United States of America – A Montessori Approach to Geography App Review
Parents and teachers who use the Montessori approach to education will appreciate this approach to geography. Designed to match the physical Montessori geography materials, children can interact with the app in four different ways. What the app calls lessons are actually four different activities designed to help children build their knowledge of the states and their locations. While it helps to complete the lessons in order, children who already have a basic knowledge of the states may want to skip the first lesson and jump right in to the puzzles. Overall, it offers a solid way to help children learn the names of the states and where they fall on the map.
Four different activities
Support for non-readers
Fun facts about states
Visual, auditory, and spatial components
As kids play the puzzle games, they interact with colored states and hear a narrator announcing state names and providing other details. State-shaped puzzle pieces move smoothly to the correct place on the map. Children may have difficulty locating some of the puzzle pieces though. In order to fit the map and all 50 states on the screen, some of the pieces end up being pretty small and the screen ends up looking very crowded.
When played in order, the app provides children with a unique way to learn their shapes. First, they learn the names and locations of each state, along with a few fun details. Next, they learn to recognize the shape of each state. In the third game, children use their knowledge of the state shapes to pick out states by name. Finally, they use both the names and shapes of states to move them to the correct position on the map.
While this Montessori approach to geography may provide kids with a high-quality educational experience, it’s not highly entertaining. Three of the four games simply have kids move shaped puzzle pieces to the correct place on the map. The other activity, which introduces the states, has more of a textbook feel, complete with lengthy informational paragraphs.
Considering that three of the four games are very similar and much of the information contained in the app can be found elsewhere, parents and teachers may not appreciate the higher price-tag that accompanies this app.
Children will have a fairly easy time figuring out how to interact with the four different activities. For non-readers, the text-based activities allow kids to click on the words to hear them read aloud, making sure all kids can participate. Parents and teachers can find app-specific information and links contained in a special parents tab. To gain access, they must answer a simple addition problem. Unfortunately, children in first grade and above will likely be able to solve the problem too.