App review by Christy Matte, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2013
LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: The Magic School Bus: Dinosaurs
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LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: The Magic School Bus: Dinosaurs

Join Ms. Frizzle on an engaging field trip into the realm of dinosaurs

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Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
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Grades
1–4 This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Subjects & Skills
Math, Science, Critical Thinking

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Pros: You'll find lots of dinosaur facts in learning journals that are both cute and informative.

Cons: There is little variety among the mini-games and activities.

Bottom Line: The game is jam-packed with dinosaur data and educational fun, despite lacking in variety of activities.

Pair with a lesson on dinosaurs, use during indoor recess, or engage kids who have completed their work early. Have your class create a learning journal (one or two pages per student) around a topic of interest.

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LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: The Magic School Bus: Dinosaurs invites kids to enter the world of dinosaurs with Ms. Frizzle's students. They'll explore basic anatomy, food chains, and animal behavior through puzzles, games, and quizzes, as they help Ms. Frizzle's students do research for their school play. The education-focused games repeat for each dinosaur (16 in all) but with their own specific content. Kids will have to "photograph" the dinosaur in its habitat using the description given. Then they will study a dinosaur skeleton and rebuild the missing parts from memory. Lastly, they have to take a timed quiz. The quiz repeats any wrong answers, giving kids a second (and third) chance to choose the correct one, as well as to learn the new information. The "reward" games attached to each dinosaur vary slightly, based on the type of dinosaur being studied. Once kids succeed at all the activities for an animal, they unlock a journal page that looks like it's been written and illustrated by one of the students. These journals pages contain additional facts and information.

The content is engaging, and the activities, while not particularly innovative, are a fun way to discover more information about dinosaurs. Unlike many LeapFrog titles, this one doesn't level up in skills, but kids unlock new dinosaurs as well as journal pages as they progress. Teachers can track student progress in the LeapFrog Learning Path online.

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

Kids will enjoy unlocking all the prehistoric animals and playing the associated mini-games.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

Although the learning encompasses all things dinosaur, kids also will need to use some math and anatomy to succeed. These games are knowledge-based rather than skill-based.

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

Kids can track their progress using the in-game journal, while adults can take a more academic look in the online LeapFrog Learning Path.


Common Sense reviewer
Christy Matte Educator

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