A couple of months ago I gave a presentation on Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for my local Parent Training Center. All of the Staff for this organization are parents of children with special needs. When I arrived early to set up I was met by a staff member and her son who has autism. As I was setting up I couldn’t help noticing the staff member’s son writing on the blackboard. In about ten minutes he had written down the names of all of the United States Presidents in order. I stopped what I was doing and walked over to his Mom and asked if he was learning about the Presidents in School. I don’t know about you but I can’t remember most of the Presidents names let alone their order. I know all of the early Presidents, the ones that led during specific events in U.S. History and all of the Presidents during my lifetime but the rest I have forgotten. To my amazement she said her son had learned all of the U.S. Presidents from an iPad app. She went on to explain that this was the third app her son had played from this particular developer. The first app had taught him all about the States in America, the second had taught him about all of the Countries in each Continent and this latest app the Presidents. I was hooked, who is this developer and what are the names of the apps.
Turns out the Developer’s name is Dan Russell-Pinson and he even had a fourth app that taught Math. According to Dan’s website he is, “the President of Freecloud Design, Inc. and the creator of several top 10 educational apps including Stack the States, Stack the Countries, Rocket Math and President vs. Aliens.” Now that I had the names of the apps I had to download them to my son’s iPad and try them out. The four apps were:1. Stack the States; 2. Stack the Countries; 3. Rocket Math; and 4. President vs. Aliens
Each app was fun, addicting and educational. I only put educational last because your children will not know or care that they are learning. All your child will care about is that they are having fun and can’t stop playing. My son loves these apps and they are the ones he comes back to over and over again.
Stack the States
In Stack the States you answer questions about the States and if you get that question correct you are given that State. Questions include things like, “Which state shares a border with Kentucky?” You are given four States to choose from which include a picture of the State and the text of the name of the State.
Once you are given the State you are then allowed to drop that State anywhere on the base. The goal is to stack the states on to the base high enough to cross the finish line. This has been great for my son educational but all visually. He has struggled with stacking the States so that they don’t fall over and it has helped him spatially understand the right way to place them. He actually finds it funny when the States fall and he laughs hysterically but ultimately he figures it out and stacks them high enough to cross the finish line. Once you cross the finish line if you have gotten more than 60% of the questions correct you win a State to be placed in your map.
Stack the Countries
Stack the Countries works similarly to Stack the States. You answer questions about Countries and if you get that question correct you are given that Country. Questions include things like, “Saint John’s is the capital of which country?” You are given four Countries to choose from which include a picture of the Country and the text of the name of the Country.
Once you are given the Country you are then allowed to drop that Country anywhere on the base. The goal is the same as stack the states. Once you stack the Countries high enough to cross the finish line if you have gotten more than 60% of the questions correct you win a Country to be placed in your map.
Presidents vs. Aliens
In Presidents vs. Aliens you answer questions about the Presidents and if you get that question correct you are given that President. Questions include things like, “Who was president during the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba?” You are given four Presidents to choose from which include a picture of the President and the text of the name of the President.
Once you are given the President you tap and drag the president to fling him at the aliens. You can even tilt the iPad to control where the President flies after you fling him. The goal is to knock down all of the aliens. This is another app that is not only educational but helps with fine motor and visual spatial issues. Once you knock down all of the aliens from the sky if you have gotten more than 60% of the questions correct you win the President.
In Rocket Math you start out by answering math questions to earn money. You can choose between four equations types, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. You also can choose the difficulty level, easy, medium or hard.
You then use the money you earn to build a rocket. Here you use your fine motor skills to purchase and build your rocket. Once you are finished building the rocket you can go on a mission. There are eight mission categories to choose from each teaching a different math skill. Once again you can choose the difficulty of the mission.
Once you choose the mission you launch your rocket into space. Once in space you need to complete the mission such as touching all of the even or odd numbers. This teaches math and also helps with fine motor skills.
There are many different types of rockets to build and missions to accomplish so you child will have hours of fun and learn math all at the same time.
If you have a child all four of these apps should be added to your iPad. I can't wait to see what Dan comes up with next.