STEM Storiez – Wootzy Colors by Zyrobotics – Review #stem



iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

fun accessible #stem themed app that teaches colors with a space perfect for toddlers or those learning colors

What we’d love to see…

a sticker type game or perhaps painting with colors on a space themed background, a page where each Wootzy said their color

Summary

Fun #stem themed app that encourages kids to learn colors using a space theme.  Rhythmic and engaging for my toddler.

Our Rating

STEM Storiez - Wootzy ColorsSTEM Storiez – Wootzy Col0rs by Zyrobotics is a universal app for iOS which features #stem learning.  The app features  science, technology, engineering, and math skills and also is usable with the Zumo bluetooth turtle for those with accessibility challenges. The app features a variety Wootzys in different colors each with a different space themed interactive background.The stories feature narration, voice/music, the ability to “type out e-book text” which means text appears as is it read.  Each of these can be toggled in the settings, and navigation is at the bottom of each page via arrows. The app can be used via the touchscreen on your iPad/iPhone or via a play stylus as well as the buttons of the touch screen Zumo turtle.   Each time you touch the screen an interactive element is triggered like the Wootzy moving, a musical sound, or animation.  The app can use a stylus, however, I reviewed it on the iPad as well as with Zumo Turtle.

One of my favorite things about the app was the level of customization that you can do.  I loved that you can remove/add sounds as well as change the size of the text on the screen.  The story is interactive and engaging for kids with on device learning.  Each color is introduced on a different page and the user is encouraged to say the name of the color.  My toddler loved the rhythmic sound of the story with “what planet is this?  What Wootzy lives here” and was able to repeat the text while we practiced his colors.  I also liked that you could turn on and off the voice/music so I could read it to my son and we could then “practice” what color is this?  Using the Zumo turtle connected via Bluetooth, my toddler was in control.  I loved that he could tap on the turtle to move the pages back and forth because at times the arrows were a bit hard for him to navigate.

In terms of improvements, I would like to see a fun activity at the end of the app after the story is completed to practice colors.  It could be painting, or stickers with the items from each page which would engage kids and also allow them to demonstrate that they understood the colors.  I’d also like to see a page that featured all of the colors where you could tap on each Wootzy to hear them say their color.

There are no-in app purchases or advertisments, and the parental area is gated with a math problem.  The settings area does not have a parental gate, but there are no external links, you can simply turn on and off the various items. Fun #stem themed app that encourages kids to learn colors using a space theme.  Rhythmic and engaging for my toddler.

STEM Storiez – Wootzy Colors

STEM Storiez - Wootzy Colors
STEM Storiez - Wootzy Colors
by Zyrobotics LLC

Category: Books, Education
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 295.28 MB

$FREE

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

 

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.


Thinkrolls: Kings & Queens by AVOKIDDO – Review & Giveaway



iPad Screenshot 2

What we love…

beautiful graphics, multiplayer option, a “redo” button in case you get stuck with a challenge and multiple different types of science taught

What we’d love to see…

a demo on the first level of each “new” castle in the easy mode

Summary

I love that the app teaches #stem and #commoncore and encourages kids to play and learn at the same time.  I never thought teaching a child physics could be so fun!

Our Rating

Thinkrolls: Kings & QueensThinkrolls: Kings & Queens by AVOKIDDO is a universal app for iOS that uses creative thinking, problem solving and logic skills to move to the next level.  This action packed multiplayer app contains 228 levels of play and works well for both younger and older children (and adults!)   The premise of the app is fairly straighforward, create a character and roll them through the obstacles to capture the magic key.  Each level gets harder with slightly harder obstacles and more difficult challenges.  There are six different castles to complete which I will describe below.

Castles
● Gear & Rack: combine gears with racks to create ladders & conveyor belts
● Chest & Bridge: fill gaps and collapse swaying bridges to clear the way
● Crocodile & Harp: use the harp to lull the crocodile to sleep
● Ghost & Mirror: shift the mirror to eliminate the ghost with reflected light
● Hatch & Lever: switch the lever to open and close hatches
● Flying Potion: unleash the magic potion to defy gravity and fly to the finish

Each of the castles has a “redo” button in case you get stuck within the level and can’t progress on.  The castles have beautiful artwork with amazing detail down to the strings on the harp which is used to lull the crocodile to sleep.  In each of the castles, as you complete each challenge you unlock the next level which also unlocks additional items that you can dress your character with.  Within the app when you tap the “gear” at the top of the screen you can choose the player, type of levels which are “easy” for kids aged 5-8 and “hard” for kids aged 8+.  For purposes of the review, we tested the app on “easy” mode with my 8 year old.  You can also toggle on/off the in-game music and select the language.

