Axel’s Chain Reaction is launching September 30 free in honor of Unesco’s World Teachers Day, celebrated October 5th. This storybook app, aimed at First and Second graders, will be the delight of teachers who value the importance STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) in Elementary school. The story can be used to cover language CCSS objectives through discussions about celebrating differences, giving everyone a chance to show their hidden talents, and values such as perseverance. The story touches upon important life skills like planning, lateral thinking, and turning around negative situations.
From Monday September 30 to Friday October 4, the book app will be free to download from the iTunes App Store. Afterwards, it will be available to buy through Volume Purchase Program for schools.
Axel is a fidgety, distracted, but creative boy who is underestimated by most people at school. Axel wants to create an impressive kinetic sculpture with the hope of showing them what he’s capable of, but he’ll struggle and need a large dose of perseverance to overcome his personal challenges. Axel’s cheerfulness in the face of disaster, his willingness to help his classmates, and his hidden talent is what will change everyone’s perception of him.
Created by an art educator and writer, Allison Pomenta, the app includes open-ended games for creative play. Tapping on a tray in Axel’s kitchen will open the opportunity to use objects from Axel’s search to create any animal the reader can imagine, and then store the pictures in the device’s camera roll. It also includes a Hands-on Activities section with step-by-step instructions for kids to make their kinetic sculptures.
There are links in the Biographies section, to extend information about the artists featured in the story. These web links are locked behind and adult gate, which requires parents or teachers to write the answer to a simple algebra equation (so that kids can’t use the device’s calculator to find the answer). These links take kids to a video of Alexander Calder’s Circus, for example, which kids will enjoy. Settings options include turning off the voiceovers, or turning off all sounds. The Navigation settings provide access to a page index.
The publishers are also offering resources for parents and teachers on the app’s website, and easy educational projects tied to art and/or science which kids aged 6 to 9 can make.