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7 Apps for Combining SAMR and Science

7 Apps for Combining SAMR and Science

By Katie Chirhart

I teach in an elementary iPad Lab and augment the instruction that takes place in the classroom through the use of technology. In my role, developing and planning activities using the top two tiers of SAMR is critical.

I want to take the learning that has taken place in the classroom and extend my students’ critical thinking and problem solving skills.

For this, I turn to Science-related apps first. Apps that focus on science skills often offer opportunities to experiment and play with concepts that would be impossible in a typical classroom setting.

More: How to Increase Your Classroom Impact With SAMR

Here are a few of my favorite apps for combining the SAMR model with science for augmenting instruction.

Circuit Builder

This app allows students to build electrical circuits. Circuits can be as simple as a light bulb and battery or made more complex with circuits that include transformers and inhibitors, a variety of battery voltages, a variety of light bulbs, motors, and fans.


Students are able to choose and draw a hypothetical circuit and then build it to see if it works. This app takes student experimentation beyond what can be done in the traditional classroom and for significantly less expense.


This app asks students to build certain structures—tree houses, dams, roofs—but requires them to build these structures within a specific set of parameters. For example, their structures must hold a certain amount of weight, for a set period of time, and stay within a predetermined budget.

Students can research structures that make buildings strong before building theirs, and then use their knowledge to help in designing the structures in the app. After demonstrating successful in the app, students can take what they learned and apply it to the real world.

My students were given three sheets of notebook paper and a small amount of masking tape, and were tasked with building a bridge. We then weighed the amount of weight each bridge could hold.

3D Spacecraft

This augmented reality app is made by NASA. Its beautiful design allows students to explore a large variety of NASA Spacecrafts and, using a marker that can be printed using the app, students are able to view all sides of the vehicles. In many cases, students can watch various parts of the spacecraft move.

Once students have had time to explore the vehicles, a discussion can begin regarding the various jobs of the spacecraft and the tools the spacecraft must carry in order to ensure the job can be completed, like solar panels, cameras, robotic arms and satellite dishes.

After the discussion, students can design their own space vehicle on paper or using apps such as Hello Crayon or 3D Sketch.


This app allows students to create animated stories with pre-drawn characters or their own, that they draw and animate from scratch. Students use Toontastic to draw science concepts, explain them, and then set them in motion all while making a recording of their work.

Want students to demonstrate how molecules in a reaction move? Their “characters” can be hand-drawn molecules—who says the characters have to be people? Their “story” can demonstrate what happens during a chemical reaction. The stories of scientific discoveries and famous scientists call also be told.

GreenScreen by Do Ink

Have students record a weather report or explain how a volcano works, and use GreenScreen to put hand-drawn diagrams or videos in the background.

Solar System Zoom/Universal Zoom

Students use this app to zoom in and out of the solar system and compare and contrast actual objects’ size. It is a great way to put size into perspective and explain the solar system in a way that students understand.

After exploring and discussing student findings, give the students tape and have them mark the actual sizes of a few of the objects on the floor. Afterward, they can research the sizes of objects they’re curious about and add them to the floor.

If you work with younger students, teachers can do the work of measuring actual objects and writing them on paper and cutting the paper to size. Then children can put these in order of biggest to smallest.

Hudson Alpha iCell

Using this app, students are able to view, in detail and 3D, the inner workings of a cell—bacteria, animal and plant. They can also go inside the cell and manipulate organelles. After exploring and discussing findings, students can use the app 3D Sketch to create their own 3D cell.

Additionally, students can use International Reading Association’s app, Venn Diagram, to compare animal and plant cells. Use a presentation app like Haiku Deck to create a presentation about one organelle or each part of the cell.


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7 Apps to Combine SAMR and Science

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  1. Pingback: 4 Project-Based Learning Ideas to Use in Your Classroom | Educational technology | Learn2Earn

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  3. Pingback: 60+ Free EdTech Tools For 4-Core and More

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