Science - Resource of the week

13th January 2012 at 00:00

A really wild mobile phone app

Reviewed by Ellen Teesdale, 12, a student at Richmond Park Academy, London.

What is it?

A new mobile phone application called Survival that aims to raise awareness among young people about the world's most endangered animals. It was launched by Wildscreen, an international conservation and education charity supported by Sir David Attenborough.

How does it work?

You are given characters to unlock. To do this you need to gain expertise through the knowledge you already have or that you gain through playing. It is a fun experience for learning because you have to respond to questions in different ways - for example, by tapping the phone or swiping the screen. A correct answer wins you more stars to unlock each character, helping it to stay alive longer.

What did you think?

I am an animal lover so I already knew quite a few facts, but this game expanded my knowledge. Even if you don't know a great deal about the natural world, it starts with easier characters so you can progress.

On each level you can unlock a character profile and three pictures. The character profile tells you what the animal eats and where it lives; it also tells you whether it is a mammal, fish or bird. The levels are named after animals, such as "golden frog".

All the characters come with stunning photographs. On level four (called "Horsfield's tarsier") there is an amazing picture of the fingers of the tarsier. It made me interested but creeped me out as well. I had never seen spooky fingers like that on an animal.

Anything else?

There are a couple of downsides. Survival gives you a choice of only nine animals so if you want to research another particular animal then it is a bit annoying. And I would have liked more characters. But I really enjoyed this app. I wouldn't say it is addictive but it is certainly fun.

My friends tested it too and, although they aren't particularly interested in animals, they gained a lot of knowledge.

Overall, I would give it a 10 out of 10.

Survival is brought to you by ARKive (www.arkive.orgappssurvival). ARKive shares its free teaching resources for five to 18-year-olds with the TES. Find out more at www.arkive.orgeducationresources

In the forums

Contributors to the TES science forum often discuss how to make science lessons more exciting and interactive. Check out these tips on giving practical biology lessons about particles the "wow" factor.

They also suggest Ideas for great science lessons with limited resources and teachers share their favourite end of term type fun science activities on this thread.

Find all links and resources at www.tes.co.ukresources017.

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