Enter young Nathaniel, Wheeler - a farm boy from Uxbridge with dreams to become a successful printer in Boston. After his father drops him off to enter his apprenticeship, Nathaniel finds himself in the very heart of political conflict and social strife, as the community struggles from within to come to terms with a true purpose and future for the colony.
American history is a story not only of freedom and liberty, but also intriguing characters, personal struggles and communities ripped apart by politics. In 1770 Boston, you were either for the crown, or for the colony. Choosing either side presented many social and even financial difficulties - and sometimes it led to violence.
In this amazing adventure, children get to explore this strange town alongside Nathaniel, meeting historical figures and seeing the sites that will seem both familiar and brand new. Along the way, children will learn not only textbook American history, but also a few interesting tales that they may not have known about this contentious time in America's past.
Mission U.S. Main Menu
When you first start Mission U.S. as a student player, you'll see the list of game segments available. If you haven't completed any of the parts yet, then only the first task will be available. As you work your way through the story and help Nathaniel make it through each stage, each new level becomes activated.
Starting in the prologue, you'll learn about Nathaniel and a little bit about the farm where he grew up. You'll learn about his dream to become a master printer, as well as his hopes and fears about leaving home to live and work in Boston.
Each video sequence includes wonderful graphics, music and narration that make this one of the most captivating educational games online. As the storyline draws students in, they won't even realize that they are learning a great deal about American history and what colonial life was like in the 1700s.
During the adventure, whenever the student clicks on an object or a place, they are provided with both information about characters, places and things in the game, as well as important historical information and fact. The way historic information is embedded into the game play encourages better retention of that information.
Characters Come Alive
Each interaction with a character includes an impressive graphical representation of that person in cartoon form, text at the bottom of the screen to show the conversation, as well as the authentic audio voice of that character saying those words. The student has an opportunity to interact with the character by picking responses at the bottom of the screen.
Along the way, certain words in different conversations are highlighted. These are important historic terms that represent a fact the student should learn about American history. Students are encouraged to click on those terms, read the definition and "collect" those smartwords for points.
The Game Map
During the game, the student can direct Nathaniel where to go by selecting locations on the map screen. Important tasks to complete are listed at the top, with big green checkmarks over the completed tasks. At the bottom of the screen, there's the menu, collected smartwords, Nathaniel's inventory with any items he's collected during the adventure, and of course the map view.
Students Learn About Important Places
As students explore the 1770s version of Boston, they'll learn about some of the historic places they could even visit today. The game reveals some of the history of that location, and of course the history comes alive because it is a part of the storyline of the game.
Teacher and Parent Resources
Since this game is created primarily as an important educational resource, there are also many volumes of fantastic educational guides that provide instructions, exercises and information that teachers or parents can use to discuss the game and the plot with students. This material helps to solidify game play with supporting educational instruction.
Of course, sometimes it's just fun to kick back and play an arcade style game - and Mission U.S. provides just the solution for a quick break. Clicking on "Pennywhistle Hero" in the menu system brings up a fun arcade game that's based on the popular Guitar Hero video game.
Students simply place their fingers over the correct number keys and try to keep up with the colors as they flow into the flute and the correct tune plays. If the student hits the wrong key - the note sounds out of tune!
Mission U.S. is one of those rare, free educational websites that is truly the best of both worlds. It provides a valuable historical lesson to students, and it also offers hours of entertainment that they will look forward to every day.
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