Common Sense Review
Updated July 2012

Britannica Kids: Aztec Empire

Aztec history gets a bit closer with articles, puzzles, and more
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 4
  • Entries like “Who Were the Aztec?” make up the bulk of the content.
  • Kids can turn any of the images into jigsaw-type puzzles.
  • Four activities use images: Jigsaw Puzzle, Magic Square, Memory Match, and Brush-Off.
  • Kids can explore photos, videos, and maps to learn Aztec history.
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.
Erin Wilkey Oh
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Education
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 3

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.

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

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.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 2

Adding spoken text could help readers who need more support.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

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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What's It Like?

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.

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Is It Good For Learning?

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.

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