Review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2014
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Twelve a Dozen

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Engrossing math platformer puts problem-solving skills to the test

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
  • Math
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
4-8
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Pros: Learning is seamlessly integrated with a whimsical story line and highly engaging gameplay.

Cons: Targeting specific skills isn't an option.

Bottom Line: This absorbing game challenges kids' math and thinking skills as much as it entertains.

Since the focus of Twelve a Dozen is on learning through play as opposed to targeted skill practice, the game will serve best as a supplement to instruction. In order to fully benefit and understand what they are doing, kids should have a basic understanding of the four mathematical operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) before playing. Have kids work independently or with a partner and challenge them to complete as many levels as possible in a certain amount of time. Conduct occasional class-wide discussions to find out what kids found most challenging. It could be fun to hold a friendly competition to see who can finish all 30 levels first and help Twelve save her family. 

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While there aren't any explicit instructions, a friendly, charming narrator (who is cleverly named Dot -- as in a decimal point) guides kids through this engaging platform-style puzzle game. It starts with a brief, illustrated story about the destruction of Dozenopolis and the introduction of the main character, Twelve. Through 30 different levels that increase in difficulty, kids help Twelve travel across the town so she can save her family. Along the way, math-related challenges must be overcome. For example, in the first level, kids have to add 1 to 12 in order to make 13. This unlocks a power so Twelve can pass through an obstacle. As kids complete each level, they unlock the next and get closer to helping Twelve and her family. Levels include addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

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Twelve a Dozen is a rare gem that offers the opportunity for kids to truly learn through gameplay. Instead of specific, targeted practice or drill-style worksheets, kids get a highly engaging, meaningful learning experience. Even kids who are above the skill of addition in the first level will be absorbed by the puzzle-like challenges and arcade-style gameplay. Critical-thinking skills are tested over and over again as kids must determine what power they need (and thus, what math operations they should perform) to move Twelve through the obstacles. If you're looking for a game that effectively combines learning and core math skills with gameplay, while also promoting deep critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, then Twelve a Dozen is a home run.

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Overall Rating

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

There is something addictive about saving Dozenopolis -- it's fun, fully engaging, and hard to put down.

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

Learning is seamlessly integrated with gameplay, and the challenges become increasingly difficult as kids complete each level. 

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 access hints as they play, although some of the hints are vague. The developer's website has an introductory video about the game and an up-to-date community blog.


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