Review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated March 2017
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Zap Zap Math - K6 Math Games

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Space-themed practice tool aligns well with CCSS, but with distractions

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • Math

Skills
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
K-6
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (1 Review)

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Pros: Games are beautifully designed and target essential Common Core standards.

Cons: Some of the games are a bit cumbersome, so it takes a long time to get to the actual math.

Bottom Line: These interactive games give kids plenty of practice, so long as they can focus on the math and not the paid upgrades and rewards.

Teachers can use Zap Zap Math for targeted practice in the classroom. The games align very well with Common Core math standards and could serve as a pre-assessment tool, giving kids practice before a high-stakes exam. Choose a standard to practice from the appropriate grade level, and then choose a skill. Have kids complete a skill and track their progress on the teacher dashboard. Instructional feedback is not built into the games, so teachers need to provide their own remediation if needed.

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Kids start playing Zap Zap Math games by selecting a grade and a skill: training, accuracy, speed, or mission. The games default to the first set of Common Core standards listed, but these can also be selected before playing a game if kids want to practice a specific standard. Each skill takes a different approach on a standard, with the mission skill being the most challenging. In this skill, kids must apply what they've learned to complete a task. A web-based teacher dashboard allows for progress tracking once kids enter a code from the app.

For each level within a skill, kids earn points and rewards they can use to decorate rooms inside a spaceship. It's always nice to have motivating rewards, but the reward window pops up after kids complete a level. This, along with the frequently busy screen, might distract some kids who just want to get stuff.

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With Zap Zap Math, kids can learn about many concepts covered by Common Core math standards. These standards are sometimes hard to break down into meaningful, kid-friendly lessons, but the app does an excellent job of addressing this challenge; kids could benefit from the practice that the games provide. Having four skills within the same set of standards is also a great way for kids to deepen their understanding of the standards. Since kids do not receive instructional feedback for incorrect answers, it's important that teachers use the dashboard to monitor progress and provide reinforcement as needed.

The game is filled with lots of bells and whistles, which could be engaging and motivational to some kids. However, the constant music and reward and purchase pop-ups are a bit much. The graphics are fun, but some take a while to load. Overall, Zap Zap Math offers plenty of practice for kids who are trying to master Common Core math standards.

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Overall Rating

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

Graphics and rewards pull kids in, and the variety of interactive games should keep them going.

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

Students play games to practice skills and then apply what they practiced to solve higher-order thinking problems. The reward system is motivating but could distract some kids from learning.

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

Not all the games are intuitive, but animated instructions help. Instructional feedback for incorrect answers, at least at the training skill level, would improve support.


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