How many of you have wished at some time that you could be an archaeologist? I confess, I have always been interested in that field of study, except for the dirt and the sweat. Kind of hard to avoid since most of the work happens in hot, dry places. LOL Well, I have found the “perfect” place in which to learn and use my budding archaeology skills-it’s a computer game from Dig-It Games: www.dig-itgames.com
Their first game is called Roman Town, and as part of The OldSchoolhouse Crew, we were given the opportunity to review it for them.
Well, before I tell you about how my son and I “fought” over playing time, let me tell you a little about it.
As per the website: “Founded by a professional archaeologist and teacher, Dig-It! Games promotes learning through active discovery and the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills in young learners. Dig-It! Games presents authentic and accurate historical information that conforms to the curriculum mandates and Standards of Learning of many states. Dig-It! Games creates “hands-on” learning games that can be played at home, used as course supplements, and adapt easily to the classroom.”
Now, in my words: Roman Town is an interactive computer game that gives anyone, from about age 8 to “88”, (well, actually, it’s geared for 5th-8th grades) a chance to discover what archaeology is like and in this particular case, to uncover what an actual Roman Town would have been like in the 1st century.
When you enter the game, you “meet” the professor who has hired you on to supervise an excavation of a (fictional) town-Fossura, Italy, which was close to Mt. Vesuvius. You also meet two children: Marcus and Lucia who are actually from that time period. They have come from the past and are curious about what is going on at the site of their home. The storyline continues as the professor explains what he is doing to them and sometimes they even help identify and explain the artifacts. You, as the player first go to the dig site. There you choose from a variety of tools, whose uses have been explained to you earlier, and little flags pop up and you click a tool and then a flag, and this cute little red stick person begins to dig. When the digger finds something, a green balloon shape pops up, and you, the player, click it and the game takes you to another page where by using a trowel, you uncover an artifact.
After it is uncovered, you can choose to L.E.A.R.N. more about it- (Locate Engrossing And Remarkable Knowledge) and then you can return to the dig and continue. Once all the artifacts in that area have been uncovered, you go to the lab and there you analyze the pieces by sorting them, playing games, taking a tour of a reconstructed room, reconstructing artifacts, and more. Here’s an example of an activity from the Lab:
and a reconstruction:
Before you can proceed to the next level, you have to take a quiz and then fill in a report form.
There are 6 levels in all. And, you cannot skip ahead; you have to go in order. There are many, interesting things to learn about a variety of objects at each level; I really am getting a good knowledge of Roman culture. (Oh, I think I meant that my son is learning quite a bit about Roman culture.)
Here are some more pictures:
a view of a room you reconstruct, and
another room where you play a memory game, and
an example of uncovering a find
Roman Town sells as a CD-Rom for $39.95, but, you, as my wonderful readers, can get a great discount until Feb. 21. Just use this code: TOS2011 which gets you 20% off the 2010 price of $24.95. That makes your price for the next 2 weeks less than $20!
In order to play Roman Town on your computer you will need: at least an 800 Mhz CPU, 512 MB or RAM, and 350 MB of hard drive space. At this time it is only available for the PC, but the MAC version is coming soon, according to the website.
I’d also like to share some specific ideas/opinions we have from playing the game: Pros: great graphics, background music that helps set the mood, fun games, we loved the reconstructing projects-even though some of them were quite challenging, and the other lab activities
My son specifically said he enjoyed the lab work the best. He said the digging part was a bit slow; you have to wait for the little digger to uncover something before you can move on. He even read most of the text and seemed to do really well, with just minimal help on the reports, and he is not a strong reader, so I was glad about that.
Cons: my biggest regret/suggestion is that there is no audio. It would be great if an option to hear someone reading all the text aloud could be added. Anyone who chose to read alone could do so, but we would have loved having someone read us the information. I understand that for the intended age group, most of them would be competent readers, but it would enhance the game to include the auditory learning style to have sound. (We just enjoyed this so much, that I would love to get more and have my younger children enjoy it too.)
Also, two more minor things: I would have liked to have a way to save my progress on a level so I didn’t have to start over digging again, and I had trouble using more than one digger at once because I’d miss some finds while I was looking at others. This is SUCH a fun game, and I think, with a little modification, it could be even better! I really hope Dig-It! Games comes out with more levels, because next year, my children will be studying Ancient Roman times, and when we finish this one, we’ll want to learn more! And, I’d love to ask for games that showcase other cultures as well. Thank you, Dig-It! Games for creating such a fun, interactive way to learn in an amazing field of study that is not easily accessible to all.
To read what my other crewmates thought of Dig-It! Games Roman Town, click here: http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/783744/
You can also find them on Facebook. Click here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dig-It-Games/26063254665