Review by Leslie Crenna, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2012
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GeoBee Challenge HD by National Geographic

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Geography buffs can hone their knowledge of places, landmarks

Subjects & skills
  • Social Studies

  • Critical Thinking
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Pros: Kids might be inspired to participate in their school's geography bee.

Cons: The quizzes require a high degree of accuracy when locating places on a map, and there's no learning mode.

Bottom Line: For kids who already know their geography, this is a good way to practice for geography bees, but for kids trying to learn, it can be daunting.

Teachers could use these quizzes to inspire students to learn world geography, history, and politics. The game doesn't teach facts, but you could construct units that do, then use the app as a fun way to end with prizes, or just a general sense of accomplishment. 

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In GeoBee Challenge, geography buffs assess their knowledge of global locations and landmarks. Kids work quickly answering multiple-choice questions, tapping locations on a world map and identifying and locating landmarks like the Taj Mahal, Victoria Falls, and Mt. Rushmore. Questions are mostly geographical but sometimes political or historical. Correct answers and speed gain the highest points. The app says there are 15 rounds and 5 challenges per round, but it stops at round 6. By selecting the Community button, kids can record top scores locally or log in to the Open Feint scoring network (though Open Feint did not come up at the time of this review).

This is fundamentally an assessment tool, and unless kids study beforehand, they may not gain much knowledge except the facts they happen to remember, which as part of a trivia game are posed without context. The app uses questions from past National Geographic Society Bee competitions, so they're often quite sophisticated and difficult even for adults. 

There are technical issues. To achieve the highest score, kids must click on exact locations, which can be tricky with a zoomable yet still-small map (it's possible to tap the "wrong" part of Baffin Island, for example). Question displays are sometimes cut off, duplicate questions occur a bit too frequently, and the current version on Android is prone to freeze up.

Still, with the classic National Geographic Society song playing and a few correct answers under their belts, kids might start dreaming of success in the actual geography bee. There's no in-game link to the National Geographic Bee webpage, but teachers and students (grades 4-8) should start there if considering competing.

Overall Rating

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

Design, graphics, and map quality are high, but difficulty level may be frustrating for kids as well as adults.

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

Although GeoBee Challenge is a good test of existing knowledge, it doesn't contain a learning mode.

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

Kids don't have a way to glean information other than by getting questions wrong and remembering their mistakes.

Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Lisa B. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Hershey Middle School
Hershey, United States
National Geographic App to challenge your knowledge of geography
There are three different types of levels: multiple choice, map, and photo challenges. The multiple choice questions are good practice for a geography bee. However, both the map and the photo questions are frustrating. Even when I knew the correct answer, trying to zoom in so I could click there often failed. The map screen is so sensitive, so a zoom is often mistaken as the answer submission. I would not request my entire class to download the app. It is a paid app for both Android and iOS. The sound ...
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