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App review by Erin Wilkey Oh, Common Sense Education | Updated July 2012
Britannica Kids: Aztec Empire

Britannica Kids: Aztec Empire

Aztec history gets a bit closer with articles, puzzles, and more

Learning rating
Community rating
Based on 1 review
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Subjects & Skills
Social Studies, Critical Thinking

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5 images

Pros: Plenty of articles break down the basics of the history of the Aztec people.

Cons: Heavy on text, it misses opportunities to construct deeper meaning from artifacts and other objects of the era.

Bottom Line: Britannica Kids: Aztec Empire works fine for getting information, but kids can't actively engage with the material.

Articles are appropriate for middle-school students and will help them look up answers to questions. The puzzle games and the "brush-off" activity feel a little young, though. Without the ability to highlight, annotate, or curate text and media, kids can't really analyze and synthesize information or turn their understanding into research reports, for example.

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Editor's Note: Britannica Kids: Aztec Empire is no longer available.

Britannica Kids: Aztec Empire opens a window on the history of the Aztec people, from their agrarian roots to their downfall at the hands of the Spanish. A main navigation wheel at the bottom center lets kids explore features: seven articles on topics from Aztec rulers to religion, a glossary of the Aztec gods, an interactive map, an image gallery that includes one video, four activities that use images ("Jigsaw Puzzle," "Magic Square," "Memory Match," and "Brush-Off"), and a quiz. Articles are clearly organized with headings and subheadings. Key words are highlighted and in bold, and a pop-up definition appears when kids tap a key word. The quiz is a random set of 10 multiple-choice questions about facts in the articles. Kids can save the results for future reference.

With the articles, puzzles, photos, and maps, students have a variety of entry points into information about the Aztec people, who lived in what is present-day Mexico. However, despite some engaging activities, the bulk of information is in text. For example, there's only one video. A quiz requires kids to memorize facts but doesn't provide formative feedback. A more effective learning experience might invite kids to curate information from the articles and photos into some kind of report or project, so they could better understand and engage with the material.

Overall Rating


The fascinating Aztec world gets unlocked for kids who are researching a school project or are simply interested in ancient cultures. The quiz and puzzle games are fun, and a treasure trove of articles includes beautiful photos.


Puzzles and photos are a good entry point for visual learners. More images and interactive features, like a highlighting tool, would help kids solidify concepts.


Adding spoken text could help readers who need more support.

Common Sense reviewer
Erin Wilkey Oh Common Sense

Community Rating

Featured review by
Lisa B. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Hershey Middle School
Hershey, United States
Aztec Empire history presented with articles, media, & games

A major strength of the app is the images. I love that you can click on them within the text and have them expand. There's also special section for pics and videos, which is slightly mislabeled since there's only one video. Middle school students love sharing what they find interesting. There's a share option for the pictures that auto creates an email with the image and a couple sentence description of the significance. The student would just have to enter the desired recipients email.

There ...

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