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Tip of the Week – Three social studies iPad apps I just fell in love with

I haven’t had a lot of time in the last few weeks to spend searching for great mobile apps. But with a hat tip to Jaime H. and through a conversation with a couple of great teachers in Illinois, I did run across three that I really like. I think you will too.

The first is called Pocket Law Firm. It’s a free app based on the very cool iCivics website championed by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Using  knowledge of the Constitutional amendments, players act as lawyers, go to court, and fight their cases.

Decide if potential clients have a right, match them with the right lawyer, and win the case. The more clients you serve and the more cases you win, the faster your law firm grows. Grow your Pocket Law Firm by winning constitutional cases. You’ll earn perks like:

– More lawyers to handle more cases
– A coffee machine for extra pep
– Waiting room upgrades for impatient clients
– Ads to drive more clients to your office

I had a class play the Do I Have a Right? game and I was amazed at how much they enjoyed it. I had 12 and 13 year old boys and girls begging me to let them play it. As a former lawyer, now 7th grade social studies teacher, I loved it as well–especially the touches of being able to caffeinate the attorneys for more productivity—and that the students really did learn the amendments.

NY 7th grade social studies teacher

The second is also free and is called Gettysburg Battle App. (The same company also makes apps for the battles of Fredericksburg, Bull Run, Chancellorsville, and Malvern Hill.)

The app is designed specifically to be used as a virtual guide while you are actually on the battlefield. It uses the GPS in your iPhone, iPod, or iPad to help direct you from one spot on the battlefield to another. But it has so much handy info like interactive maps, video clips, photos, facts, order of battle lists, and short articles, that you can use it as a teaching and learning tool no matter where you are.

Clicking on any of the embedded “virtual signs” will provide you with a wealth of historical information, expert videos, and the voices of the participants who fought here in July 1863. Learn the true history of the battlefield as you “stand” at the Sharpshooter’s Den, the Slaughter Pen, the Devil’s Kitchen, Vincent’s Spur, or the crest of Little Round Top.

The third app, Barefoot World Atlas, is $7.99. Based on the hardback book of the same title, it is bit expensive but very cool.

It’s an interactive 3D globe that invites children to explore the regions and countries of the world, discovering hundreds of fascinating features and immersing themselves in the rich wonders of our planet. This app is optimised for the new iPad and is compatible with earlier iPads. The rich and beautifully detailed graphics take full advantage of the amazing new high definition retina screen.

Fly at will around a beautiful 3D globe. Explore the world’s continents, great oceans and changing environments. Meet different people around the planet and find out about their way of life. Encounter amazing wildlife, discover landmarks, natural features and famous buildings. Delve deeper to discover a wealth of facts and insights including live data for every country from Wolfram|Alpha.

Have fun!

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Lauren Bernstein #

    I am always looking for new iPad apps that pertain to social studies content. I particularly am intrigued with the Barefoot World Atlas app. This will come in handy when I teach new imperialism!

    April 16, 2012
  2. Hi Glenn, I have been a big fan of your site for a while now and am wondering if you have any suggestions for ipad apps or even free online programs that allow students to create their own cities or settlements related to landscapes or climates? Thank you!

    April 19, 2012
    • glennw #


      Great question! There are several that come to mind right away. The SimCity and Civilization franchises are great games for creating cities and settlements. Both have a lot of variables that can be built into the creation of cities. Both also have smaller iPad/iPhone versions. But both are pretty complex and there is a bit of a learning curve. There are several nice shorter, online sims that focus on geography and climates a bit that are worth checking out. One is called Stop Disasters at and the other is called Electrocity at You might also enjoy reading “Using Civilization Simulation Video Games in the World History Classroom” at It discusses a specific game but does give you an idea of how games can improve learning in a social studies environment.

      Good luck and thanks for being a fan of the site!


      April 19, 2012
  3. Great blog, Glenn – I’ve been following for a few months now here from France and have picked up some great ideas – thought it was about time I passed on my thanks.

    April 25, 2012
    • glennw #


      Thanks for the kind words! I have often gone to your site for your list of games and activities – nice to have a name to connect to a great site.

      (Many years ago, I spent some time in the Alsace, not far from Basel. Where in France are you?)


      April 25, 2012
  4. aulintacruz #

    I’m a teacher and app developer behind Geopop global challenge, an addictive geo trivia map game for serious geo freaks.

    July 17, 2012

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