making the students have to provide themselves with such an expensive piece of technology. I guess the education system does need to start somewhere to begin the change towards the way our newest generation learns best. Is your school a public school, charter, or private school?

Maureen Stover Maureen Stover 41070 Points

Hi Ginger,

Like many others here, I am also surprised that your school has been able to mandate that students purchase iPads. I'd be concerned that the financial expense of an iPad may overburden many of the families in our district. Will your school be offering an iPad loan program or a scholarship program to help students who cannot afford the technology?

I for one am a huge fan of using iPads in the classroom. Although students here are not mandate to purchase an iPad, many of them do own a tablet and bring them to class. Here are a few of the uses that I have found to be beneficial:
1. Downloading lecture slides prior to class
2. Taking notes (my favorite apps for this are Evernote, Index Card, Sticky Desk, and Notebook)
3. Textbooks/reading (one thing I really like about this is the ability to take notes, highlight, link to reference materials, etc)
4. Turn-in assignment via dropbox
5. Group collaboration
6. Concept maps, mind maps, semantic maps, etc
7. Virtual labs
8. Ability to quickly and easily find information

I also use my own personal iPad to prep for class. My favorite lesson planning apps are Planbook (this is also available to Macs so the information can be accessed from multiple systems), Notebook, and Bento. I use PDF expert to keep all of my standards docs, reference materials, etc organized and easy to find. There are several excellent classroom management apps from tracking IEP to class participation.

Here is a link to Apple's Education Page with some ideas for other ways to use iPads in the classroom.


Cheska Robinson Cheska Lorena 5075 Points

Ginger, I have started experimenting with how to use iPads in the science classroom this summer session; we have very limited lab equipment and no probeware so one of my goals was to see if I can replace probeware labs by using free iPad apps instead. However, due to scheduling conflicts and very limited iPads to use in the class (we initially had a class set but they were broken by students and had to spend time in the IT emergency room), my research has stalled. Here are some recommendations though for apps I've used... - Splashtop Whiteboard app - it's $20, but it's the best app I have used because it allows me to use my work iPad as a remote control for my laptop. I use it with my interactive whiteboard for videos, direct-lecture Keynotes, and I can move around freely in the room without being tied to the laptop. It has annotation tools so I use a stylus to spotlight key concepts, write in notes, etc. I can even give my iPad to a student and have them solve a problem right there and then and it shows up on the board. I can take a snapshot of it and it uploads to a folder to my laptop desktop, which I later save to the class wiki for notes. - Nearpod Teacher/Student - both apps are free, and you essentially create your own interactive textbook with it. You use the Teacher app to sync the students' iPads, and you control what they see for videos and text. It also acts as a student response system for quick formative probes or polls. I haven't used this one in depth, just learned about it recently, but I can see a lot of possibilities with this. -If you have camera capabilities, get the QR scanner app. We have 1st-gen iPads, but I've used QR codes in the classroom to link to our class wiki. The QR scanner app make it so easy to share website URLs when you do scavenger hunts or research in the class. They don't have to struggle with typing in the long URLs. When used with the screen-capture feature, you can have students create digital storytelling products in class. - ShowMeInk/DoMeInk apps - great free apps that allow students to create products for class. As for specific science content apps, I haven't really come across stellar examples except for LeafSnap and BuildABody apps. I'm working on exploring more of those this summer! If you have an Edmodo account, there's a Teq group that specifically focuses on learning with iPads in the classroom.

Michael Blasberg Michael Blasberg 210 Points

I second the evernote recommendation, great productivity/notetaking app for students and teachers. I'd recommend the following apps, most of which are free! Google Earth BrainPOP Khan Academy Science 360 Google Sky Leaf Snap (more biology related but very cool) SPARKvueHD for datalogging and using SPARKlabs Nova Elements Apple also has recommendations in their catalog of earth/space education apps .

Patricia Rourke Patricia Rourke 45925 Points

I am wondering what you do with some of the advertising and seemingly unwelcome items that may pop up on some of the 'free' apps. This is a concern in many schools and if teachers contact the Apple App store they may be able to circumvent unwanted content by purchasing classroom 'sets' of apps and occasionally for reduced prices. This may be of use, especially if the iPads are School Owned rather than Student Owned. How do you deal with unwanted additions to 'free apps?'

Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43175 Points

Interesting topic. This one has really forced me to look at my own practice and thoughts behind technology in the classroom. I am looking forward to hearing how others are utilizing the iPads in their classrooms, it really is the wave of the future. Patty, it seems “commercials” are abundant in both the Apple and PC world. I had a discussion with my 7th and 8th graders last year about how we adults should handle this, and their answer was, “Do what we do, ignore them.” Students are much more capable of ignoring content that appears on pages than we are. When I asked them to explain more, they reiterate they tolerate the ads because they know it’s the price of getting their app for free or low cost. This launched a huge class discussion on Facebook and all of the ads that show to the side based on the interest of the person accessing the site. More and more the sites themselves are becoming smarter, offering us products, stories and websites based on our searching patterns. Theoretically, the inappropriate ads won’t even pop up since it is not a researched item. Interestingly, we are finding ourselves having to go more and more the fee route just to survive. There is a Science fee to help replenish the consumable materials, a technology fee to pay for the ink and paper students use when printing stuff out at school, a planner fee to pay for their planner, and depending on the elective, a fee to cover the costs of materials, band instrument rental, etc. While the $410 may seem steep, the reality is funding for public schools is waning and textbooks are becoming a thing of the past whether we like it or not. If the parent really does invest in the iPad, then the student will have a tool that will follow them through their school years and can be passed down to siblings. Yes, I know that technology is often dated the moment you pull it from the box, but still, if you look at the daily investment, based on a 180 day school year, you are looking at $2.27 day for a tool that you can write on, read on, research on, access the texts on line so you don’t have to carry around a very heavy backpack … I do see two problems, one is the cost for those students that can’t afford it, but then again, in my school, these are often the same students that get stuck with fees because they are constantly losing books and have to pay to replace them. Perhaps if they owned the iPad, they might become more responsible for making sure they don’t lose them – at least that has been the trend at my school with students that have bought graphing calculators and those that borrow them from the school. The second problem is what if the parents choose to not invest in the iPad? This is a different issue from not being able to afford the technology. Some parents don’t want their child in the internet world, are technophobic and then there are those that don’t have internet access at home for a variety of reasons. I have parents that are terrified of “the big bad ugly that is lurking on the internet waiting to corrupt their child.” When we make a major move like this toward becoming technology dependent, we have to remember that we will also have to make the investment of time in training staff, students and parents. There has to be a very intentional move to make sure we are using the technology as tool, not a toy that has the potential to lose its effectiveness if we don’t clearly show how to use it to enhance learning. As for apps to use in class, I love Cathleen’s suggestion, ask the kids. I have done this with my 7th and 8th graders. The trick is, I have to clearly define the learning target and what the learning outcome is for students. Once I have trained them in my expectations, procedures and processes, I have the expectation my students will find resources that meet the goals. I have never been disappointed. It’s amazing how they think so differently than I and find resources using keyword searches that would never have occurred to me. The big bonus is, students are learning to become independent learners and how to be accountable for their own learning.

Cheska Robinson Cheska Lorena 5075 Points

Maureen, What apps are you using for virtual labs? Cheska

Elaine Maggioli Elaine Maggioli 55 Points

I have been using my classrrom ipad set as follows: - internet research - access to Discovery School - we do "one-take" videos with partners for various topics (vocab, explain use of equipment etc. I hook the ipad to a VGA cable to display whole class or we upload to youtube and post on our class wiki - we make "paper slides" to explain processes (ex. protein synthesis) they put information on papers and slide the papers over as they video and explain process. - check out the app- educreations- great way for "flipping class" - I use Dropbox, and plan to have the students use Evernote in the fall - I also use wikispaces extensively for all class work. It has been tricky doing this with the iPad but we have been "creative" see my site

