Green Up

Available in the App Store

Green Up is a fun, science based game that reinforces the elementary school curriculum of the life cycle of plants and trees. In varying degrees, this has been taught to my own children from preschool through elementary school. This app also brings another solid science app to the App Store while fostering a love of learning about the environment, ecology and biodiversity. At $1.99 for a universal app, the price is also reasonable.

As part of the app children will learn about growing a plant or tree from seed and making sure that it thrives. Children do this by choosing the best environment, watering, fertilizing, dealing with pests, and protecting the plant from freezing temperatures. Throughout the game kids are asked questions about plants to get an update about the health of their plant from in-app expert, Dr. Green. Once the lifecycle is complete you dig up the plant for your specimen album while earning rewards such as new seeds, a greenhouse or more fertilizer.

The musical score by Erik Satie is a wonderful addition and actually makes it pleasant to have the sound on for a change. Other nice features include the ability to automatically tell whether you are in the Northern or Southern hemisphere, an at-a-glance guide to a plant, and the option to have up to 3 different players.

Both myself and my little testers thoroughly enjoyed Green Up and would definitely recommend the app as a way of engaging children in ecology, science and gardening. That being said, I still feel there is room for improvement in the app especially to keep children engaged in both the game play and the educational aspect of the app. This could be achieved by improving the pace of the game – which at time feels way too slow, leveling information so that quiz questions get increasingly more complex, and having better incentives to maintain the “garden” and keep returning to the app. The app would also benefit from more visual and audio cues for pre-readers or those new to the app.

One last comment, I was concerned about the use of fertilizer in the app. Yes, plants need food, but I would either like to learn more about how this naturally occurs or at least know that the little fertilizer bag was full of something organic rather than a nasty commercial chemical compound.

BOTTOM LINE

This is a thoroughly enjoyable game that appeals to a variety of ages from from toddler to adult (with varying degrees of help). Even a toddler, when guided by an adult, can enjoy Green Up – without even getting dirty. Add a few more fact, activities and incentives to return to the app and learn and this could be a 5 star app.
Green Up is an educational game that encourages children to practice content learned at school and gives them a hands-on way to learn the basics of ecology, biodiversity and gardening.

– Kids will be learning some gardening basics—plants need to be watered and fertilized, and protected from freezing temperatures and pests.

– They will be practicing what they learned at school about the parts of a plant and parts of a flower. The iPad version provides supporting text.

– They will experiment with concepts like pollination and learn first-hand when it happens during a plant’s life-cycle.

– They will grow their own plants; when a plant’s cycle is complete, they can collect the plant in an album.

Each climate has its own theme music: five works by the French composer Erik Satie (1866-1925) help to create an evocative atmosphere for each landscape. Regular Price: 1.99

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