NYSCI’s five new iPad apps will motivate students to learn fundamental math and science concepts and give teachers and parents a set of mobile resources that can inspire children’s everyday explorations in the classroom, at home, on the playground or just about anywhere else. Collectively known as Noticing Tools™, the five apps are now available in the App Store. We created Noticing Tools™ in collaboration with Local Projects, a media design firm for museums, brands and public spaces.

The apps that make up the Noticing Tools™ suite embody our Design-Make-Play approach to learning, which invites a broad array of learners to explore complex concepts in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM.) These are among the same concepts that often discourage learners from pursuing STEM education and careers.

With the Noticing Tools™, users can measure distances, capture photos and videos for documentation, and create notations and narratives about all types of data. The apps, designed for students in upper elementary grades through high school, include:

  • Playground Physics – Focuses on the science concepts of force, motion and energy. Using this app, students record ordinary play activities such as tossing a ball and then playback the recording in the motion, energy or force modes to discover and analyze the physics of that activity. The app and accompanying curriculum activities are aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
  • Choreo Graph – Allows users to learn about rotation, translation and reflection. With this app, users create an animated character from photos and explore graphs and coordinate geometry to choreograph dance moves for their character. The app and corresponding curriculum activities address Common Core Math Standards (CCSM).
  • Fraction Mash – App users explore fractions while creating mashups of two or more photos, manipulating the size and number of pieces from each individual photo. The app and accompanying curriculum activities address Common Core Standards for Mathematics (CCSM).
  • Size Wise – Users explore ratios and proportions while creating forced perspective photographs. The app encourages users to reason proportionally while creating images where something large appears small, or vice versa. The app and curriculum activities are aligned to the Common Core Standards for Mathematics (CCSM).
  • Volumize – With this app, users can take two-dimensional photos and make them three-dimensional models. In the process, they’ll explore the relationship between surface area and volume.

Aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core Standards for Mathematics, the open-ended apps and supporting resources offer a creative platform for students of any age to explore math and science through self-guided projects they find intrinsically motivating. Educators and parents will find theNoticing Tools™ useful for doing many types of activities and supporting lesson plans on a broad range of topics. The Noticing Tools™ website also features a gallery of user-created projects to demonstrate the vast potential of the apps.

Noticing Tools™ will be available in the App Store for $2.99 each, or as a bundle for $9.99. For educators, the apps are available through Apple’s Volume Purchase Program, which offers a 50 percent discount for purchases for 20 or more devices. All proceeds support the educational mission of NYSCI.

We’ve developed a starter pack of lessons and usage tips for the apps that are designed for students both in and outside the classroom. These resources can be downloaded for free at noticing.nysci.org.

The development of Noticing Tools™ was made possible with generous support from the US Department of Education 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.