Nature iPad Explorations: Recording Observations

During this second week of iPad explorations, I focused on the iPad as a tool for recording explorations and discoveries. Here are some of my favorite FREE apps from this week’s nature explorations:

Ink Flow

This was definitely one of my favorite apps for fomenting my questions and discoveries. I found that the pen control was much smoother than some other journal/sketchbook apps.


Adobe Ideas

This was another great journal/sketchbook app. Pen control wasn’t quite as smooth, but I did like the ability to add photos into my notes.


Shadow Pup

I saved the best for last! Shadow Pup is a great app for recording observations because it allows for voice explanations of pictures. I have used this app in my classroom as a way for students to talk about their work! Here’s a link to one of my recorded observations:

There are many other wonderful apps for recording–some of which I will mention in weeks to come! If you have come across a great go-to app for recording observations, I’d love to hear about it! For next week, I will focus on the iPads ability to explore movement and change in nature! I’ll include some fun animation apps in my explorations!

‘Til later…happy explorations!


Lesson Plan: Story of a Tree

Begin the lesson by talking about the life cycle of a tree. Take your students outside and gather around the base of a tree (size doesn’t matter). Begin reading an excerpt from the writings of John Muir. He often will tell stories about his observations–speculating about what a tree, plant, animal, or other element of nature may of seen or experienced. After reading the excerpt, ask your students to think about the life of this tree they are observing–How did it get here? What types of difficulties might it have experienced as it was growing up? Are their any clues that have been left behind on the trunk, branches, or leaves of the tree that would further illustrate it’s life? Have the students write and/or draw a story about their tree. Ideally, they might incorporate both text and images into their stories.

(If you want to take this project a step further, you might want to first have a paper or book-making lesson using recycled paper and materials. The students could then rewrite their books onto this paper.)