How I Use It
USA for Kids was used as a center for 5th graders in social studies using iPads. Students were able to select their area of interest and were encouraged to try the easy as well as the more difficult challenges. We had just finished a research project on presidents and students were able to reinforce their knowledge by playing the presidents game and complete the puzzle of their presidents face. Many students were disappointed that there was not more information offered about the presidents and would have liked a more extensive biography. The paid version of USA for Kids provided many more opportunities for students to learn about states, cities, flags, history, and animals. Students particularly liked the History challenge and enjoying working with the timelines and learning about events in history. The fast paced games quickly engaged the students and they wanted to try all the parts of the app. The animal section was particularly engaging because it offered information as well as videos about the animals. Students were able to read and listen to the information being read to them and this feature supported all levels of learners and readers.
If you are going to use USA for Kids, the paid version is a must as the free version only allows students access to flags and presidents. It is a great tool for reinforcing students learning of basic content but it does not go into enough depth in many of the areas. I liked the section on states and liked that there were two level of challenges for students. For the easy challenge the states had names on them and then the students were challenged in the harder section with no labels on the states and they had to apply previously learned content and step up to a new test. Students are able to work independently and do not need require any teacher support for any of the sections. I would how students were given feedback if their answers were correct and extra time if they needed to correct their responses. All in all students enjoyed this app and their were enough parts and challenges that they would want to play the app again.