Review by Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2017
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PBS KIDS Measure Up!

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Fun mixes with learning in adventure-themed measurement activities

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: Creative games encourage kids to explore math concepts while having fun.

Cons: Technical problems sometimes interfere with smooth gameplay.

Bottom Line: Games and videos give kids great exposure to and practice with a variety of measurement topics.

Use PBS KIDS Measure Up! as a rotational center activity where kids can individually practice some foundational math concepts. Games address skills such as comparing length, estimating capacity, matching things that weigh the same or can hold the same volume of contents, and even get into some logical reasoning. The activities can be a fun way to get kids thinking and reasoning mathematically.

Supplement the on-screen games by playing some similar games off the screen. Compare and explore weight, length, and capacity of items around the classroom. Teachers who want to individualize kids' progress will need to create separate accounts for each kid from the four available "save slots." Then, teachers need to download the companion app with PBS Kids, create a user account, and enter a unique code generated from PBS KIDS Measure Up! If teachers are not tracking individual progress, kids can share user profiles.

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PBS Kids gathered measurement-related videos and games from three popular series and put them together in a single app that explores length and height, capacity, and weight. Kids interact with characters from Dinosaur Train, Sid the Science Kid, and Peg + Cat as they advance along three "adventures," each matching one of the three measurement themes.

PBS KIDS Measure Up! includes video clips and games that are mixed together with opportunities for open-ended measurement-related exploration and mini-assessments. For instance, kids match dinosaurs to their correct house based on height, determine how many cups of water it will take to fill a bathtub, or play with making fireworks go high in the sky. The more activities kids do, the more pieces they earn to complete three statues of the PBS Kids characters. Though the activities are presented as a progression, kids can jump around to do them in any order. A free companion app, PBS KIDS Super Vision, gives teachers progress reports on what and how kids in each of four user profiles are doing.

PBS KIDS Measure Up! offers the same quality and super kid-friendly approach we're used to seeing from PBS Kids materials. Every game and video is built on a clear learning foundation and, overall, get kids interacting with the screen and the material in a number of ways. It can be hard to represent some concepts, such as weight, without kids being able to really feel how heavy something is. Some games are quite clever and are better at representing these concepts than others; Happy Camel gets kids to use logical thinking, while other activities, such as Chow Time, are less inspired.

It's really the interactive activities that get kids deep into the material, so it might be nice to have more of those and fewer video clips. Also, some technical difficulties in starting up the games and using all the features can get in the way and may frustrate kids. But overall, PBS KIDS Measure Up! is an easily deliverable package of fun early math-themed activities.

Overall Rating

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

Fun, likable PBS Kids characters are a great draw for getting kids into the games, particularly for kids who already know and love the three featured series. A variety of activity types mixes it up and keeps kids interested.

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

Kids learn by actively exploring concepts that are introduced through songs and video clips. Some games get progressively more challenging, but none gets higher than three difficulty levels.

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

Clear, precise directions introduce each activity, and kids can always tap the question-mark button to repeat instructions. The PBS Kids website and companion app for grown-ups offer great suggestions for extending learning off the screen.

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