I don’t know about you, but my children like video games. When they were in the preschool and early elementary school age, it was relatively easy to find high-quality fun games that also provided educational benefits. However, as they start to outgrow games focusing on ABCs and 123s, I’m beginning to realize that it’s harder to find high-quality, family friendly educational games for middle grades that are also fun to play. That’s why I was so excited to get a chance to do a review for Dig-It! Games.
We received, for review, the Mayan Mysteries (Online Game). This game is designed specifically for 5th-9th graders and allows your child the opportunity to to solve over 25 puzzles and explore seven different Mayan cities as he or she chases after the mysterious Ladrone, a thief who is searching Mayan sites, looking for a very specific artifact. As your child explores these Mayan sites, he will learn specifics about the Mayan culture, archeological techniques, about the Mayan calendar and how to use the Mayan math system.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the Maya, they were a huge culture of native Central Americans who developed their own culture, accomplishments and achievements in mathematics, writing and astronomy. They also built fascinating pyramid structures had cities that were very precisely built. There are still over 7 million decedents of the Maya living in central America today.
In this game, you read about Mayan history and culture bit by bit as you complete challenges by answering multiple choice questions, excavating architects, solving math and calendar problems, reading glyphs and searching for missing artifacts in very busy picture scenes.
How We Used This Product
Dig-It! Games has created a game with around nine hours of unique gameplay, and we decided to use the game in the place of our normal history time. This was easily done for Firecracker because he chose to work on one site per day. There are seven sites, but in the game, once you’ve worked through the present-day challenges, you are allowed to go into the past of the site and work through a second set of challenges. By working through one set of challenges and characters each day, we divided this game up into about three weeks of history study for Firecracker, and I think that’s a perfect amount of time to spend on a unit study of this nature.
If you’re looking for some more formalized learning opportunities for your child, Dig-It! Games also has formulated lesson plans to go along with the Mayan Mysteries game, and you can always you use them to help your child bring the learning into the real-world.
My Opinion on This Product
I really liked the format and the setup of this game. Firecracker considered it fun and looked forward to spending time with it each day. However, there was so much content coming at him that we proceeded through it more slowly than he might have liked to so that he had more time to absorb the lessons he was learning each day.
As a homeschooling parent, if I were going to use this program for history, I would have liked to see parent reports or get an email explaining to me what concepts he had covered and his scores on the different sections. Because we were reviewing the product, I would often watch Firecracker play, and so I got to see the impressive way that the calendar and mathematics (as well as archaeology) were incorporated throughout the program. It was a truly educational and fun experience.
I also hope that Dig-It! Games develops more of their games for online usage because Firecracker was looking for more of their games to play and realized that all the rest of the games were just iOS, so he’ll only be able to play them on his grandmother’s iPad. When I realized that he was looking for more of the games to play, I knew that this program passed, not just the educational test, but also the fun test.
So, if you’re looking for a fun and educational game for your middle school student, go check Dig-It! Games out. You might find them playing and learning a lot.