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1836 W. Grand Arbor Circle
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
United States

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Bringing Montessori to the iPhone and iPad.

Blog

Blog: Inside Montessorium

Explore the United States

Angie Leinen

Intro to States, now available in the app store, creates the opportunity for children to investigate, explore, and perhaps above all, follow their interests. 

In the spirit of exploration, we’ve put together a short list of ideas for parents and children to continue investigating the United States, no matter if you’re in the heart of New York City or on the back trails of Yosemite National Park! 

  1. Play a simple sound game! Which states begin with the sound “m”? Can you name an animal that begins with the sound “p”?
  2. Every time you come across a state quarter, take a closer look. Can you identify the state and the image? Why do you think that particular image was selected for that state? Can you think of any other landmarks for that state?
  3. A road atlas is a great resource to explore distances between places! For example, from South Dakota, which state is closer, Nebraska or Oklahoma? How could we get there?
  4. Your local library will have an abundance of resources about  your state, ranging from topographic maps to guides about the local wildlife.Can you ask your librarian for a book about your state or region?
  5. The United States contains amazing geographical landmarks! Investigate major landmarks such as the Grand Canyon, the Appalachian Mountains, or the Great Lakes. Where are they located? How far away is the landmark from you?
  6. Are you a seasoned traveler? If so, brainstorm all the places you’ve been in the United States! If you’re an aspiring globetrotter, create a list of the places you’d like to see.
  7. Can you name the states that border on the Pacific Ocean? Which states are near the Gulf of Mexico? Are any states entirely surrounded by water?
  8. Every state is unique and special in some way. Put together a list of places that make your state awesome, and try to visit each and every one! Mount Rushmore? Check!
  9. The United States has all types of weather. Can you think of states that have a lot of snow in wintertime? What about states that are more tropical? Which states do you think have all four seasons?
  10. Have you ever wondered why the states are all different shapes? Do a research project about your state’s shape. How did it get that way? Has it every changed? Next, can you find any other states that have the same shape as your state?

Pinch to Zoom

Bobby George

One of the primary design challenges with Intro to United States, which is now available for iPhone and iPad, was how to accommodate the entire fifty states, with limited real estate. Our developers, who are absolute wizards when it comes to knowing how to overcome obstacles, innovated a rather unique approach.

When the user views the map, and is prompted to place the state in its corresponding spot, you can actually pinch to zoom the entire map, to get just a little bit closer, so as to drag and drop. Not only does this help with the functionality, it also allows the user an opportunity to dive a bit deeper, further developing a spatial awareness of the surrounding states. 

Tricky Rhode Island? No longer a problem. Zoom in, drag over, drop it right into place.

Trying it out

Angie Leinen

One of the great joys of creating educational apps is actually watching children use them for the first time. All the agonizing over details, the late nights thinking about which sound effects to utilize, somehow fades away in that first moment of watching a child immerse themselves in the experience. 

We were able to witness this when we asked our friend E. if he'd like to test Intro to United States for us. His answer was enthusiastically, "Of course!". We'd like to share a few of the finer moments of his first session with the app, during which, without prompting, he completed it from start to finish. 

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He began with a sense of expectation. You see, he's tried our apps out in the past, and might of had a sense of what was to come. He navigated his way through the first series of activities with ease. 

Before long, he was completely absorbed. "Look at this stamp! It's green!", he would exclaim, "I can't wait to see what color the next one is." At that moment, we knew we had accomplished one of our goals: Giving children the opportunity to follow their interests and discover their independence. 

The moment E. collected all of his stamps, he broke out in a spontaneous handclap. "I did it!" he said. Yes, we concurred, "You did it."