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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.Continue reading Show less
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.
Key Standards Supported
Reading History/Social Studies
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.
Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
Identify key steps in a text’s description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).
By the end of grade 8, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 6–8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.
Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.
By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 9–10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.