By Lani Aquino
Every day should be an observance and celebration of the planet. In 1970, April 22nd was deemed as the day to recognize conservation and caring for the planet when the first Earth Day was observed. Since that time, a much more mindful awareness of the earth and its resources has become a part of education. A single day of being eco-friendly is not the point of Earth Day. A slated observance of the importance of a consistent initiative to be kind to the planet is the key. Whether in preparation for Earth Day or an everyday study of natural resources and environmental awareness, these 9 apps will allow students to explore many aspects of conservation and caring for the planet.
WWF Together- The World Wildlife Fund has created an engaging app that allows users to learn about and interact with a variety of interesting and endangered species. While there is a lot of informational text to be explored, there are also a variety of interactive elements to keep students engaged. The app is filled with videos, stunning photographs, origami photo ops, unusual animal facts, and more. With up-to-date news on wildlife and conservation, this is a great go-to resource for current event study too. With no cost, it’s a budget friendly resource for any teacher’s toolkit.
Earth Day Carol- Finding engaging ways to teach about conservation and recycling just got a lot easier. This free app is an eco-friendly retelling of A Christmas Carol with Plastic Bottle Scrooge as the resident grump. This modern-day scrooge is visited by the ghosts of Plastic Past, Present, and Future. With fun interactions, animations, pop-up facts, narration, and more, this app offers an excellent introduction to the concepts of reduce, reuse, and recycle via an engaging storytelling format.
Britannica Kids: Rainforests- This Rainforest edition of the Britannica Kids series is an attention grabbing way to connect kids with the environment. Users are able to learn and play as they discover the wonders of rainforests. Puzzles, scrambles, interactive maps, and quizzes are just a few of the key features students will use to explore the topics of plants, animals, people, and threats associated with the rainforests. Students can also learn about 21 different indigenous animals within this affordable app ($1.99).
Toca Nature- This award-winning app offers a unique exploration of nature for only $2.99. Students are able to use this game-based app to delve into nature by creating habitats and caring for the animals found within them. Users learn a lot about the different animals as they watch them grow in the environments that are created. A perfect blend of imagination and nature discovery.
GoodGuide- This free app offers users the opportunity to learn all about different products and what effects these products have on the environment. Thousands of ratings for foods, personal care items, and cleaning products can be reviewed. It’s never too early to help kids learn to make environmentally sound purchasing choices. This would be a great app for students to explore with products in their own homes, or the app could be used to determine quality items from a mock shopping list and/or excursion. A real asset for a health course, nutritional study, or consumer unit.
Virtual Water- The Water Footprint that consumers leave has a huge impact on the environment. This companion app to the Virtual Water Project allows users to gain an understanding of the consumption and pollution of water that occurs in the making of products. Users will come to find that 587 gallons of water go into the process of bringing a single chicken to consumers and other eye-opening facts about water usage. A great visual that offers an engaging perspective on a valuable resource that too many take for granted.
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss- This multi-award winning app is available for only $3.99. The Lorax is a beloved Dr. Seuss classic that explores the importance of caring for the environment. As students turn the interactive pages of the book, they will find 32 hidden games that can be played over and over, vocabulary exploration, delightful animations, and more. The text can be highlighted with narrations, read independently, or placed on auto-play. Time reading and pages read can also be tracked in the Parent Section.
Care for Our World- Another award-winning animation of a children’s book can be found in Care for Our World. This app takes students on a journey to a variety of diverse environments where they are able to discover the animals that populate these habitats. Students are even able to create customs habitats with select animals. The included Animal Encyclopedia offers users a variety of facts, sounds, and photos. The additional coloring pages make this a great find for only $2.99.
Water Cycle HD- This STEM Category winners is a wonderful tool for exploring the water cycle. Photos and videos tell the story of stages of the water cycle and how it impacts the earth. The visual game is periodically refreshed to keep content engaging for extended usage. The tri-leveled questions are based on Bloom’s Taxonomy and test students’ understandings of the various topics presented. This standards-based app is a must add to the toolkit for only $1.99.
While the usage of devices may seem counterintuitive to a conservation study, making the most of the technology at hand is an environmentally sound decision. With low or free purchase prices, these 9 educational apps are easy additions to an environmental study or Earth Day curriculum. By engaging students with ways to learn more about the earth and how to care for it, teachers are helping to create a more eco-friendly future.
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