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

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Awesome time travel adventure lets kids walk with the dinosaurs

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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: Exciting scientific information, interactions, and visuals draw kids in as they interact with ferocious, but not too scary dinosaurs.

Cons: The music may be a distraction for some kids.

Bottom Line: Second app in dinosaur trilogy is full of interaction and information.

Combined with Ansel & Clair: Triassic Dinosaurs and Ansel & Clair: Creatceous Dinosaurs, this app can be used as a tool to help kids learn about different dinosaurs and the unique periods of Earth's history in which they lived. This is an excellent science or social studies app for pre-readers or readers. Domain-specific vocabulary is a major point of interest here, and teachers may want to reinforce the difficult but fascinating dinosaur names kids are learning here in classroom-wide lessons about the sub-meanings within those names, and classification in paleontology. Because of the vast amount of interactivity and ability to customize the experience by taking photos, writing in a journal, and navigating in and out of areas as users wish, this app is best used independently.

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Ansel & Clair: Jurassic Dinosaurs is one of three apps in an educational series featuring the largest animals to ever swim, fly, and walk on Earth. This trilogy combines geography, history, science, and geology lessons in interactive, engaging ways that will quickly become a favorite of dinosaur-loving kids. Create a user account for each student (up to four per device), then have them watch the intro and enter the app's interactive area. There's a dinosaur dig where kids can learn some paleontology vocabulary and "dig" for dinosaur bones, and a lush dinosaur habitat where kids watch for the interactive icons to tap and hear fun facts about seven Jurassic dinosaurs, like the Allosaurus, an ancestor of the Tyrannosaurus Rex, the Apatosaurus, and the Archaeopteryx, the earliest known flying dinosaur. Kids can simply listen to instructions or watch for the moving pointers to find the interactive options. Kids can make a dinosaur, take photos for an album, write in a journal, complete puzzles of dinosaurs, and more.

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"Ansel & Clair: Jurassic Dinosaurs" is a great educational app to use with kids of a wide range of reading abilities. Kids do not need to be able to read to play these games and learn a lot about dinosaurs. For those who can read, there are words interspersed throughout the visual content and kids can write in a journal about what they're seeing and learning, for more advanced work and some practice in tech skills. There's a lot of domain-specific science vocabulary on this app, and kids can get a basic idea of what it's like to be on a dinosaur dig or what the Earth looked like when dinosaurs were more than bones. By tapping on the robot Clair, kids can access more indepth information. This app offers lots of learning packed into fun, interactive scenes.

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Overall Rating
4

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

Extraordinarily engaging. Kids actually dig for dinosaur bones and then time-travel to the Jurassic Period to interact with live dinos.

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, interacting with fossils and real dinos, taking photos, keeping a journal, and viewing colorful information graphics.

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 this app's 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

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Featured review by
Jessica L. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
2
Fun Game for Students Who Like Dinosaurs

I would have liked to the game to ask the students to be more analytical. Though there was some interesting information, the students weren't asked to do anything with it. I would I have liked them to be asked to draw conclusions or to answer some questions based off the information. I did like how they talked about how scientists weren't clear on all the information, which showed the students that science is on-going rather than static.

As a teacher who has students who struggle with capitalization, it irked me that they did not capitalize the names of the continents on the globe. As an educational game, they should not reinforce mistakes especially since the game is geared toward first through fifth graders. It's one thing for a game for adults (who should already know that continents are capitalized) to have everything written in lower case, but it's another for game geared toward students who are learning the rules of capitalization.

I liked how everything was spoken--this allows students who struggle with reading, have special needs, or are English language learners play the game without any issues.

The publisher has created three different dinosaur games, each targeting a different time period. This means you need to purchase all three for students to be able to make comparisons amongst the dinosaurs and plants that lived at each time. Again, this makes this app a weak teaching tool. The learning, while fun, is surface level. Younger students who love dinosuars will probably play it over and over again. Others won't enjoy it past the first time (especially without a clear purpose/end point).

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