Environmental Science is an all-encompassing topic, which can make finding additional resources both daunting and fun. Depending on your approach and the age of your students, you can find a wealth of online and mobile apps to help you demonstrate the science behind environmental issues.
Environmental Science Buddy features a host of lessons on numerous subjects, including quizzes in each topic that feature challenging tquestions. The videos embedded in the app link to YouTube (and will require a working wi-fi connection) and create flashcards for students to master the content. The app updates every day with the latest environmental news updates, an especially nice feature for older grades that can use these news updates for discussion purposes.
It might seem backwards, but teachers of the AP Environmental Science course may use this app as a source of review material or as a way to plan effectively. APES Crash Course was built specifically to help students review for the AP exam, and includes review information from each section as well as diagrams/pictures and links to questions and responses from previous years’ exams.
This 20th anniversary app offers students the opportunity to view some of the classic Bill Nye episodes focused on various scientific subjects, including those that relate to Environmental Science. One of the nice elements of the Bill Nye app is that it encourages “real life science,” or experiments that students can do themselves to see how a scientific principle works. This app is geared to younger students, but could still be fun for older students with a sense of humor.
If you’re looking for a way to show students just how behavior impacts the environment, the Green Meter may be just the app you’re looking for. Build to demonstate how driving habits can affect fuel consumption, users can take the app along for a ride or mimic how rapid acceleration and quick braking can cause problems. The Green Outlet app offers students a way of evaluating how effective their appliances are. Users can estimate the cost of usage for each of the appliances in their home and estimate their own carbon footprint. Together, these apps work well to show students how their own actions (and those of their families) do affect the environment.
Project Noah helps students identify the plan and animal life that they see through the use of an extensive database. The app asks students to be field researchers by taking pictures of the specimens they encounter and uploading them to Project Noah’s database. They can ask for information or compare what they see to what others have encountered. The app encourages engagement with nature, and allows students to apply what they have learned.
In a somewhat similar vein as Project Noah, SciSpy asks students to become nature detectives and collect raw data for scientists in need. The app challenges students to find particular organisms in the natural world, take pictures, and upload them, thereby creating a database that scientists can make use of in later research. Students may find the “mission” element of the app engaging, or may be honored and excited to be contributing to scientific research.
Water Cycle HD focuses on teaching the water cycle, using Common Core standards and Bloom’s Taxonomy. The app itself features photos and videos as well as a visual game, but also has a quiz written with Bloom’s Taxonomy in mind. The connection to the Common Core standards make this app a good classroom resource.
Definitely for older students, Our Choice takes Vice President Al Gore’s book of the same name and incorporates graphics, photos, animations, and more than an hour of documentary footage to create a more interactive learning experience about global warming. Older students may find this a more engaging way to read about climate change; teachers may like the challenge of having students read a contemporary work.
Samantha Kotey is the editor for AvatarGeneration and has a background in educational technology and virtual worlds. A mom of two, she is passionate about all things related to toys and technology.