Advanced Puzzle Map Of USA ($0.99) by lelesoft is a great educational tool for learning the location of the 50 states in the U.S. It is designed to help children (and adults that didn’t pay attention in school) advance their geographic knowledge about the country, including the capital of each state.
How well do you think you know U.S. geography? Do you think you could identify all 50 states and know exactly where they fit within the U.S. border? Having spent every single day of my thirty-plus years of life in the country, you’d think it would be easy as pie. Turns out, it is harder to identify states by their shape than it is to use and understand Trigonometry.
There are three levels of play, each one more complicated than the last. The first level shows the states, abbreviates each state and shows an outline on the map of what each state looks like. Living on the West Coast, I was able to properly place the western states fairly easily on first attempt. I can say without a doubt (but with much embarrassment) that I would never have been able to locate most of the middle states and quite a few of the eastern states without the outline on the map.
The second level removes the lines on the map, but keeps the abbreviations of each state. After having completed the first level, I was able to get through the harder level in less time. I was able to remember where the states were located in the previous attempt.
The third, and hardest, level has no outline and no abbreviation of states, so you are working in the dark at this point. An interesting fact is that I was able to complete the puzzle in less than half the time it took me to complete the first level. I really did learn. A few more times at this and I may just have the location of all 50 states memorized.
The puzzle shows the outer borders of the U.S. and has the various states littered about around the country, like pieces of a puzzle. As you grab a state by touching it, a woman speaks the name of the state. So, if you pick up a piece with the letters WY on it, the woman will say, “Wyoming” and so on. Additionally, as you pick up a state, a tab shows up at the bottom of the screen, identifying the state’s capital. For example, Wyoming’s capital is Cheyenne. You can turn off the audio if you don’t need to hear the state’s name spoken. This is for pronunciation only.
Once you have mastered all three levels of the puzzle, you can test your knowledge in the Map Test section. Here, you are quizzed on the identity of a state based on shape alone. The second test in this section is on state capitals. Not only do you have to know the state by shape alone, but you are then quizzed on each state’s capital city.
The game can be played in eight different languages, which can be very helpful for anyone studying geography of the U.S. who does not use English as a first language. The only complaint I have, and it is minor, is that some of the sentences use incorrect grammar. For example, if you select the home button, you are asked, “Are you sure to back home?” That is really a minor issue, since the app is a geographical education tool, not an English grammar tool.