As social studies teacher I’m drawn to any iPad app that I think students will enjoy. After four months of writing this blog I’ve found some that really stand out from the crowd. Here are my five picks for good iPad apps for social studies lessons.
Tiny Countries for iPad is one of the most fun apps that I’ve tried in a while. The purpose of the app is to help students learn the locations of 75 countries, their capitals, their notable cities, and some of their unique geographic features. Students learn this information in a game format. The scenario of the game is this, students have to help capture the “evil” characters (the characters are farm animals) by correctly answering the questions faster than the evil characters. Before trying each of the missions students can review each of the countries by tapping on the “learn” icon in the game.
GeoMaster Plus is an iPad app for learning and practicing identifying countries, capitals, and landmarks around the world. GeoMaster Plus offers a simple interactive atlas that students can use to familiarize themselves with the countries of the world. Students can search the atlas by country name and capital name. Students can also navigate the atlas by tapping on a country on the map. Tapping a country on the map will bring up a fact sheet about that country. Students can test their knowledge of world geography through a variety of GeoMaster Plus activities. Students can practice identifying countries and capitals in a series of progressively more difficult levels. The identification activities can be sorted by continent. In addition to practicing identifying countries and capitals students can practice identifying landmarks as well as natural geographic features like mountain ranges. For a final challenge students can try to match flags to their respective countries.
The National Geographic Word Atlas for 2013 is currently available as a free iPad app. I recommend grabbing it while it’s free. The app features a globe that students can rotate, zoom-in, and zoom-out. When students zoom-in on a country they can open a panel of location details to discover some basic information about that country. The details pane for each country includes information about the country’s population, geographic size, culture, and government.
EarthViewer is a free iPad app that takes you through 4.5 billion years on Earth. EarthViewer allows you to select eons and eras to view. Within each eon and era you can view tectonic plates, continental drift, and other geological events. You can view major biological events in EarthViewer too. Climate data for the last one hundred years is available in the app. EarthViewer users can manipulate the virtual globe to see how each continent has moved and been altered over time.
Geography Drive USA is an iPad app that elementary and middle school students will enjoy using. The app challenges students to drive their virtual cars to each state in the United States. The students move from state to state by correctly answering questions about each state that they visit. Students earn money for each correct answer. That money is then used to buy fuel for their cars and customize their cars. Students can also win trophies for accomplishments throughout the game. The game has more than 750 questions about state and national geography. Students will find questions about physical and political geography. There are some history questions mixed in too.