The girls have really enjoyed reviewing Mayan Mysteries by Dig-it Games.
The game is designed by professional archaeologist and former middle-school teacher Suzi Wilczynski and is a fun, puzzle based computer game where children learn about Mayan culture and history as they attempt to solve a mystery. The opening screen is a comic which sets the scene and introduces you to various characters, they in turn each have information to share with you and challenges to set.
Once I showed the Lilly and Sunflower how to load the game they were off - it's really easy to play. The girls worked together to answer questions - correct answers earn points and lead to the next stage in solving the mystery.
The game has plenty of information about the Mayan culture which has to be read during your quest. This information appears as a book on screen and is quite short and easy to read (there is an audio button for non readers). After the information has been read they set different challenges and test to see how much has been learnt. The challenges are varied and include; dig up and identify artifacts, treasure hunts through time, correctly marking ancient cities on maps, making a Mayan calendar, calculating the value of good in the marketplace etc. Topics covered include Mayan calenders, how they calculated time, counting system, cities, culture, social system, sacrifices, artifacts etc.
I loved that the game encourages critical thinking skills and that the girls really engaged with the game - it has sparked a real passion with them and they can't wait to play part 2 :)
Mayan Mysteries is available for $21.99 for a year or as iPad app at $9.99. Mayan Mysteries is designed for grades 5-9. There is a sample you can play to see how it works for you.
You can see what my crew mates thought over at the TOS Blog