Plant and Animal Cells

Cell structures and functions are fascinating.  Like a complex machine microstructures in cells work together to support life.  Chloroplasts are tiny factories found in plant cells that are powered by solar energy and convert that energy into chemical energy that in turn is able to support all life on earth.  The Plant and Animal Cells app introduces students to chloroplasts and many other fascinating structures found in plants.

screen_2.png

In addition to plant cells, the app presents the key structures and functions in animal cells.  For example, the nucleus or control center of the cell.  The nucleus regulates the functions of other microstructures in the cell.

While using the app students will read about cell structures in both plant and animal cells.  Teachers will like the comprehension quizzes that are available for each topic. For example a fill-in-the-blanks style quiz prompts students to key in the missing word in a sentence.

screen_3.png

A true/false and multiple choice style quiz can also be selected as a follow-up to studying using other parts of the app.  Percentage scores for each quiz are reported on the screen.

plant_and_animal_cells_screen5

The section on cell reproduction explains the key steps in the process.  A diagram is used to help students understand the various stages.

screen_4.png

Plant and Animal Cells is available with a volume discount for educational institutions. Plant and Animal Cells can be purchased worldwide exclusively through the Apple App Store.  It also available through Apple’s volume purchase program. Schools get a significant discount when purchasing multiple copies of Interactive Plant and Animal Cells. Contact Apple Education for more information about the volume purchase program.  Please visit Ventura Educational Systems’ website for more information about this and other iOS and tvOS apps for education.

Advertisements

Interactive Solar System Explorer

Ok, I admit it I am a Star Trek fan.  The series offered a very positive view of the future in contrast to many sci-fi stories where a dystopian view of the future is usually the theme.  For me, developing the Interactive Solar System Explorer was a lot of fun.  In recent years so much new information has been discovered about our solar system.  Robotic explorers are investigating many of the mysteries of Mars.  Probes have been sent to explore the outer planets and have sent back amazing images.

In designing the interface for the Interactive Solar System Explorer, I wanted to make it look like you were looking out the view screen of a spacecraft.  Lights flash and the stars whiz by as you travel from one planet to another.

Screen_1_1024px

Initially the view screen shows the sun.  It zooms up into view as the app launches.

Tap buttons to select the planet that you wish to explore and then hit to red power button to ‘warp’ through the solar system.  When you arrive at your destination you can access information about the planet by tapping the icons at the bottom of the view screen.  The information available by tapping icons includes: mass of the planet, distance from the sun, the diameter of the planet, the length of a day in Earth days, and the length a year in Earth years.

Tap the info icon to bring up detailed information about the planet and to read about recent discoveries.

Screen_5_1024px

Charts and graphs are used to present comparison information.

Screen_4_1024

In designing this app I wanted to motivate elementary age students to learn more about the solar system.  It is my intention that by using the Interactive Solar System Explorer on an iOS device or Apple TV teachers will be able to engage students science related activities that they will enjoy. The tvOS version of Interactive Solar System Explorer offers the same great features as the iOS version, and additionally can be controlled using tvOS compatible game controllers so maybe the kids will think they are playing a video game or even piloting a spaceship.

Interactive Solar System Explorer is available with a volume discount for educational institutions. Interactive Solar System Explorer is available worldwide exclusively through the Apple App Store.  It also available through Apple’s volume purchase program. Schools get a significant discount when purchasing multiple copies of Interactive Solar System Explorer. Contact Apple Education for more information about the volume purchase program.  Please visit Ventura Educational Systems’ website for more information about this and other iOS and tvOS apps for education.

Hands-On Math Hundreds Chart

Hands-On Math Hundreds Chart

When I was teaching elementary math in Southern California one of my favorite teaching aids was the hundreds chart.  I would burn up my photocopying budget reproducing hundreds charts so my students could color patterns showing the multiples of 2, 3, 5 or 7.  It really comes as no surprise to me that Hands-On Math Hundreds Chart is one of my favorite apps.  No longer is necessary to provides students with paper hundreds charts.  Using the app students just pick a color and a marker and then away they go marking patterns on the chart.

hands-on_math2_screen1

The interface is intuitive.  The markers function like objects and can picked up and moved.  To complete remove an object simply drag it off the chart.

A Teaching Tool

So what can you do with a hundreds chart?  Which concepts can you teach?  One of the first activities to do with young students is skip counting.  Pick a color and a type of marker.  To count by 3’s, for example, begin by tapping the cell labelled ‘3’ and then continue to 6, 9, 12, 15, etc.  Eventually a pattern begins to emerge.  Perhaps some of your students will discover that the pattern for 3 creates diagonal lines.  Encourage students to use math vocabulary in describing their hundreds chart explorations.

But more can be done with a hundreds chart.  Marking patterns to show multiples of a given number is a great way to practice and learn multiplication tables and it is easy for teachers to check students work with just a glance at the iPad screen.  But there must be more that can be done with a hundreds chart.

Least Common Multiple

The reason the Hands-On Math Hundreds Chart app has 8 colors and 6 shapes is so that overlapping patterns can be created on the chart.  When kids start overlapping patterns things get really interesting, mathematically speaking.  Understanding Least Common Multiple, in my mind, is an essential skill for success in mathematics.  Using Least Common Multiple (LCM) students can reduce fractions to simplest terms.  LCM is the smallest positive integer that is evenly divisible by two other numbers, a and b.

Let’s define a as 3 and b as 5 (which also happen to be two prime numbers, but more on that later).  Here’s what the chart will look like after a pattern for 3 has been marked with a red square.

Post1_Image3.png

Now let’s overlay the pattern for 5 with a blue circle.  Things are starting to get interesting…

Post1_Image4.png

At this point a teacher would want to ask the students to find all the numbers that got both marks, the red square and the blue circle.  I would recommend that the students mark these numbers with a yellow highlight (transparent yellow square).

Post1_Image5.png

Wow! Look at that the yellow highlighted numbers also make a pattern.  This numbers are the common multiples of 3 and 5.  Now study the chart and find the smallest number in this set.  15 is the LCM of 3 and 5.

Find the LCM of other numbers.  Just tap the eraser to completely erase the chart. Oh, and remember, if you only want to remove one marker just slide it off the chart.

A Classic Lesson

The first 4 prime numbers are 2, 3, 5, and 7.  In mathematics, the sieve of Eratosthenes is a pattern that reveals the prime numbers.  To investigate the pattern on the Hands-On Math Hundreds Chart, begin by marking the pattern for the number 2 and then we will mark 3, 5, and 7.  The procedure involves skipping the first number in the series and then marking out all the multiples.  So, skip 2 and then more out 4, 6, 8, 10, etc.  The chart should look something like this:

Post1_Image7.png

Use a different color for each number.  Now mark out the pattern for 3, but remember to not mark 3 since it is also prime.  Continue by marking the patterns for 5 and 7.  If a number is already marked just skip it.  Since the next prime is 11 and 11² is 121 so not on the chart and we don’t need it for this experiment.

When the marking procedures are finished, the chart should look like this:

Post1_Image6

The numbers that did not get marked are prime numbers.  All the marked numbers are composite numbers.

Get Creative!

There are lots of ways to make math fun using Hands-On Math Hundreds Chart.  Make up your own problem sets so that when the problems are answered correctly a picture is created.  For more information about this app click here.

Post1_Image9