Recently I was working with a first grade teacher who wanted to submit a Henrico 21 lesson to our county's technology competition we have every year. The competition grades lessons and projects based on four categories: Research and Information Fluency, Communication and Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, and Creativity and Innovation. Research and Information Fluency is always the hardest one for kindergarten and 1st grade to master. We always use sites like Pebblo Go that will read information out loud as well as getting an older class to come in and help the kiddos "research" a topic by using a kid-friendly search engine. However, we wanted to add an element to this category. You may have seen a recent post of mine last week entitled The Wonderful Wacky Zoo. If you haven't, go check it out real quickly and come back!
Well, this is the lesson that we wanted to beef up our research process. Students were investigating the basic needs of mammals as well as exploring their different types of habitats. After research, students worked in small groups to create a hybrid mammal of their choice and had to come up with a creative name, state the type of habitat it would need to live in in order to survive as well has mention the type of food it would eat. To help with this research component, students not only used Pebble Go but they also used this AWESOME (it is FREE) app called, Pocket Zoo. I know I have blogged about this app before but I just had to do another post, especially since it is Tech with Jen's Be Appy Monday!
Pocket Zoo is basically a portable zoo for kids (and those of us adults who absolutely love animals)! It contains a TON of animal photos, videos, sound bytes, fun facts and LIVE animal cams. Check it out:
Here is the map that first pops up when you launch the app. You can see at the bottom how easy it would be for little kids to navigate around to the different sections. A TON of animals are included in this one FREE app...gotta love it!
When you tap on an animal it will give you a colorful picture of that animal as well as fun facts. Unfortunately the app does not read the facts aloud.
When you tap on "videos", many different videos of the animal pop up:
The student favorite is obviously the live webcams and I have to say, in my experience, they work quite well:
This app really helped out that first grade class with their research. Even if students couldn't read the fun facts, they were still able to use their inferring skills to learn more about an animal's habitat, body type and foods they eat by using the pictures, videos and webcams.
If you teach younger kids about habitats and animals and do not have this app, definitely download it ASAP :) It would also be fun to use it as a writing station to help spark ideas: "If you were a giraffe, how would your life be different?"
Check out some other cool apps you could use in your classroom and link up your ideas too!