iPad Screenshot 5

I loved how the app encouraged my son to problem solve to master each level – there were a few times when he brought me the iPad because he couldn’t figure out the challenge the first time like using the harp to put the crocodile to sleep.  As the levels got harder, he got better at problem solving and I loved how he realized that if he didn’t “solve” it the first time he could try different things until he was able to do so.  I love the life skill here too because it showed him that even if we have regular challenges in life maybe the traditional way we approached the problem, might not always be the solution.  The animations within the app ranging from the crocodile mouth to the use of reflection with the ghost & mirror were amazing and I could really tell that AVOKIDDO spent a lot of time testing and perfecting the app to ensure things worked well and as planned.  I definitely also noticed that my son used a lot of great words to describe all the things he was learning to explain the science concepts – which we also discussed.  I never imagined physics could be so fun for an 8 year old and that he would understand the concepts after just playing with the app to master each of the levels!  Each of the levels targets a specific type of skill like gravity, force, joints or even simple machines and gets progressively harder as you progress within the app.  As a mom, I loved that I could play with the app using my own player to play with castles that were more suited to my level compared to my son’s.

In terms of future enhancements, there were a few times my son got stuck and since I wasn’t “playing along” the entire time I had to play through the level a few times to figure it out.  Perhaps a tutorial the first time you are presented with a new type of castle or object might be helpful for younger players on the “easy” mode.

 

Overall, this is a fantastic app that AVOKIDDO has made, every time I test one of their apps I think they can’t possibly top it, but each time I am surprised with the new ways them come up with to play.  I love that the app teaches #stem and #commoncore and encourages kids to play and learn at the same time.    The app has a parental protected area with a parental gate, no banner ads, no 3rd party ads and is COPPA compliant.  There are no-in app purchases. This would be a great app to use over the upcoming holidays because it’s not a “play once and done” especially for those that have a long trip!

Thinkrolls: Kings & Queens
Thinkrolls: Kings & Queens
by AVOKIDDO

Category: Education, Puzzle, Games, Adventure
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 56.76 MB

$3.99USD

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

Also available on Google Play and Amazon.

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly. The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

Giveaway

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Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

mCookie Electronics Kits from Microduino – Review #STEM


mcookie1

What we love…

Brings Lego Builds to life. Easy to use, no soldering. Users can create ready made projects but can also build their own and learn how to change the computer program to tweak the project. Extra modules and components can be purchased individually

What we’d love to see…

All components to be Lego Compatible- this has been done in the 2nd generation mCookie shipping next month.

Summary

mCookie is a series of magnetic, stackable modules that allow you to explore electronics and  create projects that include both working electronics and Legos

recommended-by-the-imums

What do you get if you combine electronics and Lego ?  – mCookie from Microduino ! mCookie is a series of magnetic, stackable modules that allow you to explore electronics and  create projects that include both working electronics and Legos. They are simple to use, require no soldering and are sold in a variety of starter kits as well as  by individual components.  I tested the mCookie 101 Basic kit which is the simplest of the  mCookie kits available. The basic kit includes 4 modules: 1 core USB module, 1 Bluetooth 4.0 module, 1 battery management module, 1 sensor hub module; 6 sensors: 2 LED color sensors, 2 crash/impact sensors, 1 buzzer sensor, 1 microphone sensor; plus instructions for a variety of simple projects.

mcookie3

To program the projects you first need to install Arduino IDE program plus the mCookie drivers on your computer, this is pretty straight forward and the directions can be found here. The kit includes a brochure with instructions for 3 projects, the mCookie website has instructions for 6 projects that can be done with the 101 kit. You can also buy additional modules and sensors individually to allow you to build more of the many mCookie projects that are listed on the website.

mcookie2

To test how user friendly the projects are I had my 12 year old son do the first 2 projects without any assistance from me. For his first project he built a Lego birthday cake. When he pressed a switch it sang Happy Birthday and the candle lit up . His second project was to build a Bluetooth controlled Lego lamp with a dixie cup lampshade. Then I completed one of the projects without any help from him 🙂 I chose the Grumpy Grandpa project, which I’ll describe below to give you an idea of how the projects are done.

Grumpy Grandpa

This project uses the Microphone sensor, buzzer, switch, core module, battery module and hub module. It is designed to respond to loud noises by setting off the buzzer, which can then be turned off with the switch.

Software: The first step with all the projects is to connect the core module to your computer via the USB cable and open the Arduino IDE program. From there you can choose the Grumpy Grandpa file and download it to the Core Module. The user can just download the program and use it. However, if they want to learn more about the program and how to tweak it  they are given the information to do so. The website explains the program step by step and explains changes they can make to the program.

Hardware: The hardware set up for the project is shown both by pictures and by text. For the Grumpy Grandpa project I did notice a mistake in the written directions for the first step, although the diagram is correct.

Step 1: Use the included wires to connect the buzzer to port 6/7 of the Hub, the switch (crash sensor) to port 4/5 and the microphone to port A0/A1. The pictures show which port is which. The wires are a little fiddly to instal, so I wouldn’t recommend this for under 12’s.

