Earth Primer (fun) and Map of Life (for citizen science)

Best Apps for Teaching & Learning 2016 | American Association of School Librarians (AASL)

Earth Primer by Chaim Gingold

Level: Elementary and Middle School
Platform: iOS money icon

Website external link icon

Earth Primer is a cross between an intro to earth science textbook and an interactive sandbox game. This creative application allows students to play with the powerful concepts that make up the physical aspects of our planet. Manipulate glaciers, volcanoes, biomes, weather systems, and more and experience how all of these structures combine to affect the makeup of our awesome planet.

Tip: Use Earth Primer to reinforce content in an earth science class.

app icon Map of Life by Map of Life

Level: Middle School, High School
Platform: iOS | Android

Website external link icon

Map of Life is a field guide applicable to anywhere in the world. Search species by category and/or location, and contribute to the map by recording your sightings in your location. Several categories of species are represented, such as trees, mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles. Choose a type of species and view images, read about characteristics and habitat, and view a map showing range. Helps with conservation efforts worldwide!

Tip: Great application for classes using GIS data. Use Map of Life on science field trips to report wildlife and to identify plants and animals.

Life on Earth, 4.1billion years old?

Life on Earth likely started 4.1 billion years ago, much earlier than scientists thought

Posted: 19 Oct 2015 12:41 PM PDT

“Geochemists have found probable evidence for life on Earth at least 4.1 billion years ago — 300 million years earlier than previously documented, pushing the origin of life close to when the planet formed, 4.54 billion years ago.


Carbon in 4.1 billion year old zircon.
Credit: Stanford/UCLA.

University of California – Los Angeles. “Life on Earth likely started 4.1 billion years ago, much earlier than scientists thought: Evidence that early Earth was not dry and desolate.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 October 2015.

Go to <>. to read more about this, or see the journal reference.

Journal Reference:

  1. Elizabeth A. Bell, Patrick Boehnke, T. Mark Harrison, and Wendy L. Mao. Potentially biogenic carbon preserved in a 4.1 billion-year-old zircon. PNAS, October 19, 2015 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1517557112

Wonders of Life, with Brian Cox and Andrew Cohen

SLJ1412w Top10 Apps WondersofLife SLJ’s Top 10 Apps for 2014

“In Brian Cox’s Wonders of Life (HarperCollins/William Collins; Gr 4 Up), the renowned physicist-cum-BBC host and Andrew Cohen take viewers around the world on an awe-inspiring trip to locations both forbidding and exotic while delving into the origins and mysteries of life on Earth. The app’s illuminating text and commentary, 1,000-plus high-resolution photos, numerous 3-D images, and hours of video clips will leave viewers with a profound respect for and curiosity about the diverse life forms and environs found on our planet, and inspire a desire to protect them. Up-close footage of numerous species is guaranteed to produce lots of “ooohhh…” moments.”

One of the top 10 aps for 2014, assessed by School Library Journal, Dec. 9, 2014.

History of the Earth, timeline of evolution of the Universe

“This is by far the best interactive display for the evolution of the earth that I have found on the internet. It creates awe and wonder along with holding a real value to linking concepts in so many areas.”

From Delicious,  Nejedj71 posted  Sept. 14, 2011

Image Search comes to

“ introduces Image Search link – 21 Dec 2010, a gateway to government science information provided by US Government science agencies, has introduced an Image Search link under Special Collections to enable users to quickly find science images, including animal and plant, weather and space, and earth and sun images and more. The information is free and no registration is required.

To begin with, three databases are being searched from one search box. These include: The National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) Library of Images from the Environment (LIFE), The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Image eXchange (NIX) and The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Photo Library. More image databases will be added in the coming months.

In addition to the image search, has undergone significant software upgrade for quicker performance. It has included both the Federal Register and Code of Federal Regulations in the basic search and also provides an author cluster on the results page. The alerts service has also been upgraded so that users can manage their alerts directly from their alerts email and get daily alerts rather than weekly. is hosted by the Department of Energy Office of Scientific and Technical Information, within the Office of Science, and is supported by CENDI, an interagency working group of senior scientific and technical information managers. Currently in its fifth generation, provides a search of over 42 scientific databases and 200 million pages of science information with just one query.”
Source:  Knowledgespeak Newsletter, 12/21/10