Sunday, January 17, 2016

Rock and Teach Review: National Geographic Puzzle Explorer App

Hey all! Happy Sunday! And to some, happy loooong weekend! We have MLK day off (Monday) and Tuesday is a teacher work day. So next week is only three-days-of-teaching long! I'm definitely going to take advantage of the day off to SLEEP and the work day to CATCH UP on grades, data charts, anchor charts, room redecorating, etc, etc, etc... I'm thinking I may need more than one work day.... EEK! lol

I'm so excited to review an awesome new FREEEEE app that you can start using in your classroom TOMORROW. Because it's FREE. And AWESOME. Do you have students that like Minecraft? I know mine do... That's why I was SO gosh darn excited about the National Geographic Puzzle Explorer App!! 
This app allows kiddos to build puzzle mazes using different types of blocks (very Minecraft-y).

Thanks to Donors Choose and the most generous donors EVER, my classroom has FOUR iPads. WOOT! Last week I downloaded the app on all of our iPads and let my kiddos explore. The intro gave the students all the information they need to be successful with this app. My tech savvy kiddos had no problem picking up how to solve a puzzle and create a puzzle. 
Some of the awesomeness my students found was: 
   - They get to SOLVE puzzles 
   - They get to BUILD puzzles and then SHARE with their friends to see if they can solve them
   - There are CAMERAS within the puzzles that lead to cool pics and information 

Some of the awesomeness I found was:
   - When they're SOLVING puzzles, they're working on problem solving and logic
   - When they're BUILDING puzzles, they're planning, sequencing and strategizing
   - The CAMERAS expose them to gorgeous, eye-catching pictures full of informative facts

My favorite part of this app is the pictures and information my students are exposed to while "playing". Included in the FREE download is pictures and facts about the Yucatan Peninsula. Other packages include Antartica, the Himalayas, the Nile River (OMG I LOVE EVERYTHING EGYPT) and the Australian outback! Fabulous, aye mate? 

After the initial exploring, I decided to have the kiddos write down these fantastic facts they came across. We're studying information texts in reading right now, so it was a PERFECT tie in. The kids were so excited to find info their friends hadn't found yet and share with the class... They ate this fact finding activity up and didn't even realize they were getting all educational-y! And LOOK at that picture!! 
Check out some of the other fabulous features! 
- 48 National Geographic Photo Fact insights from 5 Regions around the World.
- FREE Yucatan Region; Purchase the Exploration Package with Antarctica and the Himalayas. Purchase the Expedition Package with the Nile River Valley and the Australian Outback.
- Easy to follow multimedia step-by-step maze design Instructions make creation easy and fun.
- 20 unique obstacle blocks can be mixed and match to provide thousands of puzzle designs!

I already loved the Nat Geo Puzzle Explorer App, but made me 100% decide to put this app into our iPad rotation time was the reviews my kiddos gave. Cutest part was THEY wanted to review it. One even gave it five stars!! 

Straight out'ta the mouths of my 4th grade babes: 

Wondering where you can get this fab app? iTunes, of course! Click the pic below to be taken to the iTunes preview! 

Want more information on the app? Check out the Puzzle App website HERE! There are links to info for teachers and parents!

Don't have iPads in your classroom? Then check out THIS great paper puzzle craft-ivity by Nat Geo! I see a math connection here with all those 3D shapes!! 

Are you thinking of downloading? I'd love to hear your thoughts! 
Do you already use this app? I'd love to hear how you're using it in your classroom!!

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