10 iPad Apps for Teaching Kids About Science


3D Sun

When solar flares are aimed at the Earth, we can expect gremlins to interfere with satellites that keep us talking on our cell phones.

One of the most important lessons to teach any young would-be astronomer is never to look at the sun directly, right? Well, not so fast. This app makes it possible to do exactly that -- any time of the day or night, thanks to the STEREO set of satellites from NASA that orbit the sun and provide real-time, 3-D images of the sun.

Launching the app prompts a news feed that details sun-related news, such as dramatic solar flares or solar winds. A click takes you to either an expanded story with startling photography or to the spinning model of the sun itself. Once on the 3D sun page, the solar-curious can spin the sun around and even move it on its axis looking for solar phenomena. Buttons on the left allow you to change the temperature bands at which you can view the giant ball of fire and render the sun either blue, green, yellow or orange. Using the iPad's settings, the app can be configured to deliver alerts for extra-large solar flares, geomagnetic storms or auroras.

One of the most fascinating features of this app is the gallery of dramatic images and videos from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. Kids can observe the sun's phenomena in stunning, vivid color.