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These engaging social studies apps can help students absorb content while they have fun learning

social-studiesMath and science seem to get all the focus these days, but other core subject areas deserve just as much attention–and this includes social studies and history.

Student engagement may dwindle when they read about historical events or other cultures from a textbook, but giving them access to social studies apps can help stir their interest and make learning more engaging.

These apps, from geography, to U.S. history, to world civilizations, are just the starting point. What social studies apps do you use or recommend? Let us know in the comments section.

(Next page: Nine great social studies apps)[Editor’s note: Prices are current as of press time, and may fluctuate]

1. The Presidency, iPad, Free

The Presidency application is an educational reference for easy access to historical information regarding the 44 United States presidents. Designed as a reference for elementary and middle school students, the app reviews each president’s birth and death dates, political party, years in office, and actions and contributions while in office.
2. World History, Android, $4.20

This social studies app offers a chronological presentation of historical topics and events. Users can travel through the history of mankind, from the earliest civilizations to the present.
3. History Line, iPad, Free

History Line is a collaborative learning game for the iPad focusing on U.S. History. The game can be played by 1-6 players. As a single player game, a series of historical events are presented on the screen and the goal of the game is to place the events onto a timeline at the bottom of the screen in the correct sequence. When the event placed on the line is correct the date appears below.
4. Mayan Mysteries, iPad, Free

Solve puzzles, gather clues and solve the mystery to catch the thief in this social studies app. Users explore the ancient Maya culture in this hands-on archaeological adventure as they compete to reach a mythical city. The game features 8 real Maya sites, 25+ challenging puzzles, 200+ Maya topics for exploration, puzzles, and more.
5. United States Constitution, Android, Free

This social studies app includes a searchable U.S. Constitution and Articles of Confederation, biographies of all U.S. Constitution signers, and expanded document resources covering the Mayflower Compact, the Emancipation Proclamation, and others.
6. Stack the States, iPhone/iPad, Android, Free

Stack the States makes learning about the 50 states fun as players watch the states actually come to life. As users learn state capitals, shapes, geographic locations, flags and more, they can actually touch, move, and drop the animated states anywhere on the screen. Carefully build a stack of states that reaches the checkered line to win each level. Each state includes its capital, shape, abbreviations, bordering states, location on the map, nicknames, and flats.
7. Geography Drive USA, iPad, $2.99

Hit the gas and head out on the highway in this social studies game that turns textbook geography into a cross-country adventure. Users answer challenging questions to unlock the airports and fuel stations needed to win. Players learn about U.S. states, national rivers, parks, landmark sites, and key moments in U.S. history. The app also features 600 state and national geography questions.
8. Historypin, Android, Free

Discover windows into the past by seeing and interacting with the history all around you. The official Historypin app reveals photos near a user’s current location and allows them to view the photos layered over the modern scene in front of them. They can also explore collections of some of the best old photos from around the world, wherever they are. Users can add their own piece of history and pin it to the map, too, by using their phone to digitize an old photo, capture a modern moment of historic importance, or take a modern replica of a photo on the app.
9. Today’s Document, iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, Android, Free

Explore American history with 365 of the most fascinating documents and photos from the collections of the U.S. National Archives. Today’s Document is an interactive gallery that displays a significant historical document or photo for each day of the year. You can learn what happened on your birthday, search for a document by keyword, or just browse at your leisure. Featured documents have included popular documents like the Declaration of Independence and Emancipation Proclamation, as well as lesser known (but equally fascinating) documents like the Zimmerman Telegram, President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1961 Farewell address, and a handwritten draft of President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 Inaugural Address.

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