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JFK Moonshot

App review by
Keri Wilmot, Common Sense Media
JFK Moonshot App Poster Image
Shoot for the stars with free, immersive AR history lesson.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

JFK Moonshot includes opportunities for users to learn all about the United State's participation in the space race initiated by President John F. Kennedy, and also includes educational activities like launching the Saturn V rocket through augmented reality.

Ease of Play

Users need to be comfortable holding the iPad with two hands while rotating it side to side, as well as coordinating the use of the camera while simultaneously tapping on the screen to use the augmented reality features. Users need to be able to read proficiently in order to fully access the content included in the articles.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that JFK Moonshot is a free entertainment app that educates users on President John F. Kennedy's involvement in the NASA space program during the 1960's including the launch of the Saturn V rocket during the Apollo 11 mission, using an augmented reality (AR) experience. The app includes real audio, video and images from President John F. Kennedy's speeches, in addition to quizzes, games, and articles that educate and entertain using AR technology.  Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

JFK MOONSHOT is an entertainment app that provides users -- both kids and adults -- an opportunity to learn about space exploration in the 1960's, under President John F. Kennedy's administration. Once the app is loaded, there are four different options in the menu: The Launch, The Track, The Log, and The Games. In "The Launch," users learn about the Apollo 11 mission, through augmented reality, as they participate in the launch of the Saturn V rocket. After activating the device's camera, using the AR technology, which includes rotating the device and tapping to place the rocket, users can tap the rocket, and learn about different features of the rocket before they participate in the launch. After the rocket lifts off, "The Track," uses a chronological timeline to follow along with the Saturn V's highlights during the 4 day mission into space, resulting in the thrill of hearing "Mission Accomplished," as users can watch a digital re-enactment of the lunar landing. "The Log" includes dozens of original photographs, videos, audio recordings and broadcasts from the mission, such as President Kennedy's speeches that propelled the United States into the "Space Race," broadcast interviews with crew members, mission control audio, seeing "the Eagle" descend onto the moon, watching the Earth rise over the moon and footage from the first spacewalk on the Moon.  "The Games" section, offers 6 games to play, all which start with a multiple choice quiz. Games include "Rocket Assembly, Earth Launch, Moonbound, Moon Landing, Moon Walk, and Rendezvous. In "Rocket Assembly" users use AR to build the rocket and learn about features. In Earth Launch, players engage in tasks needed to launch the rocket. In Moonbound, assist the crew in detaching the rocket from Saturn V and continue their journey aboard Columbia. In Moon Landing, be the pilot who practices landing the Lunar Module. In Moon Walk, take the Moon Walk in Neil Armstrong's boots! In Rendezvous, assist the Lunar Module in attaching to Columbia prior to re-entry from space.

Is it any good?

This unique app offers an interactive way to learn about the timeline of these events, using augmented reality technology, combining history of the past with the technology of the future. The 1960's was an exciting time in history, given the advancements of science, technology, engineering and math, which allowed the United States to expand their space programming, with the support of President John F. Kennedy. The JFK Moonshot app is not only a tribute to President Kennedy's commitment, but it also give kids an immersive experience around the space race. Using a larger device like an iPad requires use of it with two hands to frequently maneuver the device and hold it while accessing some of the hidden, embedded video and audio content, so a proper case is necessary to keep the device secure. Science, history, and technology enthusiasts of all ages will enjoy exploring many of the features of the app. While it may not be an experience that elicits repeat play value over time, it's an excellent collection of the highlights of some of the best audio and photographic content from all of the "firsts" in space, allowing it to be a great learning learning opportunity for kids who are looking to expand their knowledge of space history or grandparents who may want to share their memories with the younger generation.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how JFK Moonshot is a great way to learn about the important details of space history in the United States. Having a hard time remembering all the details needed in class? The games, quizzes, videos and articles may help to reinforce learning in a fun way.

  • Planning to visit The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, MA? The JFK Moonshot app can be utilized in the museum, but either way, don't limit the AR experience to inside the house, try launching the rocket and playing games using the device outdoors, too.

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