Mobile Computing

New York Hall of Science Debuts Noticing Tools Apps

The New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) has released a suite of five iPad apps designed to help students learn fundamental math and science concepts through everyday explorations.

The suite, called Noticing Tools, encourages students in upper elementary through high school to explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts through self-guided projects that use NYSCI's Design-Make-Play approach to learning. According to information from NYSCI, the apps are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core Standards for Mathematics. Along with the apps, the Noticing Tools Web site will also feature a gallery of user-created projects and a starter pack of lessons and usage tips.

"The most effective way to use technology for education is to treat devices as tools for creativity rather than consumption," said Margaret Honey, president and CEO of NYSCI, in a prepared statement. "Leveraging an iPad's capabilities to capture data, photo and video, our Noticing Tools encourage kids to create their own experiments, record their results, interpret the data, and share what they've learned."

The Noticing Tools apps include:

  • Playground Physics teaches the concepts of force, motion and energy by recording play activities such as tossing a ball and then analyzing the physics of the activity;
  • ChoreoGraph teaches the concepts of rotation, translation and reflection by creating an animated character from photos and using graphs and coordinate geometry to choreograph the character's movements;
  • Fraction Mash teaches about fractions by creating mashups of two or more photos and then manipulating the size and number of pieces from each photo;
  • Size Wise teaches ratios and proportions by creating forced perspective photographs; and
  • Volumize teaches the concepts of area and volume by creating three-dimensional models from two-dimensional photos.

NYSCI developed the concepts and design technology of the apps in collaboration with Local Projects, a media design company for museums, brands and public spaces.

Noticing Tools are available now in the App Store for $2.99 each or in a bundle for $9.99. Educators purchasing for 20 or more devices are eligible for a 50 percent discount through Apple's Volume Purchase Program.

Funding for the development of Noticing Tools was provided by the United States Department of Education's Investing in Innovation Award; the National Science Foundation; The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; The Sara Lee Schupf Family Center for Play, Science and Technology Learning (SciPlay); The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Motorola Solutions Foundation and BNY Mellon Foundation.

Further information about the apps and supporting resources can be found on NYSCI's Noticing Tools site.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.