Category Archives: Social Studies


Screen Shot 2013-04-15 at 9.01.44 PMSince my students played ‘The Stock Market Game‘ this year, I had the need for a kid-friendly stocks app.  (Unlike the iPhone, the iPad does not ship with a native stocks app.)  As you can see on the icon, this particular one was developed by Yahoo.  My students enjoy using this app on their iPads while making transactions on their laptops.

The app is divided into 3 sections, all appearing simultaneously: My Watch List, detailed information about a Specified Stock, and Stock News.

My Watch List – The name is self-explanatory.  Search by company or symbol to add stocks to watch.  They are saved and will be there the next time you open the app.

Specified Stock – After tapping a stock in your My Watch List or by searching for a company or symbol at the top of the screen, detailed information appears.  You can see its current price, change (in percent and in monetary amount), its opening and previous close prices, overall high and low, 52 week high and low, volume and average volume, dividend and yield, and more.  An adjacent section also displays charts ranging from 1 day to 5 years.  Tapping this section expands it to fill the entire screen.

News – Scroll through a selection of stock market-related news stories.  Tapping each one opens it in a separate screen that fills the iPad.

My early elementary students (third grade) were able to peruse this app to watch stocks.  I think it contained perhaps too much information for them, but they were able to obtain the information they needed without being too distracted by what they did not need.

Posted in 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, 9th - 12th, Free, iPad, Social Studies | Comments Off on MarketDash


Screen Shot 2013-03-27 at 8.12.34 AMOther options may exist, but I think the process of editing video footage into a ‘movie’ is quite simple using this app.  This is especially true if you’re already familiar with the computer software version of iMovie.  Make a note that more editing features and tools are made available when the device is in landscape (rather than portrait) mode.

When you begin a new project, you’ll have to decide if you want to create a new ‘movie’ or a new trailer.  Think of a trailer as a preview to an upcoming movie you may see at a theatre.  You can choose between the following trailer genres: Adrenaline, Bollywood, Coming of Age, Expedition, Fairy Tale, Narrative, Retro, Romance, Scary, Superhero, Swashbuckler and Teen.

iMovie will prove to be quite intuitive for most users.  In true Apple style, many onscreen tips and prompts can be accessed with a simple tap of the question mark towards the top of the screen.  It’s easy to import video clips, pictures, and audio files that are already on your mobile device.  But you can also record audio or additional take pictures and videos from directly in the app.  In addition to songs and other audio files you may already have, the app comes with an assortment of theme music and sound effects.  The processes of trimming, splitting, and deleting clips are also quite simple.

An array of options exist to complement your ‘movie’.  For example, you can select from one of eight themes: Modern, Bright, Playful, Neon, Travel, Simple, News, or CNN iReport.  Theme music can also be turned on or off.  Continue to customize your ‘movie’ by adding transitions and adjusting the audio.

A built-in ‘Help’ section extensively covers the following topics: Create a project; Create a trailer; Share projects, trailers, and media; and Use AirPlay to stream videos to your HDTV.

Once you’re satisfied with your new ‘movie’, you can share it to the camera roll, YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, or CNN iReport.  You can also send it to iTunes.

Posted in 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, 9th - 12th, Fine Arts, Foreign Language, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Language Arts, Math, Paid, Science, Social Studies | Comments Off on iMovie

Explain Everything

Screen Shot 2013-03-25 at 8.39.26 PMThe name says it all – Explain Everything.  This app is used for screencasting (screen recording).  It’s similar to recordable interactive whiteboard apps such as Show Me and Screen Chomp.  However, it’s much more complex.  I think it’s more like a recordable version of PowerPoint or KeyNote.  I actually think it’s more appropriate for teachers to use rather than students.  I can see this primarily being used by teachers for tasks such as recording instructional movies.  Although students could easily import existing PowerPoint/KeyNote presentations and turn them up a notch using this app.

Explain Everything is extremely robust – which perfectly justifies its price point.  Start with a blank slate or import almost any type of existing file.  I appreciate that you do not need to create an account; this makes it easier if you do decide to use this app with students.

If you get this app, or are even interested in reading more about it, download the FREE eBook from the iBookstore!  It’s jam-packed with tutorials, videos, and full explanations of the app’s tools.

Posted in 6th - 8th, 9th - 12th, Fine Arts, iPad, Language Arts, Learning Apps, Math, Paid, Science, Social Studies | Comments Off on Explain Everything

PBS Kids Video

This app brings your child’s or students’ favorite PBS Kids shows to your mobile device!  Hundreds of clips and full episodes are available for instant viewing.  New clips and episodes are added on a regular basis.  The app is very user-friendly (for both kids and adults).