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68625 Points

Here is a list of iphone apps mostly design for NY regents. Most $1.99 Bio Regents Buddy- Appstore Link - Video of App - Chem Regents Buddy- Appstore Link - Video of App - Physics Regents Buddy- Appstore Link- - Video of App - Earth Science Regents Buddy- Appstore Link – Video of App- Environmental Science Buddy- Appstore Link - Video of App- Human Body Buddy- URL - Appstore Link - Global History Regents Buddy Appstore Link- - Video of App- US History Regents Buddy Appstore Link – Video coming soon Astronomy Buddy- Appstore Link- Video coming soon Geometry Regents Buddy -Appstore Link - Video coming soon Integrated Algebra Regents Buddy Appstore Link- Video of App- MS Life Science Buddy- Appstore Link - Video of App- MS Physical Science Buddy- Appstore- Video-

Patricia Rourke Patricia Rourke 45925 Points

Pamela, What an interesting listing of apps available for NY Regents. I would be so appreciative of your taking one as an example and expounding upon it a bit so that I can visualize what the app does and how the student would interact with the material of the app on the iPad. My mind is imaginative but would really enjoy some specifics to ground it with respect to these offerings. Thanks a bunch for sharing and for enlightening me when you have a moment. ~patty ps. Since I live mostly in a pc world I am not up on apps.

Maureen Stover Maureen Stover 41070 Points

Cheska Lorena wrote on Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:26 PM: [i]Maureen, What apps are you using for virtual labs? Cheska[/i] Hi Cheska, Here's a link to some great virtual lab " target="_blank">virtual lab software for the iPad . I'm primarily an elementary teacher. Using the virtual labs is great for the upper grade students because it enables to kids to explore anatomy without worrying about the the safety concerns of dissection. It's a fantastic compromise. Maureen

Patricia Rourke Patricia Rourke 45925 Points

Hi Ginger and All Readers and Posters to this discussion of using iPads effectively within the science classroom. This months, Science Teacher was just delivered to my hands and the Science 2.0 department, The Science Teacher, September 2012, Vol. 79 No 6, offers a few tantalizing suggestions to Tablets as Learning Hubs. There are excellent tips on Magnifiers and misroscopes on the camera, Lenses, optics, light and prisms, QR codes, Google Earth KMZ files, among others. This one page article certainly merits a bit of attention if you are interested in tablets as learning hubs. ~patty

Angela Hartfield Angela Hartfield 575 Points

If you are looking for an app that might be applicable when teaching Simple Machines, you might consider Tinkerbox HD It is a free app, physics puzzle game that has science facts and engineering. I would be interested to know if anyone finds it useful.

Eugene Pascual Eugene Pascual 1075 Points

I love to hear how teachers are incorporating IPAD's in the classroom. I'm working on a grant that purchased IPAD's for the classroom. We don't have enough for everyone, however they have purchased ITOUCH's as well. The challenge is to tie it into the classroom. I found many uses for the IPAD and ITOUCH in allowing the elementary students explore Apps: SCIENCE: Google Earth, Planet Finder, Planets MATH: Slice it!, iCrosss, Geometry Pad LANGUAGE ARTS: Fry Words, Phonics Genius PRESENTATIONS: Prezzi, VoiceThread, Slideshow Pro VIDEOS: BrainPoP, BrainPOP Jr., PBS, Videoscience, Etc. I've hooked up an apple TV to the television in the classroom so that I can show students what I'm looking at on the web or on the IPAD. The AppleTV has opened so many possibilities that the students have used their photos or videos as data as they work on their oral presentation skills and show it on the TV. Students have taken photos as data out in the field and brought it back, and placed it on the Apple TV for immediate feedback as the class discusses their observation. The live video has also been engaging. As I continue to find more valuable uses of the IPAD and ITOUCH in the classroom, I'd like to know if anyone knows of an APP where students can create their own land or building as my class is exploring an idea about how land is used for building vs. farming.

Bess Seewald Bess Greenbaum 585 Points

Hi all, thanks for all of the great ideas. Cheska, I am especially interested in the app you mentioned that allows you to remotely operate the laptop- I walk around my classroom often and hate being "tethered" to the front of the room- it isolates too many students. And the remote-controlled mice are often really cumbersome to use.

Bess Seewald Bess Greenbaum 585 Points

Hi all, thanks for all of the great ideas. Cheska, I am especially interested in the app you mentioned that allows you to remotely operate the laptop- I walk around my classroom often and hate being "tethered" to the front of the room- it isolates too many students. And the remote-controlled mice are often really cumbersome to use.

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