Thursday, August 7, 2014

App review & Giveaway! Ranger Rick Jr. Appventures


I'm so excited to bring you an app review today -- and a great giveaway! I love to find new apps for the classroom. When I saw that Ranger Rick Jr. had apps, I couldn't wait to try one. How did I miss this? I love Ranger Rick magazines and I'm such a fan of teaching science (a glance at my products on TPT will tell you that!).

I asked Ranger Rick if I could review an app and offer it to you all as a giveaway. They were super great and offered codes for 3 very lucky followers. Read the review and then make sure you enter the rafflecopter giveaway at the end of this post for your chance to win!
Ranger Rick has 3 apps that feature Ricky Raccoon. These are all IOS apps for the iPad. They also have a few other apps that can be used on IOS or Android operating system. I'm reviewing the newest app, Bears, and it is for the iPad. You can click on the link or the picture below to go to their site for more information or to purchase this app.
This app is recommended for ages 4-8. I really like the music that is used for this app. It is varied and interesting. So many apps have annoying music that you have to mute in order to think clearly! :) This one really just fades into the background and you don't think about it. There is a read to me option on the menu bar. I would just keep that on at all times for my first graders. For most reading apps I prefer to have the reading option off and for them to be able to click on a word to hear that particular word. However, this one has instructions and science information which would be difficult for some of them to read. I'm glad there is the read to me option. I also appreciate that it shows the text for everything as it reads it to the child. This is very helpful for developing readers and can increase their recognition of sight words and other frequently used words.

There are 3 options for this app: Play, Explore & Create
1) The play option has 4 different games.
*Solve a Puzzle - This activity features real photos of wildlife. They even have options to choose how many pieces that the puzzle has to adjust the difficulty level. There is a "preview" button which lets you look at the picture in case you need additional help to solve the puzzle -- like looking at the box lid of a traditional puzzle! I've done that many times when I was stuck! :)
*Where's the Bear - This game was my least favorite. You find bears and click a button to pretend to take their picture. As you move the iPad it takes you to new areas to view more bears so you need to be able to rotate the iPad 360 degrees. I do like the fact that this game makes you move, but it also may provide some challenges for using it in the classroom. I have my students seated during their iPad time so they would need to stand. Also, I try to limit the times that they move the iPads to avoid any accidents.
*Go Fish - This game also utilizes the movement of the iPad to make the game work. The user moves the iPad to get the bear to catch the fish. This one just requires you to tilt the iPad back and forth so you can easily do it while seated. When the bear is finished eating fish, he burps. Some of the kiddos will love that part!
*Match Sounds - I love this game! The app plays a sound and you have to choose from 3 different animals to identify the one who made the sound. When you correctly answer, it gives you an interesting fact about the animal. Identifying animals sound + animal facts = super fun learning!
2) The explore option teaches about bears. Students can follow the bear tracks to find another bear and hear more facts. They'll also see real photos of bears and even learn about a few other creatures that are hiding along the way. There are 3 short (less than a minute) videos: adorable video footage of cubs playing, another of grizzly bears fishing & a one with grizzly bears doing things that bears do. :) There is a neat gadget in this section that is called a Bear's Year. There is a dial that shows the seasons. When you drag the hand to a season it will show you what bears do in that season and also what children do. I like how it connects the information to the child's schema and their point of view.
3) The create option includes a sticker board, animal piano and animal builder.
*Sticker board - Students just drag the virtual sticker onto the paper to make a picture. You can re-size each sticker which is a nice option. You'll just need to show the students how to do this and how to get them back to "regular" size. They can make them so large that they are bigger than the screen. There are several animals to choose from as well as some natural elements to enhance the outdoor scene. When you are finished you can click on the camera to take a picture of your creation. The picture is saved in your camera roll. One thing that I like to do on these type of activities is to print out the paper and have them use it for some extended learning. They can write a story about the picture, label the animals, compare & contrast 2 of the animals that they chose or write a short report about one of the animals. This picture can be attached to that extended activity and sent home when the project is complete. Parents will enjoy seeing how the students used an apps to complete a project and learn about animals.
*Animal piano - make wild music. This is a keyboard that allows you to push a key for an individual sound. The twist in this app is that the bear growls out the note for you!
*Animal builder - The user chooses individual parts to create a unique animal. To choose a new body part, they slide the title section. I found this a bit confusing because I wanted to spin the whole area (a tree trunk) where the parts are and that doesn't work. It will only spin if you are on the title. You can even add extras (like wings!) to your animal.
The Ranger Rick Jr. Appventures series has already received some great reviews and impressive awards. This would be a fun app to use in the classroom or homeschool setting. The kids will have fun using it and they will  learn some animal facts. I even learned a few! Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win this app. The entry options are all easy to complete. Share this giveaway with your teacher friends. I'll be choosing 3 winners! Thank you Ranger Rick, Jr. for this great giveaway!

Thanks for reading! :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don't forget to enter the giveway for the iPad mini! There are only a few days left to enter!



DISCLOSURE: I was provided with a free copy of this app to review. All opinions expressed are my own and this review was written by me. :)

4 comments:

  1. I am trying to get an IPAD in my room! I have 17 (as of now) in my first grade room! Jen Steinacher mrs.steinachers.class#gmail.com

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  2. I have 18 students in my 3rd grade class.

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  3. I love the app aurasma! In the app, if you hold the camera over an image, it can bring up a video. Great for allowing students to explore concepts individually.

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  4. We use the IPad often to research!!

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