For generations of students, learning the U.S. states and their capital cities has been an academic ritual usually introduced in the third grade.
Teachers know that students who have a strong knowledge of the states and capitals have a better chance to succeed when they move on to more advanced subjects like U.S. history, geography, civics and government.
Although books, worksheets, maps and other printed resources are still popular tools for helping students learn the state facts and figures, many teachers are using educational apps to engage students and stir a bit of technology into their lesson plans.
A smart app to consider is “50 U.S. States: Capitals & Flags” by Andrey Solovyev. It works with most smartphones and digital tablets, and targets students in grades three to six. It’s a good study aid that takes the monotony out of memorizing facts and figures by presenting the material in fun interactive games and quizzes.
Subjects covered include:
- Capital cities
- State flags
- State outline maps
- State names
The app can supplement in-class lesson plans or bolster independent study sessions.
How it works
The app opens with a menu page that includes icons for launching educational games and accessing a settings page. Students should first tap the settings icon, which will take them to the app preferences area. Here, they select a tool that toggles the game’s sound effects, which are turned on by default. They also can enter their name to allow the app to keep track of their game scores. Return to the menu page by tapping the back arrow in the upper left corner of the screen.
Students can choose from five games:
- Name the State. Students identify a state by looking at its shape and then spell its name by choosing from a collection of mixed letters at the bottom of the screen.
- State Capitals. A state shape appears and students must spell out its capital city from the letters provided.
- On the U.S. Map. A map shows a region of the United States. One of the individual states in the region is highlighted and students must spell out that state’s name from the letters provided.
- State Flags. A state flag appears and students must spell out the state associated with it from the letters provided.
- U.S. Challenge. Students match state with flag images, or a capital city name with a state image, or identify individual states from a complete U.S. map.
Each game is self-paced and students can take as long as they need to study the images. Students must answer each problem correctly and cannot skip ahead. Points are scored with each correct answer, but if a student is stumped by one of the problems, there is an option to trade points for hints.
Content in the “50 U.S. States: Capitals & Flags” app is all-inclusive, and includes in-app advertising. Once the app has been downloaded into a device, all basic games can be accessed without an Internet connection.
There’s an option to upgrade to a premium version of the app that removes the advertisements and unlocks additional features including a map and quiz focusing on European countries. An Internet connection is required to buy the premium app, which costs 99 cents.
The “50 U.S. States: Capitals & Flags” app is free. It can be downloaded through Google Play and is compatible with smartphones and tablets running the Android operating system 2.3 or later. The app is also available on iTunes and is compatible with iPhones and iPad tablets running iOS version 6.0 or later.