Common Sense Review
Updated August 2013

Beginning Operations

Kids play with food to learn addition and subtraction
Common Sense Rating 4
  • Players choose from 4 games: two addition and two subtraction.
  • In Apple Orchard Addition, kids pick some red and some green apples then find the total apples picked.
  • In Drive-Thru Diner Addition, players add the number of hot dogs and hamburgers made to fill each order.
  • Lemonade Stand Subtraction uses the number of glasses of lemonade poured and those sold to find what's left.
  • Cookie Muncher Subtraction lets players eat some of the cookies on the tray and then find how many are left.
Pros
Four games provide variety and interest; food-themed games are fun and interesting; a variety of skill levels provide differentiation.
Cons
There is no guidance if players are struggling, so players need to have some experience with the content before playing.
Bottom Line
These engaging activities provide players with practice in addition and subtraction, though not instruction in these skills.
Alicia Carter
Common Sense Reviewer
Home-School Instructor
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

These four games covering addition and subtraction for facts up to 12 are engaging and will hold the attention of learners in the target audience. Young players will enjoy the catchy graphics and games and will come back for more.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

Addition and subtraction skills are age-appropriate and built into the games. Players choose from two difficulty levels on each game (facts up to 6 or 12), providing varied levels of difficulty.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

There are instructions for each game at the start but no option for help in the middle of the game. Some games provide additional help by displaying counting cards as objects are used. There are printable pre- and post-tests for extension.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

Beginning Operations is appropriate for users of many levels and types. Students could use the games for independent practice, either for advanced students' extension or for remediation (with lower learners). It would be an excellent resource for ELD students or students with special needs. The games will also work on an interactive whiteboard and could therefore be used for whole-class review and practice. A printable pre-test and post-test  are available also.

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What's It Like?

Beginning Operations is a series of four games designed to give practice in addition and subtraction to kindergarten and first-grade learners. There are two addition games, "Apple Orchard Addition" and "Drive-Thru Diner Addition"; and two subtraction games, "Lemonade Stand Subtraction" and "Cookie Muncher Subtraction." Players choose the game they want to play and then select a difficulty level (facts to 6 or facts to 12). Instructions for each game are available. The graphics and characters are fun and engaging, and the food-based activities have great kid appeal.

 
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Is It Good For Learning?

Beginning Operations is a fun way to get young children practicing addition and subtraction skills. The addition activities support learning by having the player count the objects being added (apples or hot dogs and hamburgers). In each case, there is a box that shows the numerals as objects are counted. The subtraction games support learning by providing visuals of glasses of lemonade or cookies being removed from the original amount. In these cases, the numerals in the subtraction equation also appear at each step. Equations are shown for each game, providing an introduction of where each part of an addition or subtraction equation comes from. The skills are built in, requiring players to complete equations correctly before moving on. When players answer incorrectly, the characters direct the player to try again. There's no instruction for users on how the skills are done, so players should have some experience with the content before playing.

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