States and Capitals – Geography Study Unit

The States and Capitals Geography Study Unit was inspired after talking to a fifth grader and quizzing him on naming the capital of various states. Actually an early version of this app was designed and developed many years ago, but now with the beautiful screens available on modern iPads it much more appealing. The touch interface of the iPad is particularly suited to questions like ‘Locate the capital of Wisconsin.’

Students who are learning U.S. geography will find the quiz feature helpful. After pressing the question mark to start the quiz a state is randomly selected from the list of 50 states. The question is presented as a multiple choice to choose the capital of the given state. The score is reported and errors are corrected.

Information presented while using the app:

  • Name
  • Capital
  • Postal Abbreviation
  • Highest Point
  • Time Zone
  • Date Admitted to the Union
  • Area in Square Miles and Square Kilometers
  • Population 
  • Number of Electoral Votes.

Maps presented in the app:

  • Black Line
  • Color Map Showing States
  • Land Elevations
  • Time Zones
  • Geographical Regions 

I also developed similar apps to help kids learn about European Countries and Capitals, African Countries and Capitals, and Asian Countries and Capitals.

These apps are available with a volume discount for educational institutions. Each app can be purchased worldwide exclusively through the AppleApp Store.  Our apps are also available through Apple’s volume purchase program. Schools get a significant discount when purchasing multiple copies of any of these apps. Contact Apple Education for more information about the volume purchase program.  Please visit Ventura Educational Systems’ website for more information about this and other iOS and tvOS apps for education.

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Sign Language, Morse Code and Nautical Signal Flags – 3 Toolkits for Building Communication Skills in a Fun Way

I designed this app to be visually appealing and hope that it will introduce sign language in a fun and exciting way. The app presents all the letters of the English alphabet as well as the numbers from zero to twenty.The Sign Language Toolkit is an interactive learning tool and provides a way to get started using sign language. In the exploration mode users can press any key and see the how to sign the associated letter. Using the keyboard students can see how to sign spell any word. Switch to the number mode to learn how to sign numbers from zero to twenty.

Students who are learning sign language will find the quiz feature helpful. After pressing the question mark to start the quiz a word is randomly selected from the word list. The way to spell the word in sign language is shown. The object is for the student to recognize the gestures for the letters in the word and to type them on the keyboard.

Speech effects are provided so that when a letter is pressed on the keyboard it is pronounced aloud. This feature can optionally be turned on or off. 

Special features make using the Sign Language Toolkit app fun:

1. Express yourself with this fun to use app.
2. Learn to communicate using sign language.
3. Practice spelling words with sign language.
4. Speech and sound effects. 
5. Available for iPad iOS and Apple TV.

After designing the Sign Language Toolkit I wanted to explore other methods that are used for communicating. I decided to build an app to introduce the Morse Code. The app presents all the letters of the English alphabet as well as the numbers from zero to ten. Learning to use the Morse Code is an fun way to send secret messages to your friends. It is also a way for teachers to introduce the history of how electricity was first used to send messages. Learning about the Morse Code is important because it encourages them to experiment and gives them confidence to be creative. It also provides a historical perspective on a communication that was an important that helped in the expansion and settlement of the western parts of the United States.

The Morse Code Toolkit is an interactive learning tool for introducing the signalling system used in the middle part of the 19th century. Invented by Samuel Morse, the coding system is made up of sequences of dots and dashes. It is still used today by ham radio operators and others. When using the app In the exploration mode users can press any key and see the how to represent the associated letter in dots and dashes. Using the keyboard students can see how to spell a word using Morse Code. Switch to the number mode to learn how to represent numbers from zero to ten. Press any key in this mode and see how to represent the number using a series of dots and dashes.

Students who are learning Morse Code will find the quiz feature helpful. After pressing the question mark to start the quiz a word is randomly selected from the word list. The way to spell the word using Morse Code is shown. The object is for the student to recognize the dots and dashes for the letters in the word and to type them on the keyboard.

Speech effects are provided so that when a letter is pressed on the keyboard it is pronounced aloud and also played as an audible series of dots and dashes. This feature can optionally be turned on or off.

One very colorful way to communicate is to use Nautical Signal Code Flags. With Nautical Signal Code Flags messages are sent by linking together colorful flags. The app presents all the letters of the English alphabet as well as the numbers from zero to ten.

