Review by Stacy Zeiger, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2013
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The Pyramids

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Tap into students' inner archaeologists as they discover Ancient Egypt

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
  • Social Studies
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
5-12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (3 Reviews)
4

Take a look inside

4 images

Pros: Digital re-creations have a realistic feel, and students can take control by exploring pyramids and examining artifacts on their own.

Cons: Students who opt out of the audio tour can easily get lost in the pyramids and tombs.

Bottom Line: Students can experience some of Egypt's most famous pyramids and tombs while learning more about the life of Ancient Egyptians.

Teachers can tell students they're taking them on a trip and then surprise them with the opportunity to take a virtual field trip to explore the pyramids and tombs of the Ancient Egyptians. While it may not be as cool as the real thing, students may enjoy pretending they are archaeologists on a mission. Before giving students a chance to interact with The Pyramids, it may help for them to have an overview of the pyramids and Ancient Egyptian culture in general. After they learn all about Ancient Egypt, exploring the app can help bring their knowledge full-circle.

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Students invoke their inner archaeologists as they explore the Giza Plateau, ducking in and out of chambers in the Great Pyramid, analyzing hieroglyphics on the walls of the Tomb of Meresankh, and getting a close-up view of the Sphinx. As they navigate through the app, students can choose to explore the pyramids and tombs themselves or enlist the help of an expert to lead them on an audio tour. In addition to exploring the pyramids and tombs, students can access a gallery full of artifacts and feel like they are actually holding them in their hands as they rotate and examine them. Those who want to learn more can read the digital book included in the app, which describes how the pyramids were built, provides a bit of history, and includes multiple interactive images.

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Most students cannot travel to Egypt and experience the pyramids and tombs firsthand. While The Pyramids will still not give them the opportunity to actually go to Egypt, it will allow them to explore very realistic interpretations of many of the popular pyramids and tombs they would find there. Most students will prefer to explore the pyramids on their own and look for surprise hieroglyphics and mummies as they go, but they will benefit most by taking advantage of the guided tour. The expert's presentation incorporates a bit of history along with an explanation of what students see as they travel through the pyramids and tombs. Some students may not find the expert's presentation engaging, but many will enjoy learning more about what they see. They can continue their learning by getting a digital hands-on experience with famous artifacts, which helps students connect with artifacts more than they would if they just saw them in a photograph.

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Overall Rating
4

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4

Kids can travel to Egypt and explore the pyramids on their own. Expert guides provide help when needed.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
4

Guided tours help kids understand the significance of what they see as they tour the pyramids. High-quality images of artifacts and an interactive textbook help them experience the pyramids even more.

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

When choosing to tour pyramids on their own, kids can easily get lost as they enter different tunnels and chambers. Some icons and pop-up text boxes do provide information and guidance.


Common Sense Reviewer
Stacy Zeiger Homeschooling parent

Teacher Reviews

5
(See all 3 reviews) (3 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Lynn S. , Other
Other
The Montclair Kimberley Academy
Montclair, NJ
5
Highly engaging virtual exploration of ancient Egypt may in some ways be even better than going there!

Some students (and teachers!) might get "lost" inside the pyramids and tombs, but that is part of the appeal. Students who are gamers will have no difficulty moving about and following the locator map in the corner of the screen, but others may need a little time to practice. The text in the reference section is definitely best for older students; an option to have it and some of the info button items read aloud would have been a helpful modification for weaker or younger readers.

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