Website review by Carrie Garges, Common Sense Education | Updated March 2021

Beast Academy

Instructional features elevate challenging math practice

Learning rating
Community rating
Not yet reviewed Write a review
Privacy rating
Not yet rated Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
4–7
Subjects & Skills
Math

Take a look inside

10 images

Pros: Variety of instruction provides access points for many kinds of learners.

Cons: Text-heavy screens without consistent read-aloud feature could be a barrier for struggling readers.

Bottom Line: Quality videos, instructional comics, and challenging problem sets provide a full range of instruction.

Beast Academy offers three modes of engagement. This allows teachers enough flexibility to fit Beast Academy into their current plans. Sequential (working lessons and activities order) would be ideal for independent learners, as lessons follow a reasonable pathway through the curriculum. Teachers and parents will receive notifications if a student is struggling. Adults should still be ready to step in, as the program lacks an adaptive re-teaching component. Setting the mode to All Chapters (first two lessons are unlocked for each chapter, and the remaining lessons follow the sequential order) would be a great way to engage a class. Students can choose their own "math adventure" using just one or two lessons. Have students emulate the instructional videos by making their own versions explaining a concept. Or have them draw comics that explain the math they're working on!

Teachers can use scores to assess prior knowledge and readiness before beginning any unit. Although it's not directly aligned with Common Core, teachers can use the Alignments page to quickly find activities that fit their daily objectives. Opening up Free Play (every lesson is open) should be offered along with adult guidance, because overeager students may just jump into lessons they aren't yet ready for.

Continue reading Show less

Beast Academy offers an online math curriculum for kids 8–13 years old. Using various approaches, students can learn, