Let's talk about games. Educational games. Students love the idea that they get to “play games” on their iPads, and teachers love to subversively teach students important concepts in a fun way. The app store is filled with a great collection of educational games (many aimed at younger students), and our school is totally okay with students installing and utilizing them during free time, between classes, or after school.
Currently, two of the most popular are Stack the States ($0.99) and Stack the Countries ($1.99). The students love these games. A lot. Even kids as young as seven (2nd grade) are really, really into them.
My 5th grade students cannot stop playing these games. Every single time they have a free minute where they aren't doing homework or classwork, they whip out their iPads and play a few rounds. I am curious to see if any of this geography trivia is going to help them when the school Geography Bee rolls around in a few months. Here is a look at the topics that the games ask about:
The concept of both games is the same: you are asked multiple choice questions about states or countries (from the list of topics in the photo above) and shown drawings of four different options. Students are challenged to recognize the states/countries visually, to learn the names, and to learn the actual facts about them. Even the game's backdrop is a photo of an educationally interesting location:
If you get the answer correct, you are allowed tasked with rotating and placing the state or country on the bottom podium. The goal is to answer enough questions correctly to create a stack high enough to pass the checkered line. States will tumble and fall based on their shape and their placement:
As students complete rounds, they “earn” states and countries and slowly fill up a map of the United States or the various continents with these trophies. This helps students learn the locations of these states and countries on a larger map. It is amazing how many students don't know the physical locations of prominent states and countries. This game helps them learn this information in a fun way:
The more states/countries they earn, the more additional minigames that they unlock (as you can see listed above). Furthermore, at any point the students can pull up a map of the states/countries and view flash cards with all the facts and information that the game might ask about. Great for quick research:
Overall, these two apps are a lot of fun while teaching students some simple geography facts and map knowledge. If students are allowed to “play” on their iPads, these are some good options to focus on.