Review by Dana Villamagna, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2013
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Ansel and Clair: Little Green Island

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Wonderfully engaging eco-sim lets kids become pollution fighters

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Grades
2-4 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Visually interesting, this highly interactive game offers great depth to keep kids engrossed.

Cons: This game is so much fun, we wish there were more levels.

Bottom Line: Kids learn about pollution and what to do about it on this eco-friendly game.

Teachers can use this app as part of an environmental science unit. Students can play individually or in small groups.

Thereafter, teachers can bring Ansel and Clair: Little Green Island's "My Own Island" theme off of the app and into the classroom. Have each student or a group of students create a presentation, poster, or digital book about what sort of island environment they'd like to live in and what they'd need to do to create and sustain such a place. Then discuss the ideas of taking responsibility for creating and caring for your environment in a sustainable way. What steps can we take as a class do to preserve the environment? How would needs in each ideal environment affect the others? Discuss competing needs and compromise in real-world countries. To add a little music to science, listen to the pollution songs and talk about sulfer dioxide and CFCs.

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Ansel and Clair: Little Green Island is an 18-level adventure game that helps kids grow in environmental awareness. After a kid creates an account, the app announces: "Congratulations you are the new owner of Green Island!" As they see trash, oil spills, and more, they must fix the problems and earn Green Bucks to buy things like trees to beautify the island. There's also an industrial town and another residential town where kids see environmental no-nos.

Visual and audio prompts instruct how to swipe or tap to complete the missions. In between, kids read or listen to information about environmental issues, like what trees do for the Earth or how people clean up oil spills. By completing all 18 levels (which will require multiple play sessions for most kids), student experience an island that is beautiful, natural, and rainbow-framed.

The app allows up to four accounts. The video game-style play, sounds, and points-earning don't follow the typical look and feel of the other apps in the Ansel and Clair app series. But like those app, Ansel and Clair: Little Green Island is a fun, highly visual, and wonderfully interactive experience.

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Ansel and Clair: Little Green Island's interactive gameplay and real-world examples provide in-depth learning. This mix of animations, video game-like elements, songs, and brief audio and visual lessons help kids learn what can hurt the environment and how they can help it. As kids can learn how the Earth's environment is impacted by human choices, they learn some subject-specific vocabulary (such as "ozone," "pesticides," and "oil skimmer"). Players also glean information on how animals, ecosystems, plants, and the weather are affected by pollution. By playing the game, kids are also following directions and engaging in decision-making.

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Overall Rating
5

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

Being put in charge of the ecological health of an island reels kids in to this game like few other environmental apps do. The instructions keep things simple while the 18 well-designed levels keep gameplay fresh and fun.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
5

Kids learn by playing ecology missions, soaking in the vocabulary, solving problems, and reading about or listening to the real-world pollution examples. They easily make the connection to our own environment's problems.

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

The excellent instructions and well-designed user interface make the game flow easily, so kids can focus on learning. The learning material is presented in a variety of ways, including rap songs.


Common Sense Reviewer
Dana Villamagna Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
Dianne H. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
NYC DOE
Brooklyn, NY
4
Excellent tool for introducing and enhancing Problem Based Learning(PBL) for elementary students of all abilities.

This product will help my students become more aware of the interplay between the Earth's systems, what is in the natural environment, the major role that they can play in how to sustain many of the Earth natural resources, and how change occurs both slowly and rapidly.

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