Find more Physics & Physical Science apps suggested by our growing community of teachers and parents.
About the Apps
Physics and physical science is where the iPad really shines as the SciPad! Those same imbedded technologies that Apple used to make mobile technology so user friendly and fun are physics types of digitizers! Consider the following list:
- Compass (useful for consumer navigation) is actually measuring magnetic fields.
- Camera (useful for taking pictures and movies for the average joe or jill) is turning light into numbers.
- Accelerometers (allows the gamer to use movement to control the game) is capturing force as a numerical expression.
- Gyroscopes (tilt your game, or turn your iPad to share a picture with a friend) spits out very precise data about inclination.
- Microphone (end user can use speech to control or record audio) this device is quantifying sound.
To the physics teacher (and, fortunately, for the physics student), app developers have made the connection between the consumer experience enhancers, and all the digital data the device is capturing and turned the iPad into an interactive probeware station and physics computational simulator. Here we present the five best physics apps that take advantage of all of these tools found within the device.
Probably this reviewer's first experience with using iOS as a science researcher came when I found that not only was his Radioshack Decibel Meter broken, but the audio I was trying to measure was below the threshold of that over $100 device. That was when I discovered AudioTools - there actually was an app for that! For less than $20, I had a suite of meters for measuring and understanding sound. AudioTools is a real researcher's answer and has been compared favorably to $6000 bench equipment!
During the decades of science instruction and science education professional development workshops, I never expected to have a free MagnetMeter for each student in his classroom. How fascinating to measure magnetic flux in microtesla as it varies with distance and between different barriers.
Various levels are available as compliments to the standard marble trough type of experiments. I selected the free Clinometer HD as a great way for students to measure inclination (in a tenth of a degree!) for these gravitional acceleration experiments.
Not all physical phenomena, like magnetic fields, can actually be seen. This doesn't mean we can't understand this abstract concept. MagnetMeter - 3D Vector Magnetometer and Accelerometer creatively uses the compass technology Apple installed in the iPad for navigation purposes to track magnetic fields. Pretty cool.
Perhaps you want to engage your students with some physics modeling apps before doing the real thing in the field or in the lab. Time to pull out Coaster Physics or a whole set of simulations found in Xperica.
The point is, of all the sciences, physical science and physics is where the iPad becomes almost indispensable for experiencing what a scientist does first hand! The physical science learner will be blown away!
Comments & Suggestions Have a suggestion for an educational app for this category you think we should feature? Let us know.
How are apps scored?
Apps are scored using a proprietary evaluation rubric to judge Educational Content, Kid Appeal, Assessment, Features and Design, Value, and Safety and Privacy.