Review by Jenny Bristol, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2014

Space Base-10

Fast arcade-style game aimed at scientific-notation practice

Subjects & skills
  • Math

  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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Pros: Teaches students to calculate scientific-notation conversions very quickly.

Cons: The arcade-game style may overshadow learning.

Bottom Line: It's a highly targeted experienced aimed directly at scientific notation, which it does well, even with the sometimes distracting arcade-style play.

Teachers can use this game as a fun way to reinforce and review scientific notation. It's best used after scientific notation is taught in class, including lessons on how to manipulate the numbers to achieve different exponents and coefficients. Once that foundation is laid, Space Base-10 will be excellent, quick reinforcement.

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Space Base-10 is an arcade-style game that teaches students to work with numbers in scientific notation. Students attempt to convert a number (which is in scientific notation) on a spaceship to a goal number (also in scientific notation) by guiding smaller-numbered ships to multiplication or division docking bays.

Each of the 12 game levels has four goals. Higher levels include decimals as well as addition and subtraction. A Getting Started tutorial is fairly effective, but descriptive screens don't display long enough for kids to fully internalize the information. Pausing the game at those points helps. The help screen isn't informative enough about what objects in the game do, nor is it accessible during gameplay. No feedback is offered to guide students during the game.

If students can look past the game's arcade style, they'll gain a lot of practice manipulating numbers written in scientific notation. Multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction are all addressed as students progress through the levels. Students can play any level at any time, so if early levels are too easy, they can jump higher quickly; by the time they complete all levels, they should have a high level of comfort with the topic.

Players are timed, which can create a lot of pressure to calculate what's needed in a short period of time and may be stressful for students at first. Once they’re comfortable with gameplay, however, they'll be able to think quickly on their feet. Eventually, however, the game becomes more about dodging objects and conserving time and fuel and less about math.

Overall Rating

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

Arcade-game feel will draw in some students, while line graphics might turn off others. Still, gameplay makes students want to succeed.

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

Time pressure teaches students to calculate scientific-notation conversions very quickly.

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

The beginning tutorial is helpful, but it and the initial help screen are not well-designed. Help cannot be accessed from within the game.

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