Review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated June 2014
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xGerms Counting

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Helpful hints, whimsical rewards boost early math learning

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
  • Math
  • Health & Wellness
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Pre-K-1
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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. 

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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.

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Overall Rating

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

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

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

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

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


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