How I Use It
USA for Kids is an app that allows students to explore bits and pieces of American symbols, facts, history and geography. With the free version of this app, students can access several parts of the app – many of which are fun, yet educational for students. I really liked how the puzzles for the presidents worked. Students were able to put together a virtual puzzle of a particular president. Additionally, the app had audio that read text about the president for which they were putting together a puzzle. This worked well for younger elementary students as they could listen to facts and information about well-known presidents and did not need to read the text independently. They could also play the audio while putting together the puzzle, these two did not have to happen independent of one another. The other free option of the app that was engaging for students was the section on animals. In this portion of the app, a map of the USA opened up with different native animals overlaid geographically where they inhabit. When students clicked on specific animals, they were read facts about the animal and its specific habitat. There was also a link to a video for each specific animal, but when we were in the app the videos would not play. This app allowed limited experiences for students as the content, while interesting, was not too deep or did not engage students’ critical thinking.
I think that the USA for Kids app is a good starter for elementary students to dive into the basics of our presidents, flags, symbols, and geography. The animals portion of the app is probably the most educational for students to learn about animals native to the United States. However, this app is very surface level as students are not asked to critically engage in the material. Additionally, they received very little feedback on the activities where they were manipulating the information (for example, a red X when something is wrong, but no feedback on why it was incorrect). Overall, while I would use this as a basic introduction in the future, I think there are more engaging and in-depth, stimulating apps that teach students about American symbols, presidents and places that I would turn to for anything beyond surface level learning.