10 iPad Apps for Teaching Kids About Science


The Elements: A Visual Exploration

The elements in the periodic table make up everything we touch, eat and use every day. Yet in school, these elements are portrayed on a faded old chart that hangs in the front of the classroom.

This app gives the periodic table an astounding visual boost and makes learning about the ingredients of our world effortless and even addictive.

Open the app and instead of boring blocks with letters and numbers in them, you get an array of spinning objects that represent each element. Interested in bismuth? Touch the rotating crystal. Copper? Put your finger on the chain-link bracelet. The next screen adds extensive information about the element. You can drag your finger back and forth to change the direction and speed of the spinning item. Check out the element's properties, like melting and boiling points, density and atomic weight. Or plug right into the Wolfram Alpha computational engine to get nuggets of information on how the element acts.

Go to the next page and you get a clearly written entry on the element that talks about its practical purposes on the planet, along with more images that you can spin around with the swipe of a finger. What makes this app a true jaw-dropper is that one tap will turn a spinning image into a stereoscopic view. Then, with inexpensive glasses you can buy from the author's Web site, you can make the image literally pop out of the iPad in full 3-D glory. Sure beats a vinyl chart and wooden pointer!