The app space is filled with alphabet apps and basic math apps, but history is one topic that is often neglected. There are a few good ones out there, such as the The Civil War Today, but it’s rare that one is designed for kids.
Cognitive Kid, maker of the other award-winning Ansel and Clair apps on dinosaurs and geography, now brings us Ansel & Clair: Paul Revere’s Ride, a look at Paul Revere and the American Revolution with alien and robotic guides, Ansel and Clair.
To start, put your name in one of the four profiles in the game. You can then play a tutorial or just dive in. You start by putting the 13 colonies on a somewhat stylized map of the United States, putting them in place by shape. Once in place, the app tells you the name of each colony.
Then you meet Paul Revere. The screen is full of little informational “i” symbols that you can tap on and get more information on things. Next Event buttons teach you something specific. Primary sources such as newspapers and paintings are shown, and you listen to the characters talk about a specific part of the war effort. Related minigames show up to keep kids entertained while they learn something. Then, take out the camera and photograph what you just learned. Finally, answer a quiz question to show you were paying attention. Some of the subjects have a light bulb displayed which you can tap on to give you more information about the topic. The app will read the new information to you.
Each scene has a lot to do and a lot to learn. You can even interact with some of the things in each scene. If you aren’t sure what to tap next, the game guides you, pointing to what you could do next.
There is also a Who’s Who Photo Booth that gives you information about everyone you’ve met in the app so far.
After you take some photos, you can go to the travel log and arrange the photos in the book. Your related quiz questions are also in there, so it serves as a great review of what you’ve learned so far. There is also plenty of room to type in your own notes.
The app also includes such things as puzzles to figure out, such as a rebus, which was popular at the time, and H. W. Longfellow’s famous poem, The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.
Since the locations of the events and buildings are within our modern life, you can even see where they are located on a regular map. The app gives actual locations of the people and buildings in the narrative, complete with addresses. It would work really well to combine this app with a trip to Massachusetts.
As always, Cognitive Kid put a lot of research and effort into this app, and along with images of primary sources, the audio portion of the app also contains historical quotes from the major players.
Ansel & Clair: Paul Revere’s Ride is available in the App Store for $4.99. I recommend it to kids who want or need to learn more about the Revolutionary War in a fun way, or those who want to add more history to their trip to Boston. It is great fun for kids, and very educational.
Note: I received a copy of this app for review purposes.