Last year, Google released a fun app that let curious children perform a handful of science experiments by monitoring light, sound and motion using a smartphone. Following some feedback, the app has been updated with a more open-ended approach, allowing children to simply record and annotate the globe around them. (It’s also on iOS now.)
“We heard from teachers that it’d be even more helpful if the app may take notes and create observations for science experiments,” wrote Amit Deutsch, program manager for Science Journal, in a blog post. “So we’ve redesigned Science Journal as a digital science notebook.”
It’s easier now to simply launch a sensor, note down what you’re recording (a bird song, an object’s motion, etc.), and then compare it to other experiments. There are also 3 new sensors you can use: a linear measuring instrument, a magnetometer and a compass, assuming your device has the hardware to begin with.
You could test the G-forces in your car while you navigate by cardinal directions, and… do something with magnets at the same time. (Preferably from the passenger seat.)
There are also numerous new activities for those who want something more guided. Google partners with universities and education startups to create little projects you’ll do at home or within the classroom. (If you’re looking for the new ones, maybe avoid those that use a Nexus One as their example phone.)