CONCEPT: An interactive science app for introducing youngsters to several practical activities without the mess or danger
DELIVERY: Practical science is not the easist sell when it comes to apps. By its very nature it is tangible and hands-on rather than virtual and 2D. That being said, Piiig Labs does a good job of presenting these various activities in a vibrant setting that will engage youngsters who are perhaps too young for the real thing. There's also no need to worry about the danger of accidents happening when the experiments are virtual!
There are a range of drag and drop activities on offer including completing a simple circuit and the classic vinegar/bicarb volcano. They also build nicely from the basic version on to more complex variations. For example the circuit concept returns as a sound board creator and colours are mixed into the volcano text to create a ""rainbow." Kids use the drag and drop touch screen interface to place the required parts into the shadow spaces set out for them to complete each challenge before moving on to the next.
The range has really blossomed since we originally looked at this app with some great new activities looking at sound, the solar system and even a microscope. Other great additions include the growing and feeding of a virtual Venus Fly Trap plant and a clever walkie talkie builder that, once complete, allows users to connect across wifi as if they were using a pair of real walkies. The breadth and depth of the app really is impressive and they have further updates planned before the end of the year too.
At any point, a lightbulb icon can be clicked to access background information that explains each investigation in more detail. This is accompanied by audio narration and text highlighting to support less able readers which is a definite plus.
LIMITATIONS: Let's face it - who wouldn't love to carry out these investigations practically? That being said, the app could be used as a springboard into the real thing or to reinforce a prior concept.
CONCLUSION: With the recent updates, Piiig Labs has evolved admirably, making it a solid choice for introducing young scientists to some fun concepts. 4/5
Introducing scientific concepts to younger learner
Revision sessions or homework tasks
Reinforcing a concept with less able students