Miss M is in the middle of her first big memory work project right now — learning the names and locations of all 50 states in the USA. Our homeschool co-op does a geography challenge each year in May, and this is the challenge for students in second grade. Miss M wanted plenty of time to prepare, so we started this in January.
The starting point for Miss M’s memorization efforts has been “The Little Man in the Map” by E. Andrew Martonyi. Little Man in the Map gives readers memory clues in rhyme to remember the shape of each state. It’s really quite clever. The “little man” is made from the line of states from Minnesota down to Louisiana (Minnesota is the hat, Louisiana is the boot…can you see what the states in between might be?). The “little man” comes to life and provides other clues — such as Tennessee and North Carolina being a table, with the four states beneath as legs. So far this has been a really helpful method for Miss M to remember each state, and she has memorized more than half so far!
We’re reinforcing this learning with lots of fun games on the iPad and computer:
On the iPad, Miss M’s favorite app for state practice is Wood Puzzle. Wood Puzzle has a practice mode and a quiz mode and involves dragging states to the right spot on the map. It also has a mode for state Capitals.
We also have iTeachStates and TopoUSA. Iteachstates has a few different modes, including dragging the states to the correct position and a multiple choice quiz. TopoUSA involves helping a little plane fly to the correct state.
There are many other state geography games and learning apps available in the App Store. One I’ve heard several friends say they like is “Stack the States”. To be honest, I’ve been waiting to see if the full version would ever be available for free (I got the other state apps for free by downloading them on a day when they happened to be available with no charge). Perhaps some day soon if it doesn’t go on sale I’ll drop the 99 cents for it so Miss M can try it.
Our site of choice for practicing states on the computer is the USA Geography section of Shepherd Software, a site with many free educational games for kids. This site has practice games for learning states, capitals, and other geographical features such as lakes. Games are available at several levels of difficulty.
If you are looking to practice with traditional paper maps, check out the free printable maps for the USA (and the rest of the world) at Education Place.
Do you have any favorite resources for learning the US States?
I’m linking up with this week’s Tech Tuesday @ Sunflower Schoolhouse!