Sunday, July 14, 2013

Review of Dig-It Games' Mayan Mysteries iPad App

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Dig-It Games' Mayan Mysteries iPad App may be education masquerading as a game, but it is so cleverly dressed that chances are great that most kids will never realize how much they are learning as they play through the scenario starring the mysterious looter, Ladrone!

Dig-It Games is not new to the world of ancient history games. Its Roman Town is an archaeology game par excellence and was a big hit in my house a couple of years ago. Mayan Mysteries does for the ancient Maya what Roman Town did for the ancient Romans - make ancient history accessible and FUN for kids.

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Mayan Mysteries is designed for kids 9 and older and enables kids to learn all about the ancient Mayan civilization. By reading about Mayan civilization, answering questions about the reading, solving puzzles, reading glyphs, and exploring the Mayan calendar, a single player moves through the game with Team Q to discover the lost city of Ich'aak.

What sets Mayan Mysteries apart from the many other games in the App Store is its amazing educational content. Dig-It Games (and, thus, this app!) is the brainchild of Suzi Wilczynski, a trained archaeologist with ten years of dig experience *and* middle school teaching experience. What better combination of talents to create this kind of app?

Therese (11 and 11/12) and Mayan Mysteries

Therese loved Roman Town two years ago, so I was sure that she would love Mayan Mysteries. She liked it, to a point, but she didn't get as much out of it as I hoped she would. That's not the fault of the app, though; I think it's because she went into it already knowing a ton about the Maya. Therese is an avid reader and has been since she was tiny. History has always been her favorite subject, and ancient history was her first love. Because of that, she knows a *lot* about the Maya. Hence, she ended up skimming the reading in the app (and there is a lot of reading) and feeling that there wasn't much point to the game. The point, really, is the learning. I wasn't kidding at the outset when I said that this is education in game's clothing. In her words, "It was really a textbook - not a game." Thus, if you feel you know the textbook, even the flashiest material is not all that engaging.

HOWEVER, if you don't know about the Maya, what a way to learn! This app is colorful, jam-packed with information, and interactive (i.e., you "dig" for artifacts). For kids who don't love to sit down with a book, this app. at $9.99, is a great alternative.

Crew members got to review the Mayan Mysteries Online game as well as the app, so be sure to read all of the Crew reviews.


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