There is so much to learn about the animal kingdom! These five mobile applications cover live cameras, facts and popular myths about animals, endangered species, and even the basic cellular structures in animals. Although ants are not cute and cuddly, their industriousness carried them a spot on this list.
Pocket Zoo HD ™ with Live Animal Cams ($4.99 iPhone)
Pocket Zoo HD is a truly amazing resource. This comprehensive app brings animals of all shapes and sizes to your fingertips. Users can explore baboons, meerkats, zebras and wallabies straight from their iPhone screen. With an abundance of information, this app is especially great for elementary school students. This app helps children learn about forty different animals. They can view high-quality photographs, read facts about the animal, then check out a live cam from a zoo where that animal resides. These live cams seem to work best at varying times throughout the day. Thanks to the videos included in this app, you’re sure to find content that will engage your children.
(Curated by Monica Burns)
Animal Fact / Animal Fable ($0.99 Android)
Animal Fact/Animal Fable is a faithful reproduction of the printed book by former science teacher and famed children’s author Seymour Simon. It’s notable among book apps because it’s one of the only ones with a Lexile rating and in the database for both Accelerated Reader and Scholastic Reading Counts. Students at schools that participate in such programs can’t generally read book apps to satisfy their goals because they aren’t rated. Simon’s work is a double whammy because it also satisfies the nonfiction quota. The book is a collection of common misconceptions about animals and some odd, perhaps little-known truths. Kids are supposed to guess whether the text is fact or fable. An illustration accompanies the so-called fact and when the page is turned, an actual, scientifically relevant picture along with an explanation discloses whether the guess was correct or not.
(Curated by Jill Goodman)
Britannica Kids: Endangered Species ($4.99 iPhone)
Full of wonderful information, this easy-to-navigate app is a must-have for students studying endangered species. Encyclopedia Britannica has a catalog of apps, and this one definitely lives up to the expectation. Middle school students will find everything they need to enrich their study of endangered species or prepare for a school project. Encyclopedia Britannica for Kids: Endangered Species includes articles, entries, games and more. Children can read about the history of the endangered species movement and the importance of biodiversity. They can learn about different species through well-organized encyclopedia entries that include information on the physical features and habitat of each animal.
(Curated by Monica Burns)
iCell (Free Android)
iCell is an interactive 3D-model of a plant, animal and bacteria cell. Upon launching the app, you choose the type of cell you’d like to explore. The 3D models are beautifully designed, clearly showing the different features within. With a tap of a finger, a text box appears at the bottom of the screen offering a description that part of the cell and what its jobs are. You can choose to have a basic, intermediate or advanced explanation, which makes this app useful for students of all ages. Though the content is helpful, what really makes this app shine is the ability to explore what cells actually look like. You can use different gestures to rotate the cell and zoom in or out. Navigation is simple and requires no explanation, letting you jump right in and get started exploring.
(Curated by Michael Sammartano)
The Strange & Wonderful World of Ants ($0.99 iPad)
This richly illustrated and lightly animated electronic book introduces tons of interesting and important information to young science students. The reading level is truly customizable, with the beginning level suitable for K-1, the intermediate level for grades 2-3, and the advanced level for grades 4 and up. One drawback is that the audio narration is only available for the beginner level text. A glossary, questions for review and links to awesome ant resources on the Internet are also included. This app is a joy to use for kids and adults alike. Each page of the lengthy e-book combines carefully crafted text with realistic images of ants. Kids can click on the roving ant on each page for an additional bit of ant info.
(Curated by Leslie Morris)