Kids Discover Online is a web-based application offering a vast library of science and social studies material for elementary and middle-school students and educators

App of the Week
Formats: Website login. Can be streamed through any modern web browser, on any device, regardless of the screen size or the operating system

Website: http://www.kidsdiscover.com/

 

What does it help with?

Kids Discover Online helps young learners build close reading and comprehension skills with its library of nonfiction articles. Each article breaks down a single complex topic into approachable, age-appropriate lessons. The library includes topics for science, social studies, and ELA, and also aligns to state and Common Core standards, helping educators integrate specific articles and resources into their curriculum.

What grade and age range?   
K-8, elementary and middles school grades.

Is this core/supplemental/special needs/extra-curricular/professional development or what?
This is a supplemental product, and can be used as a stand-alone resource, or as a curriculum enhancement.

What subject, topic, what standards is it mapped to?
Kids Discover Online focuses on the 100-plus most-taught science and social studies topics for elementary and middle school curriculums. (Units include the Constitution, Ancient Greece, Matters, and Ecology). All content aligns with state and Common Core standards, and a standards lookup/map is currently under development to further aid in the lesson-planning process.

What lesson time does it use?  
Varies depending on whether Kids Discover Online is used as a stand-alone activity, such as quiet reading, or is used in conjunction with other resources to supplement or enhance a specific lesson. Can also be used as a research and/or reference tool for projects and homework.  

What is the pricing model?
A free tier includes access to approximately 20% of the library. An at-home subscription offers access to all material for $4 a month. Educator subscription are $12 a month and include lesson-planning tools and the ability for students to have their own usernames.
School and district plans are also available. All plans are billed annually, on a 12-month cycle.

Are there services around it?
Kids Discover Online offers three different Lexile Reading Levels for nearly every article in its library. Articles that only offer one reading level are free for registered users, and do not require a paid subscription. KDO also offers several lesson-planning tools for educators, enabling them to mix and match science and social studies content from across the library to build custom units for their upcoming lessons.

What makes it unique?
Kids Discover works with subject experts from leading institutions such as the American Museum of Natural History, Columbia University, and The Smithsonian Institute to ensure the accuracy and quality of information in its library. Kids Discover also licenses historic photographs and creates custom illustrations and animations in order to provide a visually rich reading experience for early leaners. Additionally, virtual panoramas and multi-step diagrams make the reading experience interactive and fun.

A description of the characteristics—how is it designed for user interface, user experience?  What instructional design principles are at work here?

One thing that Kids Discover Online stands out concerning is its clean and modern interface. The program offers an elegantly designed reading experience. The Home Feed and Discover Map features enable students to explore a vast array of nonfiction content, encouraging them to discover topics they may be interested in—or may not have ever heard about. Kids Discover Online was built for inquiry-based learning.

Upon logging in, teachers will find a newsfeed of relevant science and social studies content that can be filtered down into ten different categories. The Discover Map, which shows an interactive web of relationships between related topics, is an alternate entry point into Kids Discover Online.
 
A teacher’s review:
Lucille Jones, fifth-grade teacher
Southhold Elementary School, New York

“Kids Discover Online is a game-changer. My students are absolutely hooked. It’s not easy finding products that specialize in high-interest nonfiction for the elementary and middle school grades. This is a must-try!”

 

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