Guest blog by April Bowman
Originally from Kansas, USA, April taught elementary school children before coming to Scotland to continue her academic study. She is currently in her final semester of study of the Master’s in Public Policy programme at the University of Stirling, where her policy specialism has been education policy and teaching practice. April joined our Knowledge Exchange team for two weeks in July on a voluntary work experience placement.
What better way for kids to learn about STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) than through a fun interactive game on a tablet, phone, or other device? There are some great examples of apps and computer-based programs to help students explore STEM concepts while experimenting, networking with other students, and sometimes even creating products. I thought it would be useful to to highlight some of these – hopefully teachers, and parents, will have a look and think about using them in school or at home.
Note: Many of the apps cover multiple areas of STEM. They are listed in order of recommended age of user from youngest to oldest. The apps are described by age and subject(s): Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths. So (4+) SEM means that the app is suitable for ages four and up, and students will learn about science, engineering, and maths.
- Simple Machines by Tinybop
Students discover how simple machines work by conducting their own experiments and investigating invisible forces. Available in 40+ languages.
- Endless Numbers by Originator Inc.
For children up to the age of five – this app is designed to set the stage for early numeracy learning. Although it is technically for kids below primary school age, it can be used to help older pupils who struggle with numeracy.
- Blokify by Noquo Inc.
3D modeling software. Children can create toys that they can play with virtually, or physically via 3D printing.
- Toca Lab by Toca Boca
Children explore the ‘colourful and electrifying world of science’ and interact with all 118 elements from the periodic table.
- DoodleMaths by EZ Education
This app is designed to be used for only a few minutes daily. It identifies a child’s maths level and allows them to progress at their own pace. Teachers and parents can quickly and easily monitor a child’s progress. It’s also aligned to KS1 and KS2 National Curriculum for England and Wales.
- Tynker for Schools by Neuron Fuel
Kids learn to program and can build games, control drones, create apps, and more.
- Learn Python by SoloLearn
A social and fun way for kids (and even adults!) to learn how to write Python code.
- Tinkercad by Autodesk (Browser-based)
Pupils create 3D digital designs of toys, prototypes, home décor, jewellery and more.
- 3D Brain by Cold Springs Harbor Laboratories
Pupils discover how the brain works using a 3D brain structure. They can also learn through interactive case studies about how brain damage, mental disorders and mental illness impact the physical structure of the brain.
- Dragonbox Algebra 12+ by WeWantToKnow AS
A maths game that “levels up” based on pupil’s mastery of each concept or skill. Provides a balance between challenging children to advance their knowledge and understanding and allowing them to master concepts at their own pace.
- Molecules by Theodore Gray by Touchpress Ltd
Students explore molecular dynamics. Also includes the full text of the book Molecules by Theodore Gray.
The app is used in conjunction with corresponding robots. Students learn to program an actual, tangible robot that they can control and then reprogram using the app.
Read some of our other blogs on digital skills:
- The myth of the digital native? Young people, education and digital participation in Scotland
- Women in technology: London Tech Week
- Digital technology in social work practice
Members of the Idox Information Service can also read the In Practice research briefing written by April, looking at the teaching of STEM subjects in UK schools for more information on using digital platforms in teaching.
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