The first thing that came to mind when I started using Science Journal was not even all the things that I could do that were related to science, but the tremendous potential this had for providing equity and access to all. Science for all really has a chance of happening with something like Science Journal in the hands of anyone who has a phone. All the teachers I've shown this to have been equally amazed. One commented about how excited she was for her students to see and use their phone as something other than a device to connect socially with friends.
I tried Science Journal out today with a class of third graders along with two colleagues. We ran a 45 minute session with students sharing one phone per pair of students. Each of us ran a 'center' using the three introductory experiments: Getting Started with Light, Getting Started with Sound, and Getting Started with Motion. Every 12-15 minutes, the students rotated so that had a chance to explore all three. The students were amazed and were able to make connections between what they were seeing and doing in the physical world with what the sensors were responding to. The graphs and numbers provided great visuals and made sense to them whether they were moving the phone along the x, y, and z dimensions or making sounds of various pitches. It is intuitive and definitely drives a sense of curiosity and exploration. At the end of each center, I tried to help the students to make a connection between what the sensor does on the phone and other sensors that are used for other purposes such as detecting earthquakes or when a goal is scored. To demonstrate a seismograph, we put the phones in the middle of a table while we moved the table back and forth. Students were able to observe the sensor at work in the graphs. The chorus of "Wow! Cool!"said it all - they were definitely inspired and empowered!
"It is cool that a sensor can register how much light is hitting something...I think it is very cool because you can see how much different things are shaking...PS We could use a real sensor to insert in cars so they don't crash into each other."
"We think we could use the app for natural disasters. We think we should put a sensor on the fastest car in the world."
"I really enjoyed learning about movement, sound, and light. Something that surprised us is how the app could tell us different measurements. I would like to put a sensor on a pencil to see the different movements of our pencil."