Review by Patricia Monticello Kievlan, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2014
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ArtifactSnatch

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Rich images, strong background info enhance ancient Rome flashcard game

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
  • Social Studies
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
6-8
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (1 Review)

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5 images

Pros: Slick design and interesting info make for engaging, addictive gameplay.

Cons: Explanatory text isn't well integrated into gameplay, and features may seem limited to some users.

Bottom Line: With guidance and context, this is a great source on life in ancient Rome. Otherwise, it's an amusing, fast-paced matching game.

Have kids explore the artifacts one by one and discuss how the artifacts relate to one another. Where might these artifacts have existed in a Roman home? Who might have used them? Have kids do further research on an artifact of their choice. Ask kids to tell a story about an artifact, including how it might have been used and why someone would have needed it. Have kids challenge each other to higher scores. 

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ArtifactSnatch is a game that teaches kids about life in ancient Rome. Kids can play two ways. After a quick walkthrough, they can race against the clock to identify as many artifacts as possible by picking the correct illustration to match the artifact’s name (like a beaded necklace or an oil lamp). Kids can also explore the artifact illustrations one at a time and read detailed explanatory text about how each item was used in ancient Roman homes. Kids’ high scores are saved to the app itself and to the device’s Game Center. There’s good integration overall with the Game Center; kids can share their scores and challenge friends. 

ArtifactSnatch was originally a mini-game within a larger game about ancient Roman life and culture by the same developer. While other apps from the developer aren’t available for purchase, there are multiple links within the game to the app store to purchase other games.

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ArtifactSnatch is definitely fun. Gameplay starts out simple, with just three artifact images to choose from, and the pace and number of choices quickly ramps up from three to six to 12 to 15. It’s challenging but not impossible, and kids will have to study the artifacts’ details (like the difference between an amphora and a clay jar) to win high scores. Browsing the artifacts makes for especially engaging reading, and this section of the app can be just as engrossing as playing the game. The more than 75 artifacts each have detailed illustrations and historical text. 

The one drawback to the game is that kids might not take the time to learn much: The matching game is certainly engrossing, but that alone won’t inspire deep learning about ancient Roman history and culture. Browsing the artifacts and their explanatory text is engrossing and rewarding in its own right, and the game would be even better if these components were better integrated. More extensive features for browsing and exploring the artifacts might help. It would be great if users could browse the artifacts by categories (like "jewelry" or "kitchen tools") or even sort the artifacts into their own categories and add their own annotations and connections. As it is, the app has great info, but it's up to teachers to add value, context, and direction to make the learning experience go beyond a fun flashcard game.

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Overall Rating

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

With speedy gameplay and good integration with the device's Game Center, it's easy to get engrossed and a little addicted.

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

Kids might take the time to read the detailed text for each artifact, but reading isn't required. Consequently, learning seems more layered-on than baked-in.

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

Help text is detailed and accessible, and the first-time walkthrough is a helpful guide for users.


Common Sense Reviewer
Patricia Monticello Kievlan Foundation/nonprofit member

Teacher Reviews

(See all 1 reviews) (1 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Lynn S. , Other
Other
The Montclair Kimberley Academy
Montclair, NJ
Nice introduction to Roman daily life, but students will need to be guided to get much out of it.

The game mode is fun for kids, but would be even more helpful if it presented the artifact description after each match, or at very least for the ones students get wrong. The app could serve as a nice introduction to life in ancient Rome, or as a reference for some basic research. Links to more detailed information outside the app would also extend the learning.

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