Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Roman Town educational app- TOS Crew Review


Dig It! Games ReviewDig-It! Games has a new game out called Roman Town (iOS app) that we are thrilled to have been able to review.  We were able to review Mayan Mysteries for them a few years ago and enjoyed it thoroughly, so we had high hopes for this game as well.  They did not disappoint!  Dig-It Games is a mission based company that prides themselves on producing game-based learning.

Roman Town is about - you guessed it, a Roman town.  Well, that and a little more. In this newest release, your child can take an adventure with twins Fiona and Charlie, two kids who get bored while visiting their uncle and decide to do a little exploring on their on their own.  By visiting with tourists, gathering clues, and solving puzzles, they hope to hunt down Ladrone, a master thief. Though targeted for ages 9- 11, our 8 year old was able to play this game successfully and it still provided a challenge here and there for our 13 year old.  By using math skills, logic, memory and more, your child will learn history as well as have fun playing!

How it Works-

Your child can choose to be Fiona or Charlie at first, though eventually they will have to be both.  The character then moves through the streets of a Roman Town, visiting various tourists and locations.  When they click on a tourist one of  two things will happen.  They will either be presented with information or they will be asked to play a game.

Information includes things like how and where Romans lived, what they ate, and the games they played.  We learned about the buried town of Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius, and the Temple of Jupiter. We also learned what aquaducts are for and how they were made, about Roman gods like Jupiter and Venus, and what an artifact is.  There are neat facts, for example, a Strigil was a metal or wood tool used to scrape off sweat and oil after a Roman bath to get clean. Or did you know that the Romans had minimal furniture but used murals to decorate?  Think of it as a mini history lesson.

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Some of the tourists you click on will challenge you to play a game. Games include identifying artifacts, identifying roman numerals (the most challenging for us!), memory games, ball mazes,  underground pipe mazes, and putting together scrambled puzzles.

Once you complete three to five activities for each twin in five different areas, (The Temple of Juniper, The House of Vettii, the Baths, the Street, and the Basilica), you are then allowed to complete the clues to solve the puzzle.  The final clues are solved by moving around puzzle pieces with words on them until they fit correctly to show you a written letter.

Our experience and thoughts-
Colby, age 8, was quite excited about this review as he is currently studying Rome in History, so he did not wait for us to get started.  As soon as I downloaded the app, he was off with the iPad to his room.  Because we limit his iPad use to only educational games these days, it is always a thrill for him to get to try something new out.  I knew we had a winner when he was gone for over his 30 minute time allocation without a peep.  When I asked him about his experience he used words like, "awesome" and "cool," and asked if he could try it again the next day.  That pattern continued for several days until he told me the game was stuck and he could not go any further.

Dig It! Games Review

What I found, in reality, was that the game was not stuck, but that HE was stuck! ;)  He was able to complete most of the games on his own but I discovered was he was struggling with the Roman Numerals game, shown above.  Once we helped him with that, he was able to get further along in the game.  He also seemed to miss that he had to play the part of both of the twins and finish the required number of games, but again, once we cleared that up he did fine.  His favorite game by far was the matching.  This kid has a heck of a memory and loves to beat me at memory games any chance he gets.

Once he finished the game, I was able to reset it and try the game with my oldest son, age 13.  I have to admit, it was a challenge for us as well! (that reset function is a gem!) Let's just say that my son is better at roman numerals that I am!  I am also amazed at how kids these days can figure out games so quickly.  While it took me a while to get the hang of a few games and navigating the various screens, they picked up on it all quickly. I like that the games in this app are logic based and take some thought and problem solving skills to solve.  This is not mindless game with pushing buttons and moving characters around with no purpose.

One of the things I have learned through 17 years of homeschooling is that all kids learn differently. When we tailor our teaching to our kids particular learning styles we are not only doing them a favor, but ourselves as well.  Learning can be fun and we should be careful not to underestimate the learning that can take place in educational games.  Dig-It! Games' Roman Town is one of those games I would recommend you add to your repertoire!

While the initial app is free, you must pay to access all areas of the game.

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