Dig-It! Bring History to Life: Mayan Mysteries Online Game

Digit

I  recently immersed myself in Dig-it! online game: Mayan Mysteries for this TOS crew review.  I learned a ton of fascinating facts on this ancient people group, and time seemed to soar by (what I’ve been playing for two hours?!) while I tried to uncover the clues to solve the mystery.  I certainly retained more about archeology and the Mayan culture than I would have from reading a text or by filling in workbook pages. If you have shied away from video games or educational Apps in your homeschools, I’m with the Borg on this one: To resist is futile.

the Borg

Gaming is here to stay.

I live among a world of gamers.  My three sons  (no, not Robbie, Mike and Chip) have over the years enjoyed many academic, RPG, and other gaming activities.  As you can see, they are turning out just fine…

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Retailing for $21.99, The Mayan Mysteries game is a puzzle, and depending on whether your student (recommended for grades 5-9) rushes through, or takes more time and clicks on the hyperlinks to learn more about strata, quetzal, modern day Central America, the three sisters, and hundreds of more facts, the game can stretch on for a few hours to a span of several weeks of play. It is a unique experience for each player.

You will be impressed to know this game was developed by a professional team that includes an accomplished professor of anthropology/archaeologist, and a middle school teacher.  As with all well developed games, this one has a storyline, expert graphics and animation, and an intriguing mission. Here’s a sneak peak at the game:

 

Both my 7th grader Will, and my 10th grader Benny experimented with the game. I confess I am so lame at navigating Apps and online games that I needed Will’s help. He got it straight from the launch and showed me things like how to click that little sound icon to have the text read, and how to pick the right tools for the excavation mini-games. I was glad to hand my keyboard over to him. I relaxed with my coffee and watched a pro at work.  Being a young man who prefers brevity, here is his feedback on the game:

I liked it and it had good graphics.

Even though he was older than the recommended user age, Benny is slightly more verbose than Will:

Mayan Mysteries takes you back in time to explore the lost culture of the Mayans and learn about its past. In this game, you’ll learn about the civilization, culture, relics, and practices of the Mayans. The game spans out over several different locations such as dig sites, and temples, and each time you travel, you’ll learn something new. I had lots of fun learning about the Mayans, and often times I didn’t even realize I was learning. This is a well made, inventive, and unique educational game, and I highly recommend it for ages 10-14.

It autosaves, and shows rankings for top scorers – those who like achievements and recognition will appreciate that feature. The only aspect I don’t like when studying ancient civilizations is pre-occupation with pagan gods or sacrificial rituals. There is a bit of that here, but I was happy to learn that unlike the Aztecs, The Maya rarely offered human sacrifices.

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Other features I liked was the short quizzes to reinforce facts, the diverse challenges, the hyperlink definitions, the overall feel like you are on a real archeology adventure and are unearthing artifacts and deciphering hieroglyphics. Very few of us will ever have the opportunity to do a real “dig” so why not try out a virtual one? I have no idea what happens when you finish the game so I will encourage you to read what my colleagues have to say about their experience with both the App and the online game at the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog. I’m heading over there now to see if anyone caught the looters and have solved the mystery:

Who is Ladrone?

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If learning isn’t fun, you’re doing it wrong.

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