Zachy the Robot: Quest for the Museum Treasures is a terrific interactive app that delves into different topics of natural history in a way that is sure to captivate children and their adults.
This is the second Zachy the Robot app. This one takes place again in Robocity, focusing on a group of robot friends, the Robocity Repairbots, who help their town with their problems, as their wheelhouse is fixing structural issues in buildings, as seen in the first app which focused on engineering.
Here, the gang is brought back to add exhibits to the newly built and empty Robocity Natural History Museum, explained in the bright, colorful and fun animated intro. I love how excited these characters are by the topic of natural history – an enthusiasm that parents will hope rubs off on their children.
Three sections are included, as the gang collect fossils, minerals and dinosaur bones to be later displayed in this museum.
The Fossils section begins with a map showing ten dig sites to choose from to search for relics. After choosing a site to work in, one will then use a chisel to dig under the ground to find buried fossils.
Once the treasures are dug up, a matching section is to be completed as index fossils are explored and the newly dug treasures are matched to boxes of previously dated fossils – though not yet unpacked.
Next is a maze area through which one needs to help a robot move in the museum with the exhibit – a space crowded with clutter and other objects not yet unpacked which creates the maze and the obstacles that one needs to navigate with the tilting of the iPad.
Once users are past the maze, the fossil is placed in the exhibit, and more is learned about what has been found. As other fossils are collected, do look back at this area of the app of Invertebrate Fossils ranging from both the Paleozoic and Mesozoic Eras.
In the mineral area, a list of minerals one can choose from is offered to the user, and once a choice is made, a map will show the different areas of the world where this mineral is sourced, sometimes including more than one location that one needs to explore in this content-rich educational app.
To source these materials, one must complete a simple logic puzzle that uses different minerals to complete the correct pattern. After the minerals are sourced, the mayor of Robocity appears to tell the workers that he needs various supplies for the city that are manufactured with the mineral in question, teaching children the practical uses for what was found, such as drill bits from diamonds, or zinc for sunblock.
Because of this, children will then need to sort mineral pieces for the museum worthy for showing as well as the more industrial samples and waste rocks that need to be discarded.
A nice animated section explains how the raw material is sent to a factory to ultimately be transformed into a useful product.
It is worth noting that both minerals and elements are included, sectioned accordingly in an area that saves the found materials to be read about later – a great resource to read to oneself.
The dinosaur exhibit section is just as interesting, allowing children to choose a dig site from a world map, dig for fossils as well as put these bones back together in a puzzle activity. Also included is a dinosaur-viewing screen allowing children to see with animation what the dino in question may have looked like when alive many years ago.
I really appreciate how the background seen at all the various dig sites from each of these three sections includes a specific scenic backdrop as well as related music that teaches a little about each area of the world visited – a nice touch, to be sure.
There is a vast amount of information for children to explore in this app developed in association with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, giving children many hours of science fun that parents will feel great about.
This is the second Zachy the Robot developed, and I can say we have enjoyed both apps very much. I can count the first app, Episode 1: the learning tower of robocity, on the short list of applications that my son often re-visits long after having been released. For a while now, he has been asking me when a second app would be available, and I can say that it has definitely been worth the wait.
I hope more apps from this series will be developed in the future as well because they are uniformly bright and colorful, both quite fun as well as highly educational, worthy for use in both home and in educational settings.