Friday, September 14, 2012

We have an app for that!

Our young scientists have been exploring stars and our sun.  During their explorations, they've defined stars, labeled stars by their size, brightness, color, and temperature, and learned that groups of stars can be found in distinct areas of the sky.  Did you know that our sun is our nearest star, and that it gives off light and heat energy that is used on Earth?

As teachers, we've been thrilled to watch the student's enthusiasm during this study. They've been eager to share their knowledge with peers and have asked innumerable questions. Deviating from our scheduled plans, we embraced this learning opportunity, and decided to share some apps and websites that students may want to explore more on their own.

Chase and Lexie started by sharing two apps on their iPad, Star Walk and Solar System. With Star Walk, you can hold the iPad toward the sky and it will display the constellation found in that position of the night sky. As you walk, new constellations become visible based on your location.

They also shared a Solar System app which captivated the student's attention. The interactive model of our solar system's planets orbiting the sun. This app is perfect for showing students that the Earth revolves around the sun at the same time it rotates on its axis. Our conversation then began, "Why do the planets stay in orbit around the sun?"  and set the stage for another chapter in our learning, one in which we will explore gravity.

In addition, Miss Russell and I passed our iPhones around the class so each student could explore the free app Sky Map which works much the same way that the iPad's Star Walk works.  They were enthralled as they passed the phone, and looked for constellations in our night sky.

Furthermore, we shared that they could also explore more on the website Google Sky which works much like Google Earth. We're sure that some of the kids have already been begging to log on.

As our studies continue, we will learn about telescopes, radiant energy, and gravity, too. We're eager to see where our next conversations lead, and are so fortunate to have such eager learners. We love it! 


  1. Andrew also uses his I touch to look at the planets, constellations, and satellites. It is out of this world cool!
    Lourdes :)

  2. Love that you try to find ways to get students engaged with technology at every opportunity!

  3. We love having inquisitive students!


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