Review by Dana Villamagna, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2014
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MarcoPolo Ocean

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Young explorers discover oceans through puzzles and free play

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Science
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Pre-K-K
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (1 Review)

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Pros: Free play and puzzles combine to help kids learn specific vocabulary about marine life and vessels.

Cons: There is no tracking of what kids have done or settings to make puzzles easier or more difficult.

Bottom Line: This fun app helps kids gain an appreciation for the waters that cover much of the Earth's surface.

MarcoPolo Ocean includes an excellent extensions idea section (compiled by an ocean education expert) under the Parent icon on the main page. Tap on that, then tap on More to find ocean book suggestions, three hands-on activities, field trip ideas, and discussion starter questions, all suitable for kids in preschool and up. This app can be a fun, interactive supplement to any classroom studying the oceans and ocean life.

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MarcoPolo Ocean is a beautiful free play and puzzle app that includes five fun activities that help kids as young as preschool age form an overall concept of what undersea life looks like. MarcoPolo Ocean also invites kids to build a ship and a submarine, puzzle style, to learn the names of those marine vessels' parts. The narrator gives kids brief facts about more than 30 species of fish and marine mammals throughout play. As kids fill in the puzzle, the narrator speaks related vocabulary words. There's just enough of a dip into ocean knowledge within the waves of kid-friendly interactivity to make this app a fun, educational adventure.

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Kids can learn about ocean ecosystems, marine mammals, plants, and fish, as well as boats and submarines. As they explore the ocean ecosystems and what lives there through puzzles and free play, kids learn topic-specific vocabulary such as fish body parts, parts of a ship, and aquatic animal behavior. Even preschoolers can learn some early engineering vocabulary, as they build and learn the names of parts of submarines and boats. As kids travel through the ocean in the free-play part of the app, the water becomes darker as they go deeper, and kids will see how different sea creatures live at different depths. MarcoPolo Ocean creates a fun environment for kids to explore and gain an appreciation for the waters that cover so much of the Earth's surface, the animals that live there, and the vessels humans use to explore it.

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Overall Rating

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

Free play and puzzles engage kids in lightly guided ways. Kids get to choose what to explore and will be delighted with the results as they see ocean views and animals change. Beautiful animation enlivens ocean-related concepts and vocabulary.

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

Kids match parts of plants, animals, and vessels to puzzle pieces, forming part-whole relationship concepts. As kids travel through the oceans, they view different ecosystems and learn science and engineering vocabulary.

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

Clear, friendly narration guides kids into the puzzles and free-play options. Find excellent extension ideas for parents and teachers in a kid-protected area on the app.


Common Sense Reviewer
Dana Villamagna Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 1 reviews) (1 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Jennifer C. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Carson High School
Carson City, NV
Explore and learn in this fun, interactive app!

Add actual small vocabulary words that can show up on the screen to help students make connects between the submarine, boat, coral, whale, etc.

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