CONCEPT: Help even the youngest learners start to understand pollination with this vibrant game.
DELIVERY:Ok this review has a little story as a preface! This week I was all set to take some FS2 students out into the school garden to take photos with their iPads, which would then be collated in Pic Collage. This seemed an apt task as their current topic is 'In The Garden' and they've become very independent with the iPads through all the sessions I've run with them.
Then it rained. in Dubai!
Yep, doesn't happen often folks but when it does we're talking torrential downpours, thunder and lightening and me left with about 30 minutes to pull a new lesson out of thin air. So I started hunting through the App Store and hit upon Gro Flowers. made by the same developers behind Gro Recycling, which I reviewed positively last year, Gro Fkowers is actually even better. It's a colourful, interactive game that helps youngsters learn about the role bees (and other insects) play in pollination.
The app actually opens with some mathematical art as you're presented a blank flower to colour using a symmetry tool. Having designed your flower, two are then dropped into an empty garden. The only other thing in the garden is a beehive, from which little cartoon bees soon emerge, to be controlled via the touch screen. Users manoeuvre the bees from flower to flower, causing pollination. This leads to more seeds dispersing and further flowers growing in the garden. Having had their fill of nectar, the bees return to the hive and honey begins to drip - which the player then catches in the jar waiting below.
As you progress, the ability to design a second strain of flower is offered as well as the ability to crop your flowers into a saved folder and start afresh. Your full honey jars are collected here too. The more you make, the more colours and brushes are unlocked for your flower designs. You also need to watch out for a hand that appears periodically with an insecticide spray and bat it away before the bees are sprayed. The fact that multiple bees can be controlled at the same time is another nice touch as it means pairs can share the activity on one device and collaborate in the task.
LIMITATIONS:It'd be great if the app allowed some exports of images. I had students design some remarkable flowers and fill up their gardens and had to resort to screengrabbing. Perhaps a little animation explaining the role that bees play in pollination would also have been another worthwhile addition.
CONCLUSION: An incredibly engaging mix of art and science that will delight young learners. 4/5
Understanding pollination and the role insects play Symmetry work in maths