Common Sense Review
Updated March 2013

Maggie's Earth Adventures

Follow eco-conscious Maggie on engaging, multidisciplinary journey
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Common Sense Rating 4
  • The Kids area offers online games and cartoons that introduce Maggie’s missions.
  • Maggie’s tools are interactive; kids can click on her field guide, video recorder, digital recorder, thermometer, and more.
  • Maggie and her friends eat caviar sandwiches and learn about Borok, Russia.
  • Visit the Teachers area for links to adventure-related activities.
  • There are activities in every subject area, sometimes separated by grade or reading level.
Pros
Integrating environmentally sound messages into all kinds of lessons is a great tactic.
Cons
Ironically, this protect-our-resources site requires a lot of printing on paper.
Bottom Line
An expansive, thorough resource teaching core skills in all subject areas with a hint of green throughout.
Michelle Kitt
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 5

Activities that use real-life problems and relatable characters engage kids to really consider the environment. Maggie’s cartoons have decent animation and suspenseful storylines.

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

Skills such as writing, organizing information, predicting, and problem-solving make for easy transfer into everyday life. If kids could compete or socialize in Maggie's world, it could add a helpful dimension.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

Handy tutorials introduce online activities and are easy for kids to understand. Maggie's missions have answer keys, teaching tips, and standards info, and the entire site is available in Spanish.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

The team behind Maggie's Adventures claim the activities are standards-based and involve multiple intelligences. It's typical to find several ideas within one exercise, making the layered activities appropriate for science, math, or history classes. For example, kids may write a diary entry as a passenger on a natural gas-powered bus or prepare a speech for Congress as a bus company representative. The activities are creative and easy to execute -- they’re designed for independent work but can be adjusted to group settings. A school could choose to integrate Maggie's adventures into nearly all their 2nd grade subject classes, giving kids a familiar character to interact with whether they're learning multiplication or the geography of Russia.

Teachers can also sign up for a free weekly activity pack that offers even more material for classroom use.

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What's It Like?

With free, interdisciplinary activities and a relatable heroine, Maggie's Earth Adventures teaches kids awareness of environmental issues. A green thread runs through each of the site's themed units -- such as Rushin' River, featuring Maggie's trip to Russia, where kids can multiply matryoshkas, cook blinis, discover the arctic tundra, and comprehend the concept of invasive species. Whew! They really mix it up, but this integration of real-world themes and standards-based skills is excellent, and the site offers a jaw-dropping amount of free, quality materials, including:

  • A handful of skill-based online games
  • At least a semester’s worth of activities designed around an environmental theme
  • Multiple activity suggestions in major subject areas
  • Educational frameworks, standards correlations, and teaching tips
  • Printable worksheets
  • Activities for different grade levels and emergent readers

Standouts: The whole site is available in Spanish!

The site is divided into two sections: Kids and Teachers (or supervising adults). In the Kids section, cartoons introduce Maggie’s missions. Kids get to dig around in Maggie's travel kit, which includes interactive tools, field notes, recordings, and data. The online games are available here, too. The Postcards section gives kids a few activities to do in response to photographs from around the world. Offline, kids complete the mission-related activities provided in the teacher area (this is where the many printouts and lesson plans are available).

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Is It Good For Learning?

A cartoon introduces Maggie's eco-mission. She uses interactive devices to learn about environmental issues around the world, often highlighting the connection among geography, culture, and the planet. Note: Cartoons can’t be paused or rewound and are delivered in chunks, interrupted by games which can usually be skipped.

Online games focus on one skill at a time. "Edit Dan’s Copy" is a fun way to practice grammar and punctuation and gives the best feedback. Try "Around the World in 80 Minutes" for math practice, "Geo-Spy" for geography, and "Cycle Race" to learn Spanish words. All games have beginner and advanced levels.

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