Review by Adirondack AccessAbility Inc., Common Sense Education | Updated April 2014
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1st Grade Splash Math Game

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Go under the sea with immersive, engaging math practice

Subjects & skills
  • Math

  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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Pros: Activities cover curriculum in a fun, engaging format that kids will love.

Cons: Progress tracking needs work: Collecting origami fish doesn't tell kids much about what they've learned.

Bottom Line: A solid math skills practice tool for independent, small-group, or whole-class activities.

Project SplashMath for the whole class to practice end-of-the-week math skills and to review previous concepts. For addition, choose the Addition folder, the Addition with Models folder, and set the numbers that have been practiced (to 10, to 20). Have the students take turns answering the questions by coming up to the iPad and completing the questions. Set up practice sessions with individuals or pairs of students to work on review or practice of skills previously and currently addressed in the classroom. Give the students 10 to 20 questions to complete. Use the built-in record-keeping system to keep track of student achievement.

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SplashMath is designed to let kids practice Common Core State Standards-aligned first grade math skills in an entertaining way. Skills addressed include Place Value, Count and Compare, Add with Models, Addition Facts, Subtract with Models, Subtraction Facts, Advanced Addition, Advanced Subtraction, Time, Money, Measurements, Geometry, Data and Graphs, Mixed Operations, and Two Digit Operations. Teachers can set up accounts for each child in the class and, within those, choose difficulty level as well as skills that are to be practiced from the above categories.

Kids tackle problem sets of math skills for the first grade level, earning little origami fish for their "aquariums" as they go. As they earn fish, they can play within the aquarium setting, making the fish dance or chase each other, feeding the fish, or dropping anvils on crabs. The app gives on-screen notifications of progress in each area as kids work through the game; teachers can retrieve this information directly from the app in its Parent section, or they can opt to receive email notifications about each kid’s progress. 

Graphics and sound are whimsical and colorful without being distracting, and on-screen instructions are clear and helpfully visual (for example, kids learn to click and drag via an animated instruction). The range of topics is great, too: This is much more than a drill-and-kill math review app. Instead, Splash Math dives deep into critical topics like number sense and explores them with depth. The origami-style fish are cute, and kids will enjoy solving math problems to earn fish for their aquariums. Parents can choose whether or not questions are read to kids (in a digitized voice), which could be helpful for kids who are pre-readers or who have reading difficulties.

The 13 chapters of math topics are well-structured and allow flexibility to target a single skill or tackle a range of topics. The biggest drawback is probably the feedback: The aquarium reward system is completely disconnected from the learning process. It would be even better if kids got more detailed feedback and more relevant milestones that helped them track their progress more meaningfully.

Overall Rating

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

Kids will love the graphics, music, and tools they can use to solve problems. The aquarium play also is fun and rewarding.

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

Kids can easily track their progress and target skills that need the most work. The aquarium rewards likely will keep kids going, though the math concepts aren't tied into those activities.

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

Kids can see how far they are into the experience as they play. Directions for kids are in text, spoken aloud, or animated.

Common Sense Reviewer
Adirondack AccessAbility Inc. Assistive Technology Consultants & Trainers

Teacher Reviews

(See all 3 reviews) (3 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Colleen M. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Lakeshore Elementary School
Holland, United States
Fun and engaging while learning math!
This program is a great teaching tool. It allows students to work independently on skills and the teacher portion allows me to see what students are working on and if they are struggling with a particular concept. I like that students are able to see that they have made progress by the fish filling in but it would be helpful to have something more concrete or structured that they can see. I like that it has a variety of 1st grade concepts that tie to the common core. Students that are advanced are n ...
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