Common Sense Review
Updated January 2013

Ansel and Clair: Paul Revere's Ride

Charming play brings American Revolution to life in ways that stick
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 5
  • Up to four players can create accounts on one device.
  • Ansel and Clair look to land in America in 1775.
  • Kids must assemble a puzzle map of the 13 colonies.
  • Ansel and Clair meet Paul Revere.
  • Real historic images and detailed illustrations provide visuals.
Pros
Clever interactivity helps kids relate to historic figures and events.
Cons
Locked progress arrows keep kids from advancing if they get stuck or miss something.
Bottom Line
History lessons package content with style and interactivity to help kids connect with Paul Revere's story.
Dana Villamagna
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 5

Ansel and Clair guide kids through beautifully designed scenes that explore many aspects of Paul Revere and the American Revolution. Interactive elements throughout keep kids' attention using well-crafted gameplay and learning.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

Historically accurate information is presented in kid-friendly ways. Subject-specific vocabulary paired with interesting related visuals helps kids understand what they're hearing and seeing.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

An excellent tutorial and table of contents can be accessed from the main screen. Ansel and Clair's voice instructions help kids figure out what to do next.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

As a fun way to collectively experience the app, have students use the class whiteboard, blackboard, or projector as a place to record historical figures, terms, facts, and dates. Tell students to write information on the board as they come across it and to build on what others have written. Afterward, facilitate a discussion using the collaborative notes, letting students teach the content.

When students finish with the app, they can use it as a jumping-off point for more in-depth, project-based exploration of something that sparked interest. Encourage kids to follow their interests and design unique ways to demonstrate learning. For example, one student could choose to do a short presentation on William Dawes, while another could create a slideshow sharing with the class what key locations from the app look like today.

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What's It Like?

Ansel & Clair: Paul Revere's Ride helps kids learn about the beginnings of the American Revolution and especially about Paul Revere through the adventures of Ansel and Clair, two aliens who come to Earth to learn about this historic time.  Well researched and crafted, it’s an engaging and enriching experience suitable for a wide range of students, from pre-readers through grade 5.

The player first chooses a character and name and plays a tutorial that covers the basics. Afterward the story begins, and quite quickly the first interactive element (a puzzle of the 13 colonies) appears. Once this puzzle is complete, the player meets Paul Revere. Revere teaches brief lessons -- with lots of supplemental images and interactivity -- about life in the time of the American Revolution. The entire game experience will likely take most kids a few play sessions to complete.

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Is It Good For Learning?

This is an excellent way for kids to learn about political events, important figures like Paul Revere, and the daily lives of people during the American Revolution. In the classroom, up to four students can create accounts and group up on one device. As they work through the interactive story, mini-games, maps, illustrations, and more, kids get a solid first look at the main issues and people that led to the revolution. Peppered throughout the story are words related to the time period and government ("taxation without representation"), helping kids learn relevant vocabulary.

Puzzles and mini-games -- such as matching the 13 colonies on a map by their shapes or dragging bags of tax money away from angry colonists and toward King George –- explain life in the colonies and help kids recognize the important people of the time. For writing practice, kids can also take photos of things they see in the scenes and write their observations in a journal. Multiple-choice quizzes help kids and teachers assess retention and understanding.

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