Classic Experiments in Science History by Philosopher’s Appstone When I was a young, there was a biography section in the school library. I used to love reading the biographies of famous people…scientists, inventors, and social reformers. It was thrilling to see what led them to their discoveries or the events that not only changed their lives, but events that also led to improving the lives of others. Classic Experiments in Science History by Philosopher’s Appstone explores the lives and inventions of six different scientists, from ancient times to scientists born in the 1800’s. There is a promise of more to follow in upcoming updates. The app is meant for secondary students on up, and each unit covers three areas: a biography, the theory, and an interactive quiz on the experiments. Presented in an illustrated textbook-like fashion, each section is concise but covers a lot of material. Written in chunks, you can assign a designated number of bullets to be read, and then check for comprehension or reinforce completion. I would definitely use an app like this for a struggling reader as the layout has naturally occurring breaks or pauses. Doing this outside of classroom pressures, may help build confidence in reading for comprehension, and also help teach kids how to study and learn more independently.
The biography gives a face to the specific scientist, and the obstacles they overcame. Sometimes when we read about the life, struggles, and accomplishments of others, it makes things seem possible in our own lives. I found it fascinating that James Clerk Maxwell, in his experimentations on color, light, and postulation of electromagnetic fields were the foundations for wireless transmissions such as WIFI, satellites, and computer/tablet screens, and smartphones, and he did this in the 1800’s! And what Weather Station can predict where a storm is located without use of Doppler’s initial work?
The theory section is also presented in chunks or bullets that can be more easily read or absorbed by struggling readers. It presents a thorough history of how the discoveries came to light by the scientists. It truly is amazing to read about what the impact of a particular theorem has in the lives of people and how many advances were made in understanding such a broad range of studies – astronomy, physics, medicine, and even merchandising and entertainment from one particular scientist or theorist.
The experiment section tests your comprehension of the material in an interactive quiz. Videos and illustrations are well done, and bring to life what the application or outcomes of the scientist’s theories. It would be nice if there were a replay or a back button for each question to review and explore the different options if you got an answer wrong rather than starting over from the beginning. Doing so may help some kids learn to re-examine the questions and possible answers and not be so impulsive in answering in the future. I also would have loved to have seen at least one female scientist represented, so am hoping to see women scientists in future updates.
Experiments/scientists covered are:
• Newton’s experiments on gravity
• Archimedes’ principles on floating bodies – their volumes and densities
• Maxwell’s experiments with color and light
• Mendel’s studies of genetics with peas
• Franklin’s experiments with lightening bells
• The Doppler effect using trumpeting trains
Recommended for science buffs, budding inventors, or as a means to help teach kids how to study and apply what they have just learned. There are also many opportunities to prompt kids in conversation, and help them discover their own sense of curiosity of the world at large. I am looking forward to seeing what other inventors are added to this series.