The Nautical Signal Code Flags Toolkit is an interactive learning tool for introducing the way that flags are used on ships and boats to send information. In the exploration mode users can press any key and see the flag that is associated with selected letter. Using the keyboard students can see how to spell a word using signal flags. Switch to the number mode to learn how to signal numbers from zero to ten. Press any key in this mode and see how to signal the number.

Students who are learning how to read nautical signal code flags will find the quiz feature helpful. After pressing the question mark to start the quiz, a word is randomly selected from a specific word list. The way to spell the word using signal flags is shown. The object is for the student to recognize a flag for a letter in a word and to type the corresponding letter on the keyboard.

As in the other apps, speech effects are provided so that when a letter is pressed on the keyboard it is pronounced aloud. This feature can optionally be turned on or off. 

These apps are available with a volume discount for educational institutions. Each app can be purchased worldwide exclusively through the AppleApp Store.  Our apps are also available through Apple’s volume purchase program. Schools get a significant discount when purchasing multiple copies of any of these apps. Contact Apple Education for more information about the volume purchase program.  Please visit Ventura Educational Systems’ website for more information about this and other iOS and tvOS apps for education.

Women in Science

Historically the role that women have played in scientific discoveries has often been undervalued and under appreciated. I recently developed three apps that celebrate the contributions of three women who deserve to be recognized and giants of science: Chein-Shiung Wu, Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin and Rosalind Franklin.

Chien-Shiung Wu was born near Shanghai, China. The new century had just begun, and in 1900, women did not have great educational opportunities, especially in science. Chien-Shiung Wu’s father was an educator and he founded a school. He believed that Chien-Shiung and her brothers should have the opportunity to get an education. She was the middle child. She did very well in school and her brilliance was recognized early in her academic career. Fortunately Wu was able to escape the social, political and economic upheavals that China experienced in the early 20th Century. She was able to travel to the United States and to enroll at the University of California at Berkeley in 1936. UC Berkeley was one of the top schools doing research in nuclear physics.

During the early part of theTwentieth Century, scientific disciplines were not readily open to women as a field of study. There were many challenges and roadblocks that made it overly difficult for women to get a science education. But eventually Chien-Shiung Wu became a full professor at Columbia University where she served as an inspiration to other students, especially women. In her lifetime, Chien-Shiung Wu made several important scientific breakthroughs. She also made many social breakthroughs for women.

Students will enjoy using this graphically illustrated, interactive learning tool. The timeline feature presents key events in the development of our modern understanding of the structure and composition of the atom. By tapping on timeline points brings up descriptions of historically significant events and the role the Chien-Shiung Wu played. A quiz function helps students demonstrate their comprehension of the reading material. Key science concepts are shown in colorful illustrations. We hope this app will inspire students to study science. The app shows that Chien-Shiung Wu certainly deserves the place she has earned in the history of science.

Another woman who deserves recognition is Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin.

Dorothy Crowfoot was born in Cairo, Egypt. Her father was a British archaeologist and her mother was a botanist who studied natural history. Dorothy developed a keen interest in science. Traveling to archaeological digs with her farther brought Dorothy to places where she was exposed to a great deal of Islam art. Her father worked primarily in North Africa and as archaeologist ancient art. Later at Oxford University she began to work with X-ray crystallography in studying sterols. The prestigious Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin in 1964 for her use of X-ray crystallography to discover the structures of important biochemical substances, such as B12, insulin and penicillin.

In 1944 it was discovered that the DNA molecule found in the nucleus of cells is the mechanism for heredity. It is through DNA that organisms pass on certain biological traits to the next generations. Scientists needed to understand the structure of DNA in order to better explain how it functioned. Rosalind Franklin used x-ray crystallography to create a photograph that led to an understanding of the structure of DNA.

These apps are available with a volume discount for educational institutions. Each app can be purchased worldwide exclusively through the AppleApp Store.  Our apps are also available through Apple’s volume purchase program. Schools get a significant discount when purchasing multiple copies of any of these apps. Contact Apple Education for more information about the volume purchase program.  Please visit Ventura Educational Systems’ website for more information about this and other iOS and tvOS apps for education.

Short-Term Memory Workout

Give your brain a memory workout using this fun app. Short-term Memory Workout is designed provide activities to help improve short-term memory capabilities.

Daily training activities will help improve memory capabilities. The Short-term Pattern Recall activity provides a workout for your ability to remember patterns that you see and hear. Choose the dice icon to generate a random pattern. Pay close attention while the pattern is shown. After seeing the pattern you will be asked to repeat the pattern by tapping the circular buttons on the hexagon. 

