Review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2014
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1st Grade Math Planet – Fun Math Game Curriculum

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Mixed bag of activities and drills builds comprehension and fluency

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
  • Math
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
K-1
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Pros: Fun drills and mini-activities build comprehension and fluency; comprehensive tracking tool monitors multiple users' progress.

Cons: Hints and feedback are lacking, so kids need prior knowledge of first-grade math skills.

Bottom Line: A fun, engaging practice tool that targets important first-grade math skills.

Since the mini-activities on each "planet" aren't organized by content, you'll need to spend time reviewing the activities before using them in the classroom. However, you should find that as you progress from one planet to the next, skills become more advanced. You could use the game as a pre-assessment in the beginning of the year, and then as a mid-year and final assessment. Kids should work independently, but they can take turns and share devices since the game accommodates multiple users. Have kids complete one set of planet activities at a time. Use the Math Facts activities for building fluency in addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. 

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1st Grade Math Planet – Fun Math Game Curriculum for Kids is a comprehensive practice tool with more than 30 levels of games and plenty of math fact drills. The mini-activities range in theme and include challenges that require kids to identify numbers on a number line, pop bubbles in order, identify and pop bubbles that are less than or greater than a given number, count train cars, count groups of jellybeans, identify time on an analog clock, and more. Kids earn coins and stars for correct answers, and the activities become more difficult as they progress. The Math Facts problems are typical drills that require speed and accuracy. Kids can choose to practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. The Skill Tracker feature provides a graphical display of kids' performance in specific content areas such as add and subtract within 100, count numbers up to 50, and much more. The game accommodates multiple player profiles, making it easy to share devices in the classroom.  

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This app addresses several Common Core standards and teaches kids about addition, subtraction, number sense, telling time, and geometry.  Mini-activities related to several skills can be found within each "planet," and kids must complete a level within a planet to get to the next level. Difficulty increases as kids play, even within a single mini-activity: For example, in a bubble-popping activity about numbers, kids start by popping the bubbles in chronological order. Then, they pop bubbles that are "greater than" or "less than" a given number. In the Math Fact section, kids focus on building fact fluency. They choose a mathematical operation and then try to complete drills as quickly and accurately as possible. Kids don't receive feedback for incorrect answers; adding richer feedback and a way for teachers to track student progress outside the app would make these solid activites even more valuable. Overall, 1st Grade Math Planet – Fun Math Game Curriculum for Kids is best suited for targeted practice rather than full curriculum support. 

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

The mini-activities have variety and get more challenging as kids play, making the learning experience quite engaging.  

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

The built-in adaptive learning tool automatically adjusts to kids' skill levels. Hints and feedback could improve the learning experience. 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

The Skill Tracker gives a comprehensive view of kids' progress and areas of strengths and weaknesses. The mini-activities have clear, concise instructions and include brief tutorial animations. 


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