App review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated June 2014
XGerms Counting
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XGerms Counting

Helpful hints, whimsical rewards boost early math learning

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Editorial review by Common Sense Education
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Grades
Pre-K–1 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.
Subjects & Skills
Math, Health & Wellness, Character & SEL, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Cute graphics and motivational rewards make counting fun.

Cons: The activities are redundant and could use some variety to keep kids interested.

Bottom Line: This is a fun introduction to counting, with cute graphics and solid learning progression, but has a limited engagement factor.

xGerms Counting is so easy to use that even kids in preschool could play independently. However, if devices are limited, you can enter up to three players per device and have kids take turns completing a level. The game would work well as a learning center activity or as brief practice following whole-class instruction. After kids play, have them share the awards they won and the levels they've completed. To provide more motivation, create a class leaderboard and encourage kids to earn the top spot.

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At the home screen, users can enter up to three players. Kids start by choosing a player and tapping on the first level. A large germ surrounded by several smaller germs appears in the middle of the screen. Audio and text instructions tell kids how many germs to tap and count. Kids have to either count up or count down and then tap a check button when they're finished. There are 16 levels, and kids have to unlock one level to progress to the next one. An award screen displays the awards kids earn, which range from trophies for finishing levels to whimsical awards for catching specific germs like the space germ or the electric germ. 

Kids tap germs to practice counting by 1s, 10s, 5s, and 2s. The game is easy to use, and young learners don't need reading skills in order to succeed. Kids will be entertained and will enjoy earning awards for counting and capturing quirky germs. Learning seamlessly progresses as kids start out counting by 1s up to 10. Then they count by 1s from 11 to 30, move on to counting by 10s, then 5s, and finally by 2s. Kids get simple, appropriate feedback for incorrect answers: too high or too low. An interactive number line could boost learning and help kids who struggle with skip counting.

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

Tapping and counting germs is fun, and the graphics are appealing. However, with little variety, kids may lose interest.   

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

Each skill has three levels of difficulty, and kids get audio and visual hints at easier levels.  

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

Navigation is simple, and audio prompts help guide kids. A parent-teacher section does not exist. 


Common Sense reviewer
Debbie Gorrell Educator

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