The Shape and Location Sensory Recall activity focuses on the sensory recall aspect of memory. Use this activity to provide a workout that involves remember the shape and position of randomly placed on a 3×3 grid. Choose the dice icon to generate a random set of shapes placed at random locations on a 3×3 grid. After the shapes disappear, you are challenged to drag shapes from below the grid to show where the shapes were on the grid. 

Challenge yourself to see how high of a score you can get on the Short-term Memory Workout activities. The scoreboard feature automatically keeps track of your scores. 

Short-Term Memory Workout is available with a volume discount for educational institutions. This app can be purchased worldwide exclusively through the AppleApp Store.  The apps are also available through Apple’s volume purchase program. Schools get a significant discount when purchasing multiple copies of any of these apps. Contact Apple Education for more information about the volume purchase program.  Please visit Ventura Educational Systems’ website for more information about this and other iOS and tvOS apps for education.

Owl Memory Match

I have had a lot of fun over the summer playing Owl Memory Match with the kids in the family over Zoom. I created a new version of the game which is now available at the Apple App Store. The new version has labels on the columns and rows so that the player’s targeted squares can be referenced using a letter and number.

Owl Memory Match is available with a volume discount for educational institutions. This app can be purchased worldwide exclusively through the Apple App Store.  The apps are also available through Apple’s volume purchase program. Schools get a significant discount when purchasing multiple copies of any of these apps. Contact Apple Education for more information about the volume purchase program.  Please visit Ventura Educational Systems’ website for more information about this and other iOS and tvOS apps for education.

Virtual Learning Amid School Closures for Corona Virus (COVID-19)

Experienced educators who are familiar with the challenges associated with responding to national emergencies know that school closures can affect children’s academic progress, safety and social lives.  Parents and teachers are now faced with extended school closures due to the threat of the corona virus (COVID-19).

According experts at this time more than 30,000 schools in the U.S. are being closed and this leaves more than 20 million students being asked to shift to online learning activities to keep their academic progress on target. Currently entire states have shutdown schools and some of the nation’s largest school districts have recently announced closures.

Ventura Educational Systems is offering five free apps to help elementary students to keep up their math skills:

Addition Puzzles

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Addition Puzzles is an exciting, interactive math game to help kids practice addition skills. Use logic to select the numbers that will solve the puzzle. Puzzles are randomly generated so the app offers an almost infinite number of puzzles at six different levels. Puzzles can be selected that involve just whole numbers from 0 to 20 or integers from -10 to 10.

Math Spin-o-Rama

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Use Math Spin-o-Rama to help your students practice and improve math skills.

Math Spin-O-Rama provides practice with two and three place addition with a new twist. The numbers in the problem are in the wrong place and must be rotated to be in the right place to fit the answer.

The app has four levels and includes practice in doing both two-place and three place addition. Math Spin-O-Rama makes learning fun. As students answer correctly they earn gold stars. Once they have earn five gold stars they get a chance to spin the wheel to earn a prize. The prizes are collected in a table.

Make learning fun with Math Spin-O-Rama.

Addition Blockmania

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Help Kids Learn Addition Facts and Improve Basic Math Skills!

Use Addition Blockmania to help your students practice and improve math skills.  This game challenges students to think quickly and be accurate. The object is to find a set of blocks in the stacks whose sum is equal to the given number.

The app offers four levels of activity. Larger numbers are used at the higher levels. Animation, sound effects and speech help to make this curriculum-based math activity exciting for young mathematicians. Elementary school teachers and parents with young students will find that kids enjoy practicing math skills when they are given this app to use.

On Target Math Skills

Help Kids Practice Arithmetic Skills and Problem Solving Abilities with On Target Math Skills.

The On Target Math Skills app generates an almost infinite number of puzzles where the challeng is to make a specific number given four other numbers. Students can use any of the four basic arithmetic operations, addition, subtraction, multiplication or division to try to solve the puzzle. In coming up with a solution, students will need to use the problem order of operations.

The app challenges the player to find 10 solutions in order to earn a trophy. The app offers 5 different levels of difficulty. The On Target Math Skills app is designed to be a quick math exercise that teachers can use to provide a quick basic arithmetic and problem solving activity.

Interactive Multiplication Chart

Help Kids Learn Multiplication Facts and Improve Basic Math Skills!

The Interactive Multiplication Chart app uses a grid to help students see the patterns in the addition table.

