While looking for some engaging resources in preparation for studying and visiting Rome, we came across an amazing computer program created by Dig-It Games called Mayan Mysteries. The Younger Fives weren’t exactly hesitant when given the opportunity to play a video game to learn more about the Mayans, and the Older Fives lost any reservations they may have had once they saw the incredible, engaging learning packed into every moment of the game.
The game grabs kids’ (and adults’) attention from the very start. The game’s opening (as well as parts of the story later on) is told in graphic novel form, which gives players the opportunity to absorb information from the art as they read. From there, players travel to several real Mayan sites and complete challenges to advance. Some of the activities follow a set format, such as reading a page from an archaeologist’s journal, evading looters by answering questions correctly, and labeling information on a map. Others are unique to each level, such as using Mayan math to help a king figure out the amount of tribute owed, using archaeological equipment to retrieve artifacts from a dig site, or entering a temple and collecting artifacts that follow a certain theme. As parents, we couldn’t be more impressed with how the game teaches a ton of historical information in a way that ensures players encounter facts in a variety of contexts and apply them during the game play.
Fives’ Facts about Mayan Mysteries
* Format and Cost: There is an single-player online and iPad version costing $3.99 (there is also a classroom version).
* Age: Designed for grades 5-9, but there is much that younger players can handle on their own. A nice feature is that all text can be read aloud by clicking an icon.
* Duration: The game is estimated to take 9+ hours. It automatically saves your progress, so it is easy to stop and pick up where you left off later on.
* Accuracy: All content was verified by a Mayan expert
* Other Titles: The company’s other main game is Rome Town (it is being updated at the moment but should be available soon). They also have a series of math apps called Loot Pursuit.