science-journalScience Journal by Google Play is one of the latest and greatest apps out of the gate from Google Play and it is brilliant! How could it not be, take Google and team them up with a revered institution like the Exploratorium, and you are guaranteed an awesome super cool, hands-on, creative learning adventure! In case you haven’t come into contact with this incredible museum in San Fransico, they describe themselves as, a public learning laboratory exploring the world through science, art, and human perception.

Wow, TWA hasn’t been this excited about an app in a long time! This is beyond awesome, it is awe-inspiring! This is exactly the direction we need to be headed in as far as making the most of our kid’s screen time, experimenting with STEM or STEAM anywhere, anytime has taken the whole app experience to a new level. Getting them in the back of the screen coding is one thing, but inside, thinking about concepts and experiencing visual data that these sensors are already designed to include is where we want our educational expectations to be. Best part: this app helps you visualize the data collected in an easy-to-understand graph.

imgres-3The app is designed to measure light, sound, and movement on the x, y, and z planes using accelerometers.  Accelerometers document the movement of a device to the right and left (X plane), forward and back (Y plane) and up and down (Z plane).  They are prebuilt into every phone or tablet and help orient the device so that you will know exactly where it is in space. That’s why we can change to a landscape or portrait mode when using our devices. For precise data collection, it helps to pinpoint exactly where the device was placed to try and replicate or compare findings. It’s how we compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. We’ve used the app on a Samsung Galaxy Tab mini with kids as young as 4, and they had a blast watching the readings change on the screen. “Does the number go up or down…if you are by a window or under the table? or What if you talk…shhh – softly…..or really REALLY LOUD?”

The measurements are precise and easy to read.  Using the sensors in the device for scientific experimentation is a brilliant idea.  Google developers excelled in their organization and recording of these measurements. For decades, scientists have kept their experimental data in collections of huge three-ring binders.  Science Journal makes these a thing of the past!  Now, scientists and students using Science Journal will find all the information for each trial automatically recorded in a digital journal. 

accessoriesThe app on its own is great for simple experiments and lessons on the scientific method. Don’t know where to begin? Not a problem Google has you covered with a list of activities using the different sensors all prearranged for you at their activity site,  Making Science.  You can be a scientist with the help of the Exploratorium, they are developing  learning activity kits for kids of all ages and experience. Purchases help to support the Science Journal app. In order to reach people all over the globe, this remarkable institution is excited, about making hands-on exploration accessible to people in a place where they already are—their mobile devices.  These Science Journal kits include inexpensive sensors, microcontrollers and craft supplies that bring science to life in many new and varied ways all in conjunction with your SmartPhone. In addition, Google has specific directions for creating more sophisticated experiments for older kids who need more of a challenge, i.e. attaching your device to an Arduino can significantly increase the complexity of your experiments allowing the sensors in your device to become more portable and flexible. SparkFun has an inventor’s kit built and programmed to work directly with the Science Journal.

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Science Journal is versatile enough for elementary students exploring the scientific method while also being appropriate for graduate level students designing their own experiments for publication. Don’t miss out on this AMAZING app!  The possibilities are infinite!

Here’s a scoop: Google has a new version of the app with some additional sensors and features coming out at the end of next month,  you will have to circle back soon to get that information.






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