Axel's Chain ReactionSpring 2014 Mobile Apps
Axel's Chain Reaction is an e-book that tells the story of a kinetic learner—fidgety, distractible, and disruptive in the classroom—who is introduced to kinetic sculpture as an art form. This appeals to him directly because of his creative and engineering skills which emerge only when he is given room to explore at home. Through persistence he is able to produce an impressive sculpture and even save the day for his classroom, earning the respect and admiration of his classmates and teachers.
Axel is a boy that many, many children will find close to their own hearts. A large percentage of today's students have skills that are overlooked in a traditional classroom, and these readers will be happy to meet a protagonist they can relate to. The illustrations are appealing, and the interactivity of the book sometimes directly moves the plot along and allows the reader to become involved in Axel's designs, encouraging exploration with found objects both within the context of the story and in real life. (The app also includes specific directions for building a few sculptures, as well as more information and links to videos about the artists featured in the story.) The outcome of the story will appeal strongly to non-traditional learners, most of whom also have many talents just waiting to be discovered.