Be sure to explore the features of the ‘Parents’ section towards the bottom left corner to:

  • See when the show comes on TV
  • Share the clip or episode via email, Facebook or Twitter
  • Read each show’s synopsis, recommended age range, educational goals, and sponsor(s)
  • Purchase the clip or episode
  • Link to additional PBS Kids apps

Perhaps the app functions better over a 3G connection.  But on wifi, the clips and episodes I watched frequently froze; sometimes the audio kept playing, but the screen went completely black.  I do appreciate the ability to pause the video.

Included shows:

  • The Cat in the Hat
  • Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
  • Curious George
  • Super Why?
  • Dinosaur Train
  • The Electric Company
  • Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman
  • Fizzy’s Lunch Lab
  • Wild Kratts
  • Oh Noah!
  • Martha Speaks
  • Wilson & Ditch Digging America
  • Sesame Street
  • Word Girl
  • Sid the Science Kid
  • Chuck Vanderchuck
  • Arthur
Posted in 1st - 2nd, Free, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Language Arts, Math, PreK - Kindergarten, Science, Social Studies | Comments Off on PBS Kids Video

The Oregon Trail: American Settler

What do you do when your child completes the journey found in the original Oregon Trail app?  Well, you obtain this free sequel!  No worries though, a tutorial is included for those that have yet to conquer the original Oregon Trail app.

The familiar family has settled on their new land on the wild frontier.  Students continue to go through the processes of harvesting crops and working on the farm.  Task completion earns money, lumber and other benefits, but each also spends precious energy.  The possibility of coming across medical ailments – such as dysentery (or Montezuma’s Revenge – yuck!) – still exists in this version!  Steer clear of the option for users to send their friends telegrams – it links to outside sites such as Facebook.

Unfortunately, this app will never be known for its educational value, despite the occasional encounters with various historical figures.  But, it is a great choice to have on mobile devices that children will have access to.  They can literally spend hours creating and personalizing their own frontier villages.  Creative minds and those with long attention spans will certainly find this to be one of their favorite apps.

Posted in 3rd - 5th, Free, Game, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Learning Apps, Social Studies | Comments Off on The Oregon Trail: American Settler

BrainPOP Featured Movie

The home page of this app features one movie each day.  The subject matter and targeted grade level varies.  After viewing the video, users are able to take the accompanying quiz.  The app also always has the option for users to view a short movie about BrainPOP.  Students who have previously viewed any of the videos from the subscription-based BrainPOP suite will find this app to be quite familiar.

The app also contains approximately two dozen additional movies/quizzes in the areas of science, Social Studies, English, math, arts & music, health, and tech & engineering.

Users that have paid for a subscription to the web-based BrainPOP services are now able to use their same login and have full access to all videos!

Posted in 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, 9th - 12th, Fine Arts, Foreign Language, Free, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies | Comments Off on BrainPOP Featured Movie

World Book – This Day in History

This simple app from World Book lists 3 – 4 historical events that happened each day of the year.  There’s an option to look at events that happened today or you can use the built-in calendar to select any other day throughout the year.

Each event also has 1 – 2 terms that are linked to additional information.  For example, an entry for May 15th states, “Pierre Curie, co-discoverer of radium, was born in 1859.  But both ‘Pierre Curie’ and ‘radium’ are typed in a different color and underlined.  When the user clicks on either term, a paragraph appears – providing the user with additional information.

At this price point (free!) there’s no reason why this app should not be included on your iPad(s).

Posted in 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, 9th - 12th, Free, iPad, Social Studies | Comments Off on World Book – This Day in History

World Atlas

National Geographic has produced this stunning world atlas.  Students can choose to view four different versions of maps for countries around the world: Executive, Classic, Satellite, or Road.

A research component is also included.  Students can read information about countries and see each flag.

With an active Internet connection, maps can also be downloaded.

This app serves as an adequate replacement (or enhancement) to traditional print world atlases located in schools.

Posted in 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, 9th - 12th, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Paid, Social Studies | Comments Off on World Atlas


Wow!  It’s hard to believe this app is free!  An animated ad runs across the bottom of the screen, though.

The entire United States Constitution is included.  A separate section is included for the Preamble, each Article, and each Amendment.  Each section is comprised of the full text plus an additional page of explanatory notes.  The app also features a full biography of each signer of the document and a painting of all the signers.

This app should definitely be on every iPad in our schools today!

Posted in 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, 9th - 12th, Free, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Social Studies | Comments Off on Constitution

Stack the States

This is one of those apps that perfectly combines learning and fun!

After correctly answering questions about states in our country, an outline of a shape is dropped.  Students have to manipulate the shape as it drops, causing them to stack and eventually crossing a checkered line.

The educational value of this app is impressive.  It’s a ‘Must Have’ for those of you who must cover basic information about the states such as names, nicknames, shapes, abbreviations, and capitals.  But as a bonus, students also learn a little about physics as they carefully choose how to stack the states.

The animation and background pictures are stunning too!

Posted in 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, 9th - 12th, Free, iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone, Paid, Social Studies | Comments Off on Stack the States