October 19, 2017

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The Human Body—Animated | Touch and Go

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DK The Human Body takes high school students system by system through the body via labeled illustrations and a few animated scenes and videos. As School Library Journal’s reviewer stated, it’s best “for big-picture anatomy instruction and excellent for memorization—labels can be turned off so that viewers can test their memories.” The two apps reviewed here are appropriate for younger audiences, and like the DK Human Body impart information primarily through illustration and animation.

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Interior screen, ‘Heart and Lungs Lab’ (isygames) Manuela Gutierrez Montoya

With its detailed diagrams and occasional animations, the Heart and Lungs Lab ($2.99; isygames S.C./Quoriam; Gr 5-9) will be a useful study guide for students. The app’s contents are divided into three sections: anatomy, physiology, and quizzes.

The anatomy section can be accessed by tapping the first of three speech bubbles on the main screen which features a labeled view of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems of a child. Touching any one of the nearly 30 labels on the colorful diagram (pharynx, lung, jugular vein, etc.) will bring up a few facts about that organ or body part.

The physiology section contains animations and “labs”—activities that help clarify particular functions of the subject  systems. Animations allow students to observe the heart pumping blood through the body, witness the rise and fall of the diaphragm, and watch cell activity—providing them with a closer look at the marvels of the human body. With a tap to the screen users can take part in a number of interactive exercises such as feeding the body’s cells or drawing blood and examining it under a microscope. There are six assorted labs to investigate, each with “Remember” and “Do You Know?” buttons that emphasize salient points, offer fascinating facts, and provide dictionary options.

The app, which is self-paced and can be adapted to a variety of learning levels and styles, will especially appeal to visual learners. The opportunity to revisit any of the screens, activities, and the leveled quizzes will help reinforce concepts. There are no instructions, and while navigating the app may not be intuitive for all, with a little exploring most students will quickly figure out how it works. Both English and Spanish language texts are available and users can choose to listen to soothing piano music if they like while operating the app. Well-presented and useful in classroom and homeschool environments.Krista Welz, North Bergen High School Media Center, NJ

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Interior screen, ‘The Human Body’ (Tinybop Inc.)

There are two modes in which to explore Tinybop Inc.’s The Human Body ($2.99; K-Gr 5)—one for parents, one for children. First-time use requires visitors to add their names to an icon which provides access to the content; parents must set up a password. The mode for children has no in-app text beyond labels and no directions. When tapped, an image of a large key brings an outline of a figure onto the screen with its internal parts visible in bright colors.

Along the left side of the screen is a row of thumbnail images representing six body systems. By tapping on an icon in this panel, a colorful picture of the corresponding body system pops up, sound effects included. The heart beats as it pumps blood; stomach liquids gurgle, breathing is heard as the lungs take in air then expel it, and a touch to a nerve sends electrical charges to the brain in a succession of beeps.

Small images on the right side of the screen (a cookie, a mosquito, etc.) offer additional interactive opportunities. Activating the mosquito will elicit buzzing sounds and allow children to see how the body responds to a bite. Dragging the cookie to the figure’s mouth sets the digestive system in motion. When the animated images are enlarged, labels appear (in English, French, Spanish, or German).

Accessed from the parent portal and available online (a free download) is an extensive handbook (available in 10 languages) that discusses the nervous, skeletal, respiratory, circulatory, digestive, and muscular systems and their functions in some detail, and provides suggestions of activities and questions to use with the app. Information on the immune and urogenital systems are also available for purchase. Useful in classroom, library, and homeschool situations.—Elizabeth Kahn, Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy, Avondale, LA

For additional app reviews visit the Touch and Go webpage.

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Daryl Grabarek About Daryl Grabarek

Daryl Grabarek dgrabarek@mediasourceinc.com is the editor of School Library Journal's monthly enewsletter, Curriculum Connections, and its online column Touch and Go. Before coming to SLJ, she held librarian positions in private, school, public, and college libraries. Her dream is to manage a collection on a remote island in the South Pacific.

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Comments

  1. Andrea Johnson says:

    For those of us using Android, it would be helpful if you could indicate whether the apps you review are available for Android or only for iOS.

    Thanks!