Review by Erin Brereton, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2013

Arcademic Skill Builders

Fun games provide helpful math and language practice

Subjects & skills
  • English Language Arts
  • Math
  • Social Studies

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Pros: Kids should enjoy the interactive, fast-paced games, which correlate to Common Core standards.

Cons: Users need to pay for the educator version to regularly track kids' performance and to access additional subject matter instruction.

Bottom Line: Kids get helpful math and language practice by simply playing the site's games, but the extras that come with the educator version may be worth the additional cost.

Teachers can tie games to the class curriculum by customizing their content; for example, they can select certain addition problems for an assignment. They can also give assignments to specific students who need additional help or more challenging work. They can facilitate group learning by encouraging several students to accept a multiplayer game challenge.

Teachers can also view a significant amount of student performance data with the Arcademics Plus version of the site. They can create reports to show progress over a specific time period, view group progress, see how students fared on each assignment, and view performance by game. The information can help teachers identify problem areas and assign related games to help students improve.

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Arcademic Skill Builders features games for first- to sixth-graders that are designed to help them practice math, language arts, and critical-thinking skills.

More than 55 games are grouped into 15-plus subject areas, ranging from shapes to algebra and geography. A brief description lists the academic skills students will utilize in each game. Most also include thorough instructions. Kids can customize game speed and difficulty level and see correct and missed answers, an accuracy score, and per-minute response rate after playing a game. They don't have to register to play the games, but teachers need to sign up and pay an annual fee for the Arcademics Plus educator version, which lets them track kids' game results and create and share assignments with students.

The site's games are good learning resources: They're fun, feature helpful pace and ability customization, and effectively reinforce key skills. Students can set up private multiplayer games with friends, which can help them develop a healthy sense of competition. Kids get immediate, detailed feedback after each game, which can help them improve their performance. They can also access instructional lessons that relate to their frequently missed game responses and can earn achievement rewards as an incentive to keep playing.

Teachers get plenty of nifty extras, too: They can customize some of the site content before sending it to students, give assignments to specific students, and view detailed performance reports. The educator version costs money -- an annual subscription ranges from $5 per student to $100 for a 20-student classroom -- but teachers may find that the tracking capabilities and other resources are worth the relatively reasonable cost.

Overall Rating

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

Games are simple to play, fun, and they don't drag on too long. Many feature shooting and kid-friendly characters like elephants and aliens; others are multiplayer games that kids can play with classmates.

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

Games are labeled by age and topic and offer math, language, and geography practice. Quizzes show correct and incorrect answers and other metrics that help kids see their progress.

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

You can get tips on ways to use the site and can see how games align with Common Core standards. The Arcademics Plus version provides extra resources, including tracked game-performance results and additional lessons on game-related topics.

Teacher Reviews

(See all 9 reviews) (9 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Renee P. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Swain West Elementary
Bryson City, United States
This is a great way for students to learn basic facts with a fluency that leads to success in more complicated math.
This may seem like "drill and kill" on technology, but it has a very important place because inability to fluently use facts keeps students from using their working memory on harder math like word problems and tasks that require effort and many steps. Knowing facts quickly allows students to concentrate on other tasks. Sadly, most students associate learning basic facts with timed tests (which tend to cause some students to become stressed and lose the facts they knew). My students associate it with ...
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