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

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Kids travel back in time for a dino-size learning adventure

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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 well-crafted trilogy delivers solid learning for students with a wide range of reading abilities.

Employ the app's stunning visual prompts, as well as audio instructions and interactive lessons, to engage kids in an excellent social studies and science experience. Use the pronunciation hint that appears above dinosaurs to help kids learn how to say those giant-size names correctly, syllable by syllable, as well as to teach students why and how to use pronunciation keys. In addition, the in-app Travel Log (a photo album/journal) provides an opportunity to help kids learn 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 & Clair: Triassic Dinosaurs is a geography, geology, and animal science app that's part of a trilogy of dinosaur apps. On this adventure, time-traveling duo Ansel and Clair visit the Triassic period, where kids learn about dinosaurs from that time, including the Plateosaurus, Ichthyosaur, and the Eodromaeus (the earliest ancestor of the T. rex). Kids can go on a dusty dinosaur dig with a friendly cartoon paleontologist, Dr. Bones, or travel back in time to the Triassic period with the unique dinosaurs that lived during this time and see Pangea, the supercontinent. As they explore, kids listen to fun facts, feed a dinosaur, take pictures, use stickers, and write in their travel logs. Up to four students can create player accounts, which will store their photos and individual travel logs. Kids can even build their own dinosaur and complete a puzzle to learn about the life cycle of ferns.

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The best use of this app is in conjunction with the other two apps in this series to cover the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods of dinosaur life. Kids don't need to be able to read to play the fun games and learn a lot about dinosaurs on this interactive app. For kids who aren't reading or writing fluently yet, the Travel Log can be a place for them to record their favorite dinosaurs by taking screenshots of them on the app and placing them in the journal, increasing student's understanding of the many uses for digital and visual journals. Ansel & Clair: Triassic Dinosaurs is a very well-designed learning experience for kids that will delight and inspire them to learn even more.

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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 Triassic 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 activities, listening to clear verbal information, interacting with fossils and dinos, taking photos, keeping a journal, and viewing 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.


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Dana Villamagna Classroom teacher

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