Over the years I have discovered that both of my children learn really well by doing their "school work" via the computer. Doing it this way makes it simpler to keep track of their progress and it also can make doing school while traveling very doable. Add in the fact that a lot of the online curricula is in game form and it makes it even more appealing to children. This summer we have been able to explore Mayan Mysteries through Dig-It Games to learn more about the Mayan culture.
From their website- "Explore the mysterious world of the ancient Maya and learn about their remarkable civilization. Discover artifacts, decode glyphs, visit ancient Maya cities, explore the Maya calendar, and more in this exciting educational journey through history. " Specifically designed for grades 5-9
This online learning game was created by Suzi Wilczynski who is an actual archaeologist that also used to be a middle school teacher. Along with fellow archaeologist and professor of anthropology, Robert J. Sharer, they were able to combine their knowledge and experience to bring about the game Mayan Mysteries, in 2012.
This interactive game, Mayan Mysteries, is available for PC's and Macs for $21.99 for one year for each individual user. It is also available as an app for mobile devices like iPad for $9.99. We were given the choice on what we wanted to try out and chose the PC version as we do not have an iPad. There is also a classroom version available for schools for $299.00. The Classroom Edition provides licenses for up to 30 students and includes a Teacher Management System to keep track of how individuals and the class progress as they go through the game. This isn't available with the individual user but I think it would be beneficial if they eventually had a similar version of tracking it for an individual student.
I actually tried this interactive game out myself and found it very easy to play and explore many different aspects of the Mayan culture. I was able to go to a virtual dig site to uncover artifacts. It took me a bit to figure out how to use the tools but there was a help button available to assist me. It gives you several possible tools and you have to pick the appropriate one based on the size of the artifact. (they told you the size of what you were digging for) If you used a tool that was too large it destroyed the artifact....I found out. LOL There is a lot of reading required in this game which wouldn't be a problem with my daughter but I really like the fact that they also have the option for it to be read to you which would be especially nice for students with reading challenges like my son.
Here is what my husband and Z~girl thought about the game:
Z~girl and I had fun as we kept one step ahead of the looters and found clues about the different places we would be digging at. I chose to read the sections out loud that told us about each Mayan area but the reading would have been no problem for Z~girl to do on her own had I not been there. It was fun for us both and I learned many things myself since the Mayan culture was never part of my school studies when I was a child. I like how interactive Mayan Mysteries is. We were able to choose which character we learned from by clicking on the question mark above the character’s head. This made it so much more exciting than if someone had handed a book to us and told us to read it. I would recommend this to anyone interested in learning more about the Mayan culture.
I encourage you to check out what other members of the Schoolhouse Review had to say about Mayan Mysteries!