Mission US: Think Fast! About the Past

App review by
Stacy Zeiger, Common Sense Media
Mission US: Think Fast! About the Past App Poster Image
History trivia game is informative, if a little random.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn some of the basic facts about colonial America and the era of slavery as they answer multiple-choice or true/false questions. Although the game aspires to test kids' knowledge, the randomness of certain facts and the simplicity of the questions take away some of the effectiveness. However, kids who take the time to read the explanations can learn a lot about both periods of history explored here. Mission US: Think Fast! About the Past is a fun way to commit history trivia to memory, but it could expand on content to maximize learning. 

Ease of Play

Kids choose one of two missions, and narrators provide clear instructions, but kids may not connect the answers to trivia questions to a particular mission nor follow their progress on the map.

Violence

Some questions and explanations connect with Revolutionary War and Civil War violence.

Sex
Language

A sarcastic narrator calls players "farmboy" and uses other innocent terms that have a negative connotation.

Consumerism

Promotes the online version of the game and prominently displays logos of corporate and nonprofit sponsors on the main page.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mission US: Think Fast! About the Past provides kids with a basic overview of the facts of both colonial America and the era of slavery but doesn't really go in depth. Although questions may not require critical thinking, detailed explanations help improve kids' understanding of the time periods (if they take the time to read them). While trying to answer questions quickly, move along the map, and complete the task, some kids may rush through the questions and explanations.

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What's it about?

To play MISSION US: THINK FAST! ABOUT THE PAST, kids choose from one of two missions. Mission One introduces them to Royce, who lives in 1770, and Mission Two introduces them to Lucy, who lives in 1850. In Mission One, kids get to know Royce and his trademark sarcasm as he comments on how they answer questions about colonial America. In Mission Two, Lucy is notably silent and offers no commentary as kids answer basic true/false questions about the era of slavery. Both missions give kids a task and have them answer questions to successfully complete the task, advancing to different locations on a map until they reach their destination. As kids answer questions, they receive detailed text explanations of the correct answers.

Is it any good?

With Mission US: Think Fast! About the Past, kids can brush up on some of the basic facts about colonial America and the era of slavery. Mission One features a sarcastic narrator and period background music, which really helps kids get into the spirit of the game. Mission Two, however, lacks the same polish, offering no comments from the narrator during the game and presenting only true/false questions. Although kids may really get into the spirit of Mission One, they will be sorely disappointed by Mission Two. In both missions, the questions serve as a means to help kids travel along a map to fulfill a specific mission. Unfortunately, it's hard to see how the mission connects to answering questions correctly, and the map becomes a distraction while kids try to answer the questions.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about these difficult times in American history. Check out books about colonial America or the era of slavery and encourage kids to pay attention to how their lives differ from the lives of kids during those times.

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  • If possible, take a tour of a local museum or historical site related to one of the two periods in the game to give kids a hands-on experience with history.

App details

  • Devices: iPad, Android
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: October 12, 2012
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 20.20 MB
  • Publisher: WNET
  • Version: 1.0
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 4.0 or later

For kids who love history

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