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10 Best STEM Apps for Middle and High School Students

From coding to frog dissections, these apps make STEM fun for tweens and teens

Rebecca Hill

Published on: June 02, 2016

Summer is coming! If your middle or high school kids are taking catch-up or get-ahead classes (or if you just want to prevent summer brain drain) try these great STEM apps. Not only do they keep students up on core subjects, they're so much fun, your family might just keep using them after school starts! Here are our 10 top picks.

1. The Elements

Devices: iPhone, iPad | Price: $13.99 | Grade level: High school

Created by Theodore Gray of Popular Science’s “Gray Matter” column, this app is great for visual learners — even if it is a bit pricey. With colorful images of more than 500 objects, The Elements features the stories behind the elements and founders of the periodic table. 

Each element has two pages of information with a spinning model with the element's chemical symbol and atomic number. This app is perfect for both newbie chemists and faithful fans of the periodic table.  

2. Frog Dissection

Devices: iPad, Android | Price: $3.99 | Grade level: Middle and high school

Save the gross and messy stuff behind! Winner of PETA’s Mark Twain Ethical Science Award, this app is a great way to dissect a frog without actually having to touch or smell it. You'll learn anatomy with 3-D imaging, animation and organ maps. Plus, the dissection narrative comes with precise surgical instructions. Students can also tap on the labeled organs to learn more. Recommended by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Available through Google Play.

3. Graphing Calculator

Devices: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch | Price: Free (paid version available) | Grade level: High school

This app is perfect for students taking Algebra I, Algebra II, calculus or any kind of math that uses a graphing calculator. It can be used for plotting and outlining several equations at a time and also includes a reference dictionary covering all categories of math. And you can't beat the price when compared to the cost of an actual graphing calculator! Available through Google Play.

4. Math Formula 

Devices: iPhone, iPad | Price: Free | Grade level: High school

iGeeksBlog calls this one of the best math formula apps. Math Formula covers basics, numbers, algebra, calculus, sets, matrix, geometry, statistics and other formulas. Students may find it useful to use this great reference tool in conjunction with their textbook. Available through Google Play. 

5. SimplePhysics

Devices: iPhone, iPad | Price: $1.99 | Grade level: Middle school

Created by a former physics teacher, this app lets students build all kinds of structures using realistic physics with beautiful graphics. Middle school students can work through various levels building a variety of structures including a river dam, bomb shack and train bridge. They can even run a stress design test on their creations! App includes a link to the creator's new game, SimplePlanes. Available through Google Play.

6. Hopscotch Coding App

Devices: iPhone, iPad | Price: Free | Grade level: Middle school

Learning to code is the new math! A click and drag program that uses a series of colorful blocks, this app lets students create their own games and publish them instantly for anyone to play. The game uses simple language, staying away from formal programming codes. By learning these concepts, kids can learn to think like computer programmers. Recommended by the AAAS. 

7. King of Math 2

Devices: iPhone, iPad | Price: Free | Grade level: Middle school

Make math fun with the King of Math 2. Featuring five worlds with 12 books and 125 stages, this app has players complete levels by solving math problems. Students can improve or refresh their math skills, play against the clock and compare scores with friends. A junior version is available for younger children. Available through Google Play.

8. NASA Visualization Explorer

Devices: iPhone, iPad | Price: Free | Grade level: Middle and high school

Travel to the stars and beyond with NASA Visualization Explorer. The stunning visual collection includes age-appropriate and readable information about space research with a new story released twice a week. Recommended by the AAAS. Available through Google Play. 

9. Anatomy 4D

Devices: iPhone, iPad, Android | Price: Free | Grade level: High school

Ever wonder what’s inside our bodies? Anatomy 4D allows students to interact with complex anatomy by going inside the human body with 3-D learning. After downloading the app, students email, print or save a set of images from the app’s Target Library. Then all they have to do is aim the app’s viewer over the target to see the lifelike and amazing images appear. Students can explore details of the entire body, specific systems and organs. Available through Google Play. 

10. TreeBook

Devices: iPod Touch, iPad, iPhone | Price: Free | Grade level: Middle school

Collecting leaves seems like a rite of passage for middle school kids. Now it's easier than ever with the TreeBook app. Kids can use this beginner’s field guide of 100 trees most common in North America to identify different species as they walking through the woods, park or backyard. Hand-drawn images, photos and maps provide a complete description of each tree.

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