App review by Stacy Zeiger, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2013
Mission US: Think Fast! About The Past
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Mission US: Think Fast! About the Past

Quiz game covers a bit about the U.S. colonies and slavery

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Social Studies

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Pros: Detailed explanations help kids learn more about history.

Cons: 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.

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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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.

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.

Overall Rating


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.


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.


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

Common Sense reviewer
Stacy Zeiger Homeschooling parent

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Featured review by
Andrew W. , Technology coordinator
Technology coordinator
Erie 1 BOCES
West Seneca, United States
This is a nice companion app for the Mission US Series
Used for its intended purpose I think this app is a wonderful companion piece to the Mission US program. This is an incredible series of history based learning environments and the app does the yeoman's job of meeting the expectations of the learning outcomes, namely to assess the history understandings from the missions. I am hoping that as they develop more Missions that the app will include these other learning objectives. As it stands there are 4 missions developed and only 2 represented in the a ...
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