NAME JFK Challenge
WHAT IT DOES Helps kids learn about the Apollo 11 moon landing and the Peace Corps.
HOW MUCH Free
COMPATIBLE WITH iPad with iOS 6.0 or later
WHAT’S GOOD Targeted at ages 9-11, this app from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation teaches youngsters about NASA and the Peace Corps through games and activities. Players use the iPad’s camera to take a selfie to put them into the game and then train to complete their missions: creating virtual waterways for clean drinking water and building housing as a Peace Corps volunteer; and landing the Apollo 11 lunar module on the moon as an astronaut. Along the way, users encounter archival photos, film footage and audio clips to educate them about these two organizations. There are 10 games and activities, which include mazes, time challenges, assembling a spacesuit, and steering and landing a spacecraft. Some are challenging (it took a while to learn how to finesse the landing without crashing the module), others are too simplistic (assembling the spacesuit).
WHAT’S NOT The none-too-sophisticated games most likely will only appeal to a younger audience than the one targeted here, yet the educational component will be above the heads of that same group. The app needs to be reworked with better, more intricate games to challenge the desired audience and keep their interest. Younger players can probably ace most of the activities but will need the help of an adult to read (and explain) the written segments.
BOTTOM LINE It’s free, so give it a try.