Step 2: Switch on the battery box and use the wires to connect it to the Battery Module

Step 3: Stack the Battery, Core and Hub Modules. the Hub has to be on top due to the wires but the others can be in any order. The modules are magnetic to very simple to stack.

Step 4: Build your Lego Grandpa and attach the electronics. There is a picture of a sample Grandpa, but you would need some specialized pieces e.g. a 90 degree connector to make this so I built mine very differently. Both my son and I had some difficulties with connecting the projects to the Lego. The Modules are easy to build legos on top of as their top surfaces are Lego compatible, the lower surfaces need to use connectors. There are 4 connectors included – you need 2 to connect the battery box and 2 to connect the stack of modules. You can purchase extras on the mCookie website, but would be nice if spares were included because if you lose one, as my son did, it becomes tricky to connect the project to your Lego Build. The sensors are also not Lego compatible so we found it tricky to get then to stay in place well without resorting to using tape. mCookie has addressed this problem with the sensors in the second generation of the mCookie kits by making the sensors also Lego compatible.

Pricing and availability:

The 101 kit is sold out and being replaced by the updated 102 kit. The second generation mCookie kits including mCookie 102 kit and the Itty Bitty City are currently available on Indiegogo for a substantial discount. The 102 Kit is 42% off at $52 and the Itty Bitty City is $79. The Itty Bitty City brings even more Lego builds to life including making remote controlled vehicles. After the Indiegogo is over the new kits will be available via the Microduino website.

Summary

mCookie is a series of magnetic, stackable modules that allow you to explore electronics and create projects that include both working electronics and Legos. In the first generation kits e.g. the 101 that we tested the modules are Lego Compatible but the sensor are not, this has been fixed in the second generation kits e.g. 102 which are due to ship next month. These kits are a great way to get Middle School and High School students engaged in building electronics projects without soldering. They allow them to bring Lego builds to life and to learn how to change the computer program that controls the project- fun and creative STEM education. I have been using the kit as part of our STEM projects for homeschooling my 7th grader.

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly. Reviews may include affiliate links.

 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).


Bloom by Megalearn – Review



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Bloom by Megalearn is a really cool science discovery app that teaches students 3 ways in which seeds are dispersed in nature. It shows how the coconut, dandelion and raspberry are propagated by their seeds and how they grow from seeds in stages. It also shows the elements necessary for the seeds to germinate.

What we love…

The ability to take part in the release of seeds as well as the seed dispersal and growth process.

What we’d love to see…

To include the fourth method of dispersal by explosion/splitting.

Summary

An excellent science app that allows student to discover how plants are propagated by their seeds and the conditions for seeds to grow.

Our Rating

Students start by choosing the coconut, dandelion or raspberry from the main menu. Each plant is presented in its natural environment – the coconut tree on the sandy beach, the dandelion plant in the fields and the raspberry bush in the forest.

Everything from this point onwards is intuitive and students need no explicit instructions on how to help the plants to grow and propagate, or how to create conditions suitable for the seeds to germinate. A slider by the side or at the bottom of the screen allows students to control the speed of change as they observe the growth process and the different seed dispersal mechanisms. My youngest loves all the meaningful interactions and animations as he explores scenes after scenes.

The app wows with the little details that make the experience realistic. For example, how it illustrates seeds flying in the air, how you can control the speed of wind to help the seeds fly further and the sound of water splashing as you move the coconuts further out in the sea are all very cleverly done.

At the end of the discovery journey, students are encouraged to reflect on the process that they have just witnessed. They are asked the name of the fruit/flower and how their seeds are spread. There is no other text in the app besides these multiple choice questions. It would be great if the app could offer the option to display the key words on the respective illustrations.

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There is so much knowledge to be shared here. You can highlight to your children the conditions essential for the seeds to germinate and grow as well as parts of the fruit/flower and their function in spreading their seeds (e.g. the porous coconut husk, the dandelion’s hair-like parachutes of seeds and the bright and attractive appearance of the raspberries) or discuss why the coconut trees are commonly found near the sea, the dandelion flowers grow well in open fields and the raspberry bushes are so delicious, etc.

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The illustrations are beautiful, the music is calming and the main learning points are highlighted. I like how students can take part in the release of seeds as well as the seed dispersal and growth process, and be amazed by the wonders of nature. Science is a very fascinating subject for many students and Bloom by Megalearn captivates students’ attention and spark their curiosity further. I highly recommend this excellent science exploratory app for all children from preschool to early elementary grades.

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Bloom by Megalearn

Bloom by Megalearn Bloom by Megalearn by Megalearn AB
Category: Education, Games, Simulation
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 104.59 MB

$4.99USD

Giveaway

If you would like to win a promo code for this app, please put your entries here. Good luck!

 

 

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

Grace was working in the fields of early childhood education and staff training before quitting to attend to her 4 children full time. She and her family live in Singapore, which is well known for her highly competitive education system.

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