Just in time for Presidents Day the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum has launched a new FREE app, The JFK Challenge. The app is designed for children from 8-12 years old and teaches them about President John F. Kennedy (JFK) and the legacies his Presidency left behind, focusing on the Peace Corps and the Space Race. The JFK Challenge app is totally free, with no adverts or in-app purchases and was created with support of a grant from Disney. You can learn more about the app by visiting JFKChallenge.org
As the app opens you are transported back in time to John. F Kennedy’s inaugural address as he becomes the 35th President of the United States and the youngest US President elected to office. JFK ‘s voice booms out “Ask not what your country can do for you- ask what you can do for your country.” Historical photographs, video and audio recordings bring history as we learn about JFK’s life before becoming President of the United States, as well as highlights of his Presidency.
In 1961 President Kennedy founded the Peace Corps, a program which continues to this day and has sent over 200,000 trained volunteers overseas. In that same year he challenged America “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” Players can choose from two missions to complete, where they learn more about the Space Race or the Peace Corps.
In this game you get to take the role of a Peace Corp volunteer who is going to Columbia. First you prepare by learning some words of Spanish. Next you practice digging waterways avoiding obstacles on the way, then learn to make bricks from water, gravel and cement, and use them to build. All of these skills get put to use later in the game once you begin the mission.
You learn some geography as you see countries where other Peace Corps volunteers are going, learn about the projects they will work on, and see photographs of real Peace Corps projects in these countries.
After training is complete you go on your mission to Columbia, where you work to help provide clean drinking water to a village, and construct buildings using the skills learned in training. You will need to work fast to get the projects completed before the rainy season arrives. Once you have completed the building projects you get to explore the village and learn about local culture.
In this mission you get to join NASA as an Astronaut. You learn about the history of the Space race from the time in 1961 that JFK sets the challenge for a man to walk on the moon, until 1969 when that vision becomes reality.
At NASA you first learn to steer a spacecraft and practice operating the lunar module to safely land it. Next as you assemble your spacesuit you learn about its different components and why they are needed.
With your training complete you move on to launch day where you send the crew of Apollo 11 into space and discard the various stages of the rocket once they have done their job. Then you fly your rocket to the moon avoiding debris on the way, before putting your landing skills to the test as you maneuver the lunar module safely down onto the lunar surface. Once you have safely landed you can explore the moon learning about both the moon and the Apollo 11 mission.
This is a great app for teaching children (and adults!) about JFK, the Space Race and the Peace Corps. I love how it uses historical photos, video and audio recordings to really bring history to life. It uses a combination of the old and the new, combining both archive material and engaging video game activities to both educate and entertain. Although it is designed for children from 3rd Grade up I think it will appeal to an even broader age range – I can see children as young as First Grade enjoying it, and even as an adult I learned from it. This app teaches history, geography, science, Spanish and encourages exploration and interest in other countries and cultures. This is a very well made app and I would highly recommend downloading it today. A free app that should not be missed!
To download please use this link: JFK Challenge – John F. Kennedy Library Foundation
by John F. Kennedy Library Foundation
Take the JFK Challenge – fly to the moon or help people around the world! This immersive app from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library transports kids back in time to train for the Apollo 11 mission.
NOTE: A fee was received to feature this app.