I’ve always enjoyed the Meet Science series of apps from NCSoft. I find their approach to teaching kids scientific concepts unique and engaging; instead of forcing kids to read boring textbooks, the apps showcase intriguing, real-world phenomena that can be explained scientifically. They also include live-action videos of scientific experiments.
If you haven’t yet checked out the apps in the series, I encourage you to do so. You can start out with Magnetism and Electricity and Light and Sound. You might also want to check out their newest release: Force and Motion.
The textbook portion of Force and Motion is divided into six lessons, from understanding relativity and speed in motion to friction and inertia forces. All of these lessons are accompanied by timely and contextual animations that help kids understand the concept more easily. The app also includes a transcript of the narration so kids can easily follow the explanation.
Once you have completed a lesson, the app will show you three simple yes/no questions to test your understanding. For example, when you are learning about the difference between speed and velocity, you may encounter the following questions:
The velocity of a ping-pong ball changes when it is hit by a racket. (Yes/No)
Even though the topic of force and motion is no longer new to me, there are many things I learned through this app. Here are some of them:
- Reasons I wouldn’t want to wash the dishes, chase a rolling ball, or erase a pencil in a world without friction.
- The force that causes an object to float in air or on water is called buoyancy.
- Why huge metal battleships could float on the water when a small iron ball would sink.
- Objects will always try to maintain their motion and keep their movements in a straight line.
- Why a roller coaster can perform a 360-degree vertical loop.
Parents Need to Know
The topics included in Meet Science: Force and Motion are suitable for kids ages 11+. In addition to the textbook, quiz, and experiment sections, you can also learn from the glossary of terms, the short profiles on scientists, the Aha question, and the mini games.
By going through the glossary of terms, you would learn about the terms previously mentioned in the textbook on a deeper level, or about a new term that is still related or within the context of the lessons. For example, you can learn more about coefficient of friction, elastic limit, elasticity, and principle of relativity. If you’re browsing through the list of scientists included in the glossary section, you can learn about influential scientists, such as Archimedes, Aristoteles, and Isaac Newton.
The app is truly rich in content. It even includes mini stories that discuss topics like “Can a car fly?”, and “The secret of orbiting satellites”.
Meet Science: Force and Motion works great without Internet connection. It doesn’t include any third-party ads, in-app purchases, or links to social networks.
Things I Like
I like how the app uses real-world phenomena to keep kids engaged and curious. For example, it would start by comparing a person’s weight measured at the base of a mountain and their weight on the top of the mountain. Even the slight difference of weight can trigger a discussion on how gravity works.
The way Meet Science: Force and Motion frames the leading question really piques a child’s curiosity. It encourages you to think of why something happens the way that it does. For example, even though two racers may start and finish at the same time, one might actually be faster than the other if you inspect the path each racer takes to complete the race.
I also admire how the recorded experiments are selected and conducted. Each experiment includes all the required components, steps to perform, and a deliberate pause for you to guess the results. Everything is designed to make you curious about the outcome of the experiment, be amazed at the result, and be curious enough to try it on your own. Here are some experiments that I think are really cool and revealing:
- The bead chain experiment on top of a tall building.
- The experiment where the way we pull a weight causes different strings to break.
- The water rocket experiment.
- The experiment where a CD would move smoothly when assisted by a balloon.
If you decide to get this app, you should definitely try the experiments with your kids. The app has put a label on some experiments with an explicit “I Agree” button to let them know that they should not perform the experiment without adult supervision.
Meet Science: Force and Motion helps kids approach scientific topics in a fun way. By explaining real-world phenomena and thought-provoking experiments through science, it encourages kids to question why something behaves the way it does. I believe the app has successfully served a higher purpose of cultivating kids’ curiosity in science.
Get it on the App Store: iPad
App was provided for our honest review.