This app challenges the player to find an intersection on a grid where the product of the two multipliers fits the randomly selected problem description. Complete the activities by finding 10 correct answers. The Interactive Multiplication Chart app is designed to be a quick math exercise that teachers can use to provide practice with basic multiplication facts.

In addition to the free apps listed above Ventura Educational Systems offers a huge library of inexpensive apps focus on math, science and reading development. Our most recent releases are Hundreds Chart Deluxe, Math Connections I and II, and Phonics Connections.

Please visit our website for more information.

Phonics Connections

Get your kids on the right track for reading with Phonics Connections. The app contains motivating word games where the goal is to match vowel sounds to blanks in a word that describes a picture. This app is for beginning readers. Each of the activities feature color pictures illustrating words with short vowels, long vowels, special sounds like ar, or, er, ir and ur. In addition some of the words in the activities use the ou, ow, au, aw, and oo vowel sounds.
The app is designed to help students learn to read with ease and confidence. A connection from the vowel sound to the picture and word can be made using a finger, pointer, or Apple Pencil. Once the correct connection is made the word is pronounced and spelled using synthetic speech.

The app stores a record of the student’s progress as they continually try to improve their score. Speech and sound effects make using the app even more fun. Click the dice icon to get a randomly generated design and starting point for creative exploration. Hours of fun!

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To use the app and make a phonics connection students drag with the finger from one of the items on the left to the matching item on the right.  The app also works with Apple Pencil.  After each correct answer an animated gold star appears on the screen. Every time an activity is completed a trophy is displayed.  The scoreboard keeps a record of how many correct answers were given within each topic.

This app can be used on iPads, iPhones and Apple TV.

Phonics Connections is available with a volume discount for educational institutions. This app can be purchased worldwide exclusively through the Apple App Store.  The apps are also available through Apple’s volume purchase program. Schools get a significant discount when purchasing multiple copies of any of these apps. Contact Apple Education for more information about the volume purchase program.  Please visit Ventura Educational Systems’ website for more information about this and other iOS and tvOS apps for education.

Math Connections Set 1 and 2

Math Connections Set 1 and 2

When I was teaching math it seemed like you could never have enough worksheets for kids to do.  To me it was very helpful to have practice problems that were fun for the kids to complete.  Math worksheets that combined solving math problems with getting the punchline of a corny joke or riddle were always a hit with my students.

In Math Connections Set 1 I created an app that provides an endless supply of math practice sheets.  The app is designed to look like a spiral ring notebook sitting on a table.

Problems numbered from 1 to 10 are presented on the left and answers are shown on the right.  Each answer is associated with a letter.  At the bottom of the page there is a riddle or joke.  The punchline is hidden by numbers but as the student solves the math problems, the punchline is revealed.

Math Connections Set 1 is designed for elementary age students.  The types of problems generated by the app are in these categories:

• Addition of Positive Integers (0-12)
• Addition of Positive Integers (10-100)
• Subtraction of Positive Integers (10-100)
• Multiplication Facts (0-12)
• Powers of Two
• Square Root
There are over 100 jokes or riddles in Math Connections Set 1
In Math Connections Set 2 a different set of jokes and riddles are used.  Set 2 has problems that are appropriate for Middle School and High School level students.  In both Set 1 or Set 2 the level can be selected by tapping an icon on the scoreboard. In Set 2 the problems are in these categories:

• Variables and Expressions
• Variable Expressions with Powers
• Operations with Integers (+/-)
• Simplifying Expressions
• Powers of Two with Variables
• Square Root with Variables

Math Connections Set 1 and Set 2 are available with a volume discount for educational institutions. These apps can be purchased worldwide exclusively through the Apple App Store.  The apps are also available through Apple’s volume purchase program. Schools get a significant discount when purchasing multiple copies of any of these apps. Contact Apple Education for more information about the volume purchase program.  Please visit Ventura Educational Systems’ website for more information about this and other iOS and tvOS apps for education.

Algebra Portal AR

Algebra Portal AR

Apple’s new ARKit has opened the door to new kinds of app experiences.  My new app, Algebra Portal AR, creates virtual rooms filled with information about important terms and key concepts related to the Algebra I curriculum.  What is really exciting about the Algebra Portal is students stand up, walk around and experience a totally immersive environment that is filled with illustrated examples that are used to explain some of the fundamental ideas of algebra.

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The floor Algebra Portal is a standard Cartesian plane with the x and y axes labelled.  Teachers could develop lesson experiences that involve students walking into the portal and then moving to a specific (xy) position to learn about a particular topic from the algebra curriculum.

When a wall inside the Algebra Portal is tapped a menu of terms is displayed.  If a term is selected detailed information about the topic is displayed with examples.algebra_portal_4

Students and teachers will be amazed when they create virtual rooms filled with information about key terms and concepts from the middle school and high school algebra curriculum.

Explore algebra in a new way with the Algebra Portal AR. Use the camera view on your iPad to detect a flat surface and then tap the screen. Instantly a portal opens to a world filled with information about the terms and concepts that are part of the algebra curriculum.

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In an nutshell, to use the app, students walk around in the augmented reality algebra portal where they can tap on the walls and other objects in the rooms to get more information and to hear Siri read aloud information about the selected item. Students can scroll through an extensive list of terms related to the information on the walls of the rooms, walls and objects in the portal.

Algebra Portal AR creates virtual rooms that are approximately 4 meters by 7 meters. It is best used in a well-lit open space, perhaps in a school’s auditorium or multi-purpose room. If the Algebra Portal sounds interesting to you, you might also like the Geometry Portal AR.

Algebra Portal AR is available with a volume discount for educational institutions. Algebra Portal AR can be purchased worldwide exclusively through the Apple App Store.  It also available through Apple’s volume purchase program. Schools get a significant discount when purchasing multiple copies of Algebra Portal AR. Contact Apple Education for more information about the volume purchase program.  Please visit Ventura Educational Systems’ website for more information about this and other iOS and tvOS apps for education.

 

Interactive Life Cycles Explorer

I am fortunate to live on the Central Coast of California.  Every year we get to marvel at the amazing migration of the monarch butterfly.  These amazing creatures flock to eucalyptus groves in Pacific Grove, Pismo Beach and Nipomo.  Migration up and down North America is a part of their life cycle.  Even more amazing is the process of metamorphosis.  A satiated caterpillar forms a chrysalis, the organism’s cells complete disintegrate, and then reemerges as a beautiful monarch butterfly.

Interactive Life Cycles Explorer provides information about the life cycle of the monarch butterfly and five other representative animals.  Students learn the characteristics of each stage.  After studying the information about the insect’s life cycle, the student can demonstrate the knowledge of the content by taking a quiz or playing a word game.

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Amphibians are amazing creatures.  They are able to live on land but spend at least part of their life cycle living in water.  Interactive Life Cycles Explorer provides detailed information about a typical frog’s life cycle.  Click on the amphibian’s icon leads the student into more detailed information.  Most of the content is illustrated with colorful graphics and the interface is designed to be like an information machine.  Sound effects are also used to add to the excitement.

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Fish are an major food source for human beings, so understanding their life cycle is important topic.  This app explains a representative fish’s reproduction cycle.  Students using the app learn that fish, like many other animals, require that eggs produced by the female need to be fertilized by the male in order to develop into fish.  The will read about how in fish, usually the female produces a very large number of eggs, but most eggs do not survive to maturity.  There are many threats to fish eggs.  Changes in water temperature can stop development.  Fluctuations in oxygen levels in the water can also harm developing eggs.  Some eggs are eaten by predators or die because of a disease.

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Like fish, the poultry industry is a major source of food for humans beings.  Information about the typical life cycle of birds is explained use a typical chicken’s life cycle.

topic5For mammals, the app uses a mouse.  Mice are widely used in scientific research to study the effects of drugs, chemicals and environmental conditions, in order to better understand how these effects might affect humans.

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Details about a mouse’s reproductive cycle is illustrated and labeled.  As students tap buttons they move deeper into the information and when they have finished going through the information, they can assess their mastery of information by taking a quiz or playing a word game.

Interactive Life Cycles Explorer is available with a volume discount for educational institutions. The app is available for iOS and tvOS.  Interactive Life Cycles Explorer can be purchased worldwide exclusively through the Apple App Store.  It is available through Apple’s volume purchase program.  Schools get a significant discount when purchasing multiple copies of Interactive Life Cycles Explorer. Contact Apple Education for more information about the volume purchase program.  Please visit Ventura Educational Systems’website for more information about this and other iOS and tvOS apps for education.

 Other apps in the Interactive Explorer series are:
Interactive Earth Science Explorer
Interactive Plant Biology Explorer
Interactive Earthworm Anatomy