Review by Dana Villamagna, Common Sense Education | Updated March 2013
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Ansel and Clair: Cretaceous Dinosaurs

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Dinosaurs and their demise dominate in this last of a giant trilogy

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Teachers say (1 Review)
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1-4 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: No reading skills required to learn a lot about dinosaurs.

Cons: The song and music may be too distracting for some students.

Bottom Line: This high-quality educational app delivers solid learning for students with a wide range of reading abilities.

Use Ansel and Clair: Cretaceous Dinosaurs (and its two companion apps Ansel and Clair: Jurassic Dinosaurs and Ansel & Clair: Triassic Dinosaurs) as a tool to help kids gain visual impressions of the different dinosaurs in the three main periods of time in which they lived. Talk with students about the pronunciation hint that appears above each dinosaur, so kids can learn how to say those giant-size names correctly syllable-by-syllable and understand why pronunciation keys are useful. Encourage kids to use the in-app Travel Log (a photo album/journal) to write using digital technology, and to combine images and words to present their ideas about what they're learning.

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Ansel and Clair: Cretaceous Dinosaurs is a well-designed learning experience that lets kids dig into facts about dinosaurs while touching lightly on science, social studies, and writing skills. Create a user account (the app can store up to four) and watch the cool intro. From the main page, kids can decide whether they want to explore the dig site or go back in time to the Cretaceous Period. Kids can learn about dinosaurs from that time, including the Tyrannosaurus Rex, the Oviraptor, and the Sarcosuchus, a giant crocodile. As they look for the dino-pointers and trackers to tap and learn information, when they hear or see something that grabs them, they can tap the in-app backpack and journal to add photos or write a note about their favorite dinosaurs.

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There's so much for kids to learn about dinosaurs and Earth in the prehistoric times on this app. Ansel and Clair talk about each dinosaur in detail and often instruct kids to do something interactive after the explanation, such as wiping away sand from the Oviraptor. Kids can go on a dusty dinosaur dig or travel back in time to the richly flowered Cretaceous Period with the dinosaurs. The unfamiliar globe shows the continents split into Gondwanaland and Laurasia. Kids can watch a volcano erupt and start a meteor shower and then learn about why scientists believe the meteors, not volcanoes, played a role in dinosaur extinction.

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Overall Rating
4

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
5

Extraordinarily engaging, this app brings dinosaur digs and time travel to the Cretaceous Period to life for kids, while challenging them with just-hard-enough facts, vocabulary, and interactive experiences.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
4

Kids learn by playing the many activities, listening to clear verbal information, and viewing colorful infographics. Kids can also reinforce what they've learned by taking photos and writing about it in the in-app journal.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
5

Clear instructions and visual prompts help kids navigate the features. For kids with reading challenges, this app may be especially user friendly, as it requires no reading and is visually intuitive.


Common Sense Reviewer
Dana Villamagna Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

3
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Featured review by
Michelle K. , Other
Other
South Western School District
Hanover, PA
3
Interactive learning about dinosaurs

The biggest issue with this app for classroom use is the very narrow content. Many schools have moved away from a teaching topic, such as dinosaurs in favor of hands on science activities. I would consider this app an interactive resource for learning about dinosaurs, but am unsure that the app could be considered "required" in most classrooms.

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