Common Sense Review
Updated December 2013

Mission US: Think Fast! About the Past

Quiz game covers a bit about the U.S. colonies and slavery
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 4
  • Kids can choose between two different missions.
  • Mission One features basic multiple-choice questions.
  • Mission Two features basic true/false questions.
  • Encourage students to read the detailed explanations.
Detailed explanations help kids learn more about history.
Missions focus on basic multiple-choice questions and lack polish.
Bottom Line
Kids can learn lesser-known facts about Colonial America and the era of slavery as they answer multiple-choice and true or false questions.
Stacy Zeiger
Common Sense Reviewer
Homeschooling parent/instructor
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 2

The narrator in Mission One encourages kids to keep playing, but may turn off some kids by calling them "farmboy" and using other sarcastic responses.

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

Multiple-choice questions focus on basic facts, but explanations add depth. Time limits may keep kids from focusing on what the questions ask and cause them to skip reading the explanations altogether.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

Narrators guide kids through the game, particularly in Mission One. Those who like the game can visit the website to play more games.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

Since Mission US: Think Fast! About the Past focuses on a fairly limited set of specific questions, it's most useful as a hook or a way to activate prior knowledge before starting a unit on the colonies or slavery. Have students work together as a whole class or in small groups to complete the missions.

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What's It Like?

To play Mission US: Think Fast! About the Past, kids choose from one of two missions. Mission One introduces them to Royce, who lives in 1770, and Mission Two introduces them to Lucy, who lives in 1850. In Mission One, kids get to know Royce and his trademark sarcasm as he comments on how they answer question about Colonial America. In Mission Two, Lucy is notably silent and offers no commentary as kids answer basic true/false questions about the era of slavery. Both missions give kids a task and have them answer questions to successfully complete the task, advancing to different locations on a map until they reach their destination. As kids answer questions, they receive detailed text explanations of the correct answers.

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Is It Good For Learning?

In order for kids to answer all of the questions in Mission US: Think Fast! About the Past successfully, they must know a lot of information about Colonial America and the era of slavery. For example, one question asks about the amount of boning in women's clothing; another asks if Abraham Lincoln received any electoral votes from the South. Though many of the facts seem random, the explanations that follow provide kids with more information about the time period. For example, kids can learn that lower-class women wore dresses with less boning so they could complete more arduous tasks. Unfortunately, this information is still largely isolated and doesn't connect to the larger mission. Kids only get a general overview of the time periods covered in the missions, and they won't likely retain much unless they play the game multiple times.

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