How I Use It
I have used this app with first graders, working in small groups on the iPads to explore each of the different home locations (Guatemala, U.S., Yemen, and Mongolia) in the app. The students learn about urban, suburban, and rural and examine their own neighborhood before advancing out to larger areas of the world so this app was a great fit! The students were tasked with making observations and exploring how things worked in the different houses and then sharing out that information for a class KWHL chart. Students loved being able to explore food, clothing, and furniture in the different settings and investigate how the electricity worked and how weather affected each location. The open-ended interactivity of the app really held their attention and peaked their curiosity, encouraging them to go and research items and places further. Turning on the labels was great for ELL students although I wish the app would speak the labels aloud when they are touched.
I like that this app is open-ended and encourages students to touch, interact, and explore. I appreciate the way that students can "pull back the curtain" to things like how the electricity and water flow and look inside the homes as well as explore the gardens, animals, and area outside. The integration of the camera, to create real reflections in the mirrors and allow students to decorate with their own photos is also a great feature which can start discussions about family, heritage, and traditions. I wish there was a way for students to dive deeper into the cultures of each place within the app after their initial explorations and it would be great if they added more cities. There are some great prompting questions in the handbook, accessible via the settings in the app, to guide classroom discussions and help students learn more about architecture, utilities, and household activities in each place. I think this is a valuable classroom tool when students are learning about geography and cultures around the world.