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App review by Dana Villamagna, Common Sense Education | Updated March 2013
Ansel And Clair's Adventures In Africa

Ansel And Clair's Adventures In Africa

Find lions, giraffes, and a robot (oh my!) in this fab app adventure

Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
Community rating
Based on 3 reviews
Privacy rating
Not yet rated Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
K–3 This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, Critical Thinking

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5 images

Pros: Engaging for groups with both pre-readers and readers.

Cons: It has a few less-than-realistic scenes of wild animals hanging out together.

Bottom Line: Highly engaging way for kids to discover Africa's fascinating animals and ecosystems.

In the classroom, Ansel & Clair's Adventures in Africa can be used to teach the basic geography of Africa and its ecosystems as well as African animals and related vocabulary. The app uses subject-specific vocabulary and kid-friendly images to make this excellent learning experience accessible for both pre-readers and readers. Up to four students per device can create usernames. As kids learn about African animals, they are also learning vocabulary specific to zoology and biology.  A bit of African culture and world geography are also included. Puzzles and games and the in-app photo journal reinforce learning. The African-themed musical score and background sounds can be turned off.

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Editor's Note: Ansel & Clair's Adventures in Africa is no longer available for download.

Ansel & Clair's Adventures in Africa, is a geography and culture app that introduces kids to the three major regions of Africa: The Nile, The Sahara Desert, and The Serengeti. Kids explore African geography, ecosystems and animals, with a touch of history, culture, and numbers. The two main characters are Ansel, an alien -- who asks a lot of questions about the African animals and the environment where he landed via spaceship -- and Clair, a robot who answers all of Ansel's questions in a verbal give-and-take that kids can learn from and enjoy. The app features African animals, such as a crocodile, lion, vulture, and lots of others; and also explains other natural features, like an oasis. Each ecosystem has an arrow marker that turn into a check mark once completed. For most items, kids can tap a light bulb to learn more information. Kids can create a travel journal by taking and arranging photos of things they see.

As kids explore this app, they help Ansel and Clair gather their lost spaceship parts scattered over Africa. Kids tap interactive objects, listen to the explainers, play learning games, and add photos to the in-app journal to learn some really cool facts about African habitats, animals, and culture.  By putting kids in charge of their learning, they become deeply engaged with the content.  One game has kids rearranging the parts of a frog's life cycle. In another, they are reuniting baby animals with their parents. With a slider, kids can change a scene from day to night and on the Serengeti, from the dry season to the rainy one.

While there's some less-than-realistic depictions of wild animals hanging out together, the factual content presented is spot on.  Ansel & Clair's Adventures in Africa is an information-packed, beautifully crafted tool to introduce students to the vast continent of Africa.

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

Engaging for both prereaders and readers. The interactive elements are easy to access and enticing. Kids tap on things they want to learn about and tap on a light-bulb icon if they want to learn more. Kids also collect photos in a journal.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

Subject-specific vocabulary, audio and written explanations, and games and puzzles help readers and prereaders learn about Africa and the animals that live there. Kids create an in-app journal.

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

Excellent screen-by-screen tutorial, visual prompts, and ongoing verbal tips give kids clear directions and choices.


Common Sense reviewer
Dana Villamagna Classroom teacher

Community Rating

(See all 3 reviews) (3 reviews)
Featured review by
Jennifer K. , Other
Other
North Schuylkill Elementary School
Ashland, United States
Wonderful way to introduce young students to continent of Africa.
This product gives students a lot of information, but I think that it does it in a nice way. Claire mentions a vocab word, Ansel asks for a meaning, and Claire provides the meaning for the word. The children then are able to take a picture to remember what they learned and to access that learning when they go through their scrapbook. I know some people don't like that it uses cartoon characters, but I felt they were very well done and look very close to what the actual animals look like and less like a ...
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