A collection of great iPad science apps for your elementary and middle school classroom.
We live in a technology driven society, and as a result, most educators across the country now utilize digital resources, computers, tablets, phones and apps to enhance their instructional quality. Finding relevant science apps for elementary and middle school science can be a little tricky, however. After a few years of trial and error, I have put together this list of awesome iPad apps for the science classroom.
I like to keep my iPads organized with folders. This makes it easy to direct students to a specific science app or general topic. My folder categories are: Physical Science, Earth & Space Science, Life Science, General Science, and Fun. Here are a few of the science apps that seem to have a good mix of student engagement and educational value in my classroom. Most are free, and any paid apps on the list are worth the money!
All images in this post are screenshots taken from itunes.apple.com
GENERAL SCIENCE APPS
Grade Levels: 1st-5th | Price: Free
The iTooch app has content for all core subjects, but I only use it for 5th grade science supplemental practice. The science category is split up into 3 main categories; physical science life science, and earth systems science, which contain content specific practice units (force and motion, gravity, etc).
iTooch does not provide much in the way of lesson background, but it does have outlines, summaries, and a decent questions bank for reviewing each unit. For a free science app, it’s pretty impressive.
The students actually seem to enjoy this app even though it lacks any real bells and whistles other than the ability to earn points and stars.
Grade Levels: 6th-8th | Price: Free
Middle School Science 8th Grade is a simple, no frills quiz app. Although it is targeted towards 8th grade, it covers many 6th-7th grade science concepts.
The app is broken down by main topic categories. As students move through the quizzes they can play mini-games. For a free app, this isn’t bad at all for standardized test review.
Grade Levels: 1st-8th | Price: Free (subscription needed for full access)
BrainPop is an obvious choice, but still a great addition to your iPad station if you haven’t tried the app yet.
They have a large library of science content, as well as the ability to search for videos and games specific to your current topic.
Grade Levels: 1st-8th | Price: Free
This free app has been out since 2013, but it still has a lot to offer! It includes show clips, trivia, games, and ideas for experiments.
PHYSICAL SCIENCE APPS
Grade Levels: 3rd-6th | Price: 0.99 (Lite Version is Free)
Content: Electricity, Circuits
Adaptive Curriculum’s Light Bulb in Series app is a great introduction to circuits for elementary students. It allows students to build simple series and parallel circuits.
This is a pretty simple, straightforward app with nice animations. I wouldn’t recommend this for students above 6th grade because it doesn’t explore advanced concepts like resistance and voltage.
Grade Levels: 3rd-8th | Price: 4.99/each
Content: Magnetism and Electricity, Force and Motion, Work and Energy, Light and Sound
Meet Science is a collection of 4 apps you must purchase individually. Although they are the most expensive apps on the list, they are well worth the money to fill in some important physical science content the free apps just don’t cover. Plus, they are super fun!
Each Meet Science app includes 6 animated mini lessons, virtual experiments, mini games, and a vocabulary glossary.
Grade Levels: 6th-12th | Price: Free
Content: Periodic Table, Elements, Compounds, Physical Properties
Nova Elements is an AWESOME interactive periodic table. It also explores the organization of the periodic table, physical properties of elements, compounds, and molecular composition.
As a bonus, this free app also includes a 2 hour feature film about the elements and a trivia game!
Grade Levels: 6th-12th | Price: Free
Content: Periodic Table, Elements, Physical Properties, History
There is no shortage of science apps covering the periodic table, however, The Royal Society of Chemistry Periodic Table is an all in one research tool that no science teacher should be without.
The app includes a ton of great facts and information about each element, as well as photographic representations of each one!
EARTH & SPACE SCIENCE APPS
Grade Levels: 3rd-8th | Price: Free
Content: Electricity, Alternative Energy
Tesla Town is a great app that explores electricity, the power grid, and alternative energy resources.
The app takes a closer look at the inner workings of turbines in hydroelectric plants and wind farms. It also examines how solar panels power homes.
Grade Levels: 6th-8th | Price: 2.99
Content: Plate Tectonics, Pangea, Volcanoes, Earthquakes
Puzzling Plates is an excellent app to compliment studies about Earth’s interior structure, plate tectonics, land form creation, plus volcanic and earthquake activity.
There are several topics to explore with multiple levels of difficulty, and scoring capabilities on the main topic assignments.
Grade Levels: 4th-8th | Price: Free
Content: Energy Resources, Alternative Energy, Conservation, Environment
Energy Island is a fun little concept app that gets students thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of different energy resources. They must come up with a strategy to provide power for a town of 5,000 residents.
While coming up with their energy plan, students must think about costs and environmental factors. It’s a great opportunity for students to learn about alternative energy.
Grade Level: 3rd-8th | Price: 1.99
Content: Earth’s Structure, Weathering/Erosion
Each app explores 4 different topics, and includes reading material, videos, and quizzes.
Grade Level: 3rd-8th | Price: 4.99
Content: Solar System, Earth’s Structure, Space Exploration
Solar Walk is worth every penny of it’s $4.99 price tag. If you don’t have any other space related apps, this is the one to get just for the amount of content available in one source.
The app includes information about the Solar System, celestial objects, satellites, space exploration, and even the structure of the Earth. Solar Walk allows students to interact through a virtual tour of the Solar System. If you are looking for another option with great features, Distant Suns is another popular choice and includes more information about stars and constellations.
LIFE SCIENCE APPS
Grade Level: 3rd-6th | Price: Free
Content: Food Webs, Food Chains, Ecosystems
The Food Webs app allows students to explore the relationship of different food chains within the food web of various ecosystems.
This app is a great tool to reintroduce/reinforce relationships in an ecosystem and how energy is transferred in the system.
Grade Levels: 3rd-8th | Price: 2.99
Content: Biomes, Adaptations
Another of the apps I like from Sprouts Lab, Ecosystems HD provides an explorations of Earth’s biomes and the animals that live there.
This app contains activities related to six different biomes, and offers lessons, videos, and scored quizzes.
Grade Level: 4th-8th | Price: Free
Content: Bacteria, Animal and Plant Cells
iCell is a very simple app that gives students the opportunity to examine the organelles of different cell types in 3D.
There isn’t much to it other than helping students learn and identify the parts of a cell, but sometimes simple is good!
Grade Level: 3rd-8th | Price: 2.99
Content: Anatomy, Body Systems and Functions
My students love this app so much, I had to move it to the “Fun” folder for Fridays only. The Human Body app allows students to create profile to begin their adventures exploring the different body systems.
BONUS APP FOR TEXAS SCIENCE TEACHERS
Ready, Set STAAR
5TH GRADE SCIENCE STAAR PREP (TEXAS)
If you are a Texas teacher, STAAR prep apps for science are somewhat limited, as in…there’s one. Education Galaxy used to offer a free STAAR Science app, but it has mysteriously disappeared off the face of the internet.
I love to use this around STAAR because it drills the students on actual STAAR questions. It has 3rd-5th grade content (which is all tested in 5th). Ready Set STAAR is an excellent supplement to your STAAR test preparations. Find more Texas specific resources in my post here!
Are there some other apps you love using in your class? Make sure to leave your comments below.
Do you need some ideas for hands on labs? Go look through my growing activities here!