Find more Biology & Life Science apps suggested by our growing community of teachers and parents.
About the Apps
Apps that specifically address biology and life science fall into two categories: apps that tell about life science facts/theory (content-based apps) and apps that describe living things or their function (observation-based apps).
Also keep in mind that there are many apps that, although they do not specifically address biology topics, are used by the life science student to collect data, organize or filter that data, summarize, evaluate and communicate life science information.
This section will focus on the best apps available in the first two categories, starting with a simulation app that gives the student a virtual experience of a classic biology activity: Frog Dissection. This app would ideally be used to rehearse a student for the real activity of dissection, because as natural as the touch platform is for this hands on activity, there are a sets of manual dexterity skills and sensory experiences that a computer simulation falls short of delivering. But if there is no intention to do a real dissection or the student has the opportunity to use this alongside a real dissection, this app is an excellent investment.
Scientific notation and relative size of organs, tissues, cells and organelles is directly addressed using the Powers of Minus Ten. A deeper understanding of cell structure and function is understood through staining cells with different dyes and trace substances. 3D Cell Simulation and Stain Tool is another app that provides a virtual model, but would ideally be paired with some real microscope work for the high school student.
The focus of biology education decades ago was on taxonomy, ecology, and macro systems, and it's still important to integrate those lessons today alongside the micro. Taxonomy gives students a handle on individual species, and a language they can use to study the relationships and roles that plants and animals have in their environment. Audubon Birds is another in a series of electronic field books with reams of information in a rich multimedia fashion that help students appreciate their natural environment.
Leafsnap is sure to wow both the reluctant student and the professional botanist. Aside from the gorgeous high resolution photos of the trees of North America, the ability of the app to use biometrics to identify tree species by using the iPad camera to take a picture of a leaf is sure to engage the student.
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