Age level: Early Elementary, Upper Elementary, Middle School
Description: This simple, easy-to-learn card game is a great educational tool. It’s highly motivating for learners who like trivia and/or history. State Master is quick to play and provides lots of opportunity to encourage interest in geography and history.
Skills & Modifications: For one learner, I modified the game to remove the Category Die and focus on just one category of information. For example, each time a player selected a card, he/she would have to tell us the state capital. I plan on systematically increasing the number of categories in play based on the learner’s current skill level.
Geography – When played as designed, the game practices several geography skills in an engaging way.
History – One category is Year of Statehood. I modified the game to practice history skills. I’d deal out five cards then challenge the student to put the cards in order of the year they acquired statehood.
Estimation – I used the game with one student to practice estimation. We’d pick a card, then focus on the category of Population Rank. She got to keep the card if she guessed the within 3 spots of the correct rank.
Compare and Contrast – For learners who are motivated by visual materials, I presented several of the cards with the flag side showing to compare and contrast the flag designs. For one student, this lead to doing further research into how specific state flag designs were chosen.
Pros: I love that the materials included in State Master can be used for a wide range of activities and games.
Cons: The only drawback to the game is that population estimates for the Largest City and Population Rank categories are based on 2012 data. It’s a difficult aspect of the game that the information will be outdated within a couple years.
Ideas for extending the lesson: This game is a great starting point for generating interest in geography and state history. I like to provide student choice as much as possible, so presenting the cards and allowing the student to choose a state or an aspect of state history to learn more about can be highly motivating.
Cost: Click here to support the Kickstarter campaign. You should invest in this game if: you are a social studies or geography teacher, you have a learner who is highly motivated by trivia or history, or you are seeking fun ways to increase interest in state history.
**State Master was provided to me for free by the company Homeschool Games to write about here. This did not influence my opinions on the game. The thoughts and ideas above are all my own.