Ansel and Clair are an inquisitive visitor from the planet Virtoos and his robot pal. They are the stars of a series of educational apps from Californian app developer Cognitive Kid. The iMums have previously reviewed Ansel and Clair’s Paul Revere’s Ride, and their Dinosaur apps. This time the lovable aliens are learning all about America in their latest app American Bowl. The app covers a huge range of topics in 14 categories, in all there are over 1,000 questions included. Categories include: Symbols, Holidays, Landmarks and Landforms, States & Capitals, Vocabulary, Important Events, Government, Legends in Sport, Monuments, American Revolution, Inventions and Discoveries, Amazing Americans, Women’s History and African American History. There are 3 difficulty levels: Easy, Medium and Difficult, not all categories appear in every difficulty level. The app tracks progress for up to four player profiles.
The app opens with a carton showing the background story- pirates have captured Bald Eagles and the student can help Ansel and Clair to free them by correctly answering questions. The student then decides which level they want to work at and whether they want to answer questions on all categories in that level or concentrate on certain ones.
Each question is a multiple choice question with 4 possible answers. When a correct answer is selected the student is given more information about the subject, then gets to bowl at the pirate pins. When they first start playing the student needs 1 correct answer to get a turn at bowling, this increases later. If the answer is wrong it shows in red and the correct answer is highlighted in green, they will get to try again at answering later.
When bowling they can move the ball and adjust their aim. A successful strike frees a Bald Eagle and earns a custom bowling ball as a reward. If they don’t get a strike they go back to the questions and can continue bowling to free the Bald Eagle on their next turn. Getting 3 questions right in a row earns a power-up. They can also earn the right to choose different pin arrangements, and some pin arrangements free more than one Eagle. Every time a new ball is earned it appears on the screen, then they must select which ball to play with before continuing the game. When they select a ball they find out information about the symbol on it e.g. the Bald Eagle, Stars and Stripes, Clair, Halloween or Rosa Parks. The information about the people or things featured on the balls is useful for answering some of the app questions, but I would like an option to skip choosing a ball every time as it can slow down gameplay.
The app is very different from the previous Ansel & Clair apps we have reviewed – much less edutainment and more strict educational content interspersed with the bowling games. It does not have the animated videos and cartoon-style illustrations that the previous Ansel & Clair apps have but rather includes written information and 100’s of historical photograph’s, and this combined with the subject matter make it more suited for an older audience than the previous apps. There is no narration of the questions or answers so the child does need to be a good reader to use the app. It is in the 6-8 year old category in the app store but I think it is best suited to 2nd grade and above, my 4th grader really enjoyed the app and it was at a good level for him.
Although it is presented in the form of a quiz it can also be useful for learning the material. One thing I really like is that once you answer correctly you are given an explanation about the topic and get to understand why that is the correct answer. Being originally from the UK myself, there are areas covered in this app where my knowledge base is somewhat shaky, and I really enjoyed learning from it.
There is a results area easily accessed from every screen where you can check your progress and see how many questions you answered correctly for each subject area at each level, you can also see the % of questions answered correctly on the first try for each level. To change levels or your category selection you do have to exit back to the homepage, I’d like a shortcut to enable you to easily do this from within the app.
Overall, another hit from Ansel & Clair, American Bowl is a great educational app covering a huge range of subjects on America and it’s people. It is a great supplement to the school curriculum in subjects such as History, Geography and Social Science; and the bowling is a fun break from the educational content. With over 1,0000 questions and a large range of topics students will return to play again and again. I think it is an app that will be enjoyed by students from 2nd grade up to and including adults. For older students, who may be less interested in collecting the bowling balls, it would be great to be able to speed up the gameplay by only choosing a new ball when they wish, instead of every time a new ball is earned.
Highly recommended, this app will be a very good deal at its regular price of $1.99, but is currently on an introductory sale at 99c and shouldn’t be missed !
If you would like to download this app please use this link:
Full version: Ansel & Clair: American Bowl – Cognitive Kid, Inc.
Requirements: Compatible with
Size: 0 MB
Free lite version: Ansel & Clair: American Bowl-LITE – Cognitive Kid, Inc.
Requirements: Compatible with
Size: 0 MB
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NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.
Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).