Explore Light and Color with these iPad Apps

iPads are quickly making their way into the hands of our Burlington students at the elementary grades. There are some great educators across the district putting these devices to work in ways that allow students to capture their understanding and share it like never before. Nevertheless, I often have teachers, parents, and other informal educators ask me, “what apps I recommend for elementary science.” While I have not actively gone our searching and reviewing apps that support our curriculum, I have come across via my twitter PLN and word-of-mouth some fantastic apps that support and enrich the curriculum in different ways. Light energy and color in particular have a few great apps that I have shared below:

Color Uncovered – Exploratorium – Free

The Exploratorium is best compared to the Museum of Science here in the Boston area and their “Color Uncovered” app is a well designed app full of optical illusions, easy to read snippets of scientific phenomena and video to help bring some of the more fascinating facts about our vision and color to light. The material inside this “interactive book” is perfect for “extension” times when students can explore what catches their attention inside and dive a little deeper beyond the core curriculum. If you are studying sound they also have an excellent “Sound Uncovered” app.

Paint Splat – PBS – Free

Paint Splat is a simple game where students have the opportunity to predict how to blend primary colors together to create an entire spectrum of different colors. Intuitive play and feedback is immediate and appropriate, with players given the opportunity to try to match a color a second time if they are unsuccessful the first time around. Of course, students can also simply explore and try to create their own blends of color! Also available as a java based game for PC / desktop users.

Bobo Discovers Light – Game Collage, LCC – $4.99

If you’re looking for a stellar interactive reader look no further than Bobo Discovers Light to see the potential in this media format. The content is appropriate for elementary level and stretches across a wide range of fields from astronomy to the optical physics of lenses and mirrors in ways that are accessible and understandable to the students who I have seen explore them. If you have the money its well worth it!

I am always looking for more resources (particularly freebies!) I can get in my fellow educators’ hands that provide excellent scientific content and/or instruction. If you have apps you think deserve to be included in this list please share them in the comments below or with me on Twitter!

About Sean Musselman

Teacher Dad and Burlington MA Schools K-5 Science and Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator. NSTA Professional Development facilitator and author of "Think Like a Scientist: Investigating Weather and Climate" NSTA Kids ebook.
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