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Pros: Good variety of learning and practice modes; reward games are skill-based.
Cons: Missing help options in some sections could cause roadblocks.
Bottom Line: Fun collection of lessons and games drives home math concepts.
Assign a Driving Test as a pre-test before jumping into a Mathseeds unit. Lessons are long enough to really drive home an idea. These lessons can be used as a self-guided activity that students revisit over time, so they're great for learning centers. If students are working independently, teachers may want to keep an eye out for any signs of frustration. Although some incorrect answers are met with hints or strategies to redirect the learner to the correct answer, some aren't. In some sections, an incorrect answer can be picked over and over again without options for help or redirection.
The scores for end-of-lesson quizzes are displayed in the assignments section. Displayed accuracy scores are good for deciding who may need some small group time to review the topic together before students take another shot at the lesson.
Part of the Teacher Toolkit contains handy resources that extend to grades K–4, and include standards-aligned assessments. These ready-to-print assessments include a score sheet to help teachers track student progress. The Big Books section offers digital books on all sorts of great math ideas. Engage the "Read To Me" function, and even your youngest readers can have a great guided reading experience that also supports their mathematics.
The web-based math program Mathseeds provides K–2 students with lessons, practice, and problem-solving activities. Lessons are taught by fun characters who discuss mathematical ideas and ask leading questions. With cute animal characters and brightly colored scenery, lessons seem more like the cartoons kids love to watch on television -- perfect to keep young kids interested. Videos are interactive, stopping every few minutes to ask questions students can answer with a click of a mouse. Activities in each section vary from interaction with images to using number lines and tables to tackling word problems with a guided problem-solving strategy. Completing a section earns kids points, which can be redeemed for game time and for changes to their fun acorn avatar.
Teachers can assign specific lessons and monitor progress from a straightforward looking dashboard. Once an assignment is created, it cannot be edited, only deleted, so teachers will need to double-check assignment details before assigning each lesson. Reports include information about time on task, course progress, and quiz scores as well as a section to print encouraging certificates.
Kids will want to watch Mathseed's lesson videos and play the games. Even the exciting reward games are skill-based, filling each part of the program with learning opportunities. Lessons are designed to drive home concepts through carefully scaffolded presentation and practice activities. What's lacking are more help features for kids; perhaps an adaptive feature could identify when a student has given multiple incorrect answers or is quickly clicking (perhaps guessing) and re-loop an instructional video into their learning path. Students who just click choices will eventually land on correct answers, however, and still earn points -- and students who are "quick on the click" will be identified when they attempt the end-of-lesson quiz, which requires a score of 70% or above.