The human body is a miraculous set of systems that work together to sustain life. Heart and Lungs Lab does an admirable job explaining the anatomy and physiology of these two body systems in a way that is understandable to children ages 9-13. It is the latest Top Pick for Fun Educational Apps because it takes advantage of tablet technology to illustrate a complex topic in a clear and concise way.
Heart and Lungs Lab was developed by Isygames for the iPad. It is the third app in the Human Body series, joining The Amazing Digestive Journey and D. Bones. A fourth app that features the muscular system will be released soon. Heart and Lungs Lab is divided into three sections:
- anatomy (what the structures and organs look like in the respiratory and circulatory systems),
- physiology (how each system works, and how they interconnect), and
- a summary quiz, designed as a self-check for the student.
The layout of Heart and Lungs Lab is straightforward. On the opening screen is a figure of a human body with three different colored dialog boxes. Choose the blue box to see a diagram with each of the important structures labeled. Tap a label, and you will get more information about that part. On the bottom of this screen is a sliding indicator. Move it to the right to see only the respiratory system; move it to the left to see only the circulatory system. Placing it in the middle position gives a view of both systems as they appear together.
Choosing the red box takes you to the section called “Labs.” There are a total of six labs to view, each one showing one step of the process of respiration or blood circulation. A question mark in the upper right corner shows how to activate the animation, which can be repeated as often as you wish. The animations show the route that blood takes through the body, and how it delivers oxygen and removes carbon dioxide from the cells. They also show the way blood flows through the heart with each beat, and how it looks under a microscope.
The purple box links to the quiz. With two different levels available (easy and hard), it is possible to accommodate different ages. There are 10 questions per quiz, and students are encouraged to go back and re-examine the areas on which they made errors.
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Heart and Lungs Lab is intended for use in the classroom. I appreciate the fact that the content is rigorous and the vocabulary is advanced. Unfortunately, many science apps make the mistake of “dumbing down” their content, which lowers the app’s educational value. There are plenty of children between 9 and 13 who are able to comprehend the information presented here because it is designed so clearly. Using Heart and Lungs Lab, students studying the human body have an excellent resource that highlights the most important aspects of the circulatory and respiratory systems.
As I was going through Heart and Lungs Lab, I realized that there may be a use for this app that the developers have not considered. The granddaughter of a family friend has a heart defect that has required numerous surgeries. Even though she’s too young to ask questions about her condition, I think this app could be used as an educational tool for children like her who have heart defects or lung disease. By showing the process of the blood flow, it helps them understand what is different in their own bodies, in a way that is far superior to a mere picture in a book.
Overall, Heart and Lungs Lab exceeds all expectations for content, design, animation, and graphics. This is an app that has a place in the classroom and will be a welcome supplement to standard textbook materials. It makes both the respiratory system and the circulatory system easier to comprehend. For these reasons, it is the latest Top Pick for Fun Educational Apps.
Heart and Lungs Lab is available for download via the iTunes App Store - iPad
RRP - $2.99/£1.99/€2.69
Review by Julie Peterson, a speech/language pathologist currently working in a public school setting serving children with special needs age 6-14.
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Disclosure: This review was move up the waiting list priority-services. All opinions expressed are purely that of the author.