Review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2014
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Middle School Math Planet – Fun math game curriculum

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Challenging mix of activities and drills provide solid math practice

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.
6-8
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (1 Review)

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Pros: Fun mini-activities use instructional scaffolding to promote conceptual understanding.

Cons: Lack of direct hints and feedback limit opportunities to teach at a deeper level.

Bottom Line: Variety of activities with built-in scaffolding make this an engaging and effective practice tool.

Using the game as a practice tool will take some planning because mini-activities within each Planet aren't organized by content. For example, activities in one Planet may cover number sense, fractions, and angle measures. Spend some time playing the game to determine how to best use it. It might be best as a mid-year or end-of-year pre-assessment practice tool. The Math Facts option can easily be used for daily warm-up or practice. Kids should work individually, but they can share devices since the game accommodates multiple users.

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The two main options for play are Math Facts and Planet mini-activities. In Math Facts, kids complete a set of grade-appropriate drills as quickly and accurately as possible. In Planet mini-activities, more than 30 levels are spread across five Planets. Kids work on a variety of skills and activities with different themes. A progress-tracking program shows kids' scores as percentiles and as percent correct. Kids are motivated to earn points and stars, which they can use to unlock new avatars. A condensed, free, Android version of the game covers content for grades 2-8. 

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Kids can use Middle School Math Planet to practice and build fluency in core math skills. Content areas include number sense, estimation, fractions and mixed numbers, decimals, geometry, multiplication, division, and more. The game features mini-activities within each Planet, and kids have to complete one level in a Planet to go to the next level. Scaffolding is implemented throughout the game, even within mini-activities. For example, in a number line mini-activity, the game starts out with each interval labeled. As kids progress, labels disappear and kids have to use visual clues and estimation. The game also features a Math Facts section, in which kids choose a specific topic and race to complete drills with both speed and accuracy. Hints and feedback for incorrect answers are lacking, but this is still a solid tool for practicing key math skills. 

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Overall Rating

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

A variety of activities and themes keep kids engaged; earning points and stars motivates. 

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

Mini-activities develop conceptual understanding of the skills; Math Facts build speed and accuracy. Activities increase in difficulty as kids progress. 

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

Skill Tracker gives a comprehensive view of kids' progress as well as their strengths and weaknesses. Mini-activities have clear, concise instructions and include brief tutorial animations. 


Teacher Reviews

(See all 1 reviews) (1 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Tom W. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
North Allegheny School District
Pittsburgh, PA
Provides students a fun way to continue to practice their math skills.

I think this product will provide my students a fun way to increase their skills in math, instead of just working in Study Island.

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