How I Use It
There are more supports for teachers than for students. Teachers can see the learning goals and how it connects with the Common Core. There are some hints for students while they are playing the game, but not enough.
These activities would work in the classroom after the students had already learned the concepts, as an extension of the lesson. They are not detailed enough explanations in the games to teach the ideas. But the teacher could individualize instruction to those students who were struggling while others practiced. One of the review questions is, did the students learn? They do not learn from the game. They would have already developed an understanding from their teacher, but the games do provide an opportunity to apply and strengthen their understanding.
I tried the games through a demo version of the account. I do not know what information is tracked and scored about each student and their performance.
This review is specifically for DreamBox's 5th grade math lessons http://www.dreambox.com/fifth-grade-math-lessons. Even within the smaller category, there was still a gap in the quality of the activities.
* Number Line to the Thousands: it was difficult to get used to the zoom. If the student got an answer wrong, the only feedback they heard was if they needed to move right or left. That was vague.
* Place Value of Numbers to the Thousandths: this was frustrating when using a touchpad. I understood the topic, but I was not being evaluated on my knowledge of the subject, but the ability to complete the task. Conversely, I could have randomly spun with no comprehension and done ok.
* Division with 10,000 Remainders: This was my favorite. The user had to divide gum balls into bags. The strategy was to divide the big numbers, by breaking it into smaller division problems.
* Add & Subtract Decimals with a Number Line: Students are prompted to manipulate a ship using a series of equations to search for hidden treasure. The idea and graphics were cute, but the transitions took too long and would lose student attention. The directions were also vague on this activity; I figured it out through trial and error, not clearly articulated goals.
* Multiplying Fractions and Multiplication Standard Algorithm: The steps and visuals for these concepts were perfect.
At the competition of each level, the student would earn digital rewards, like badges for their accomplishments.