11 Games and Apps with Great Teacher Support

July 18, 2014
Ellen Holderman
Common Sense Education

CATEGORIES Tools, Professional Development

For this week's Top Picks List Friday, we're featuring games and apps with great teacher support. Very few products have built-in help for teachers -- so when they do, we call them out. Included here are 11 winners that let teachers make custom assignments or keep track of student progress. Others have materials and lesson plans to help teachers extend lessons to the classroom.

To see the rating of each app, game, or website, visit the Top Picks List Games and Apps with Great Teacher Support.


In Prodigy -- an adaptive math practice game set in a fantasy role-playing universe -- students customize colorful, anime-style avatars and send them to the Wizard Academy to prepare for battle. Fun fantasy context and lots of teacher support keep both students and teachers happy. Read full review.

The Oregon Trail
If teachers choose to invite kids to play The Oregon Trail as part of a unit of study, they might ask them to note historical figures or U.S. landmarks they encounter along the trail, and then follow up gameplay with a research project. The official game website offers ideas on connecting gameplay to curriculum goals. Read full review.

iCivics is a fantastic way to integrate game-based learning into middle and high school social studies curricula. An extensive dashboard lets teachers create classes and assign games by state, grade level, and Common Core standards. Read full review.

Quandary is an online ethics game that teaches students how to gather and evaluate information to make better decisions. The connected website includes a teacher's section with an overview video providing teacher and student perspectives on the game. Supporting documentation provides clear lesson plans. Read full review.

Coaster Crafter
Coaster Crafter starts with a fun narrative about the owner of an amusement park and his daughter who need help designing better roller coasters. A teachers' section includes printable lesson plans for before and after the roller coaster simulation. Read full review.

Scratch can help kids of all ages learn essential programming concepts as students create narrated animations, mathematics models, or multi-stage games. The site features project galleries and forums that support student work and a teacher portal that supports teachers using the application in the classroom. Read full review.

DreamBox Learning Math
This interactive self-paced program provides engaging, adaptable math activities for individual students. In the classroom, students can access their own accounts, freeing the teacher to work with small groups while providing the rest of the class with meaningful practice and instruction. Read full review. is a Flash-based platform that boasts a dozen math games and hundreds of tutorials and quizzes -- all aligned with Common Core standards. Content can be customized for different classes and kids, and an easy-to-use dashboard helps teachers track and organize student progress. Read full review.

BrainPOP Jr.
Much of this site's curriculum-based content is aligned to state education standards. Teachers can search for specific videos and activities using the search tool, which categorizes content by subject, grade, and state standard. They can also find lesson plans, an ideas blog, and other supports on the Educators page. Read full review.

MinecraftEdu comes with a pre-installed tutorial world -- built using MinecraftEdu -- for teachers and students who don't know what the game is all about. The tutorial is a standout, cleverly mixing gameplay instruction with inspiration and philosophy. An outstanding teacher dashboard aids accessibility and customizability. Read full review.

Gamestar Mechanic
Gamestar Mechanic Teachers is an online community that helps educators learn to teach through games. It offers tutorials, materials, and lesson plans aligned to both game design and Common Core standards, and features lessons from teacher-practitioners that address both humanities and STEM content. Read full review.


What games and apps do you use that give you great teacher support and assistance? Sign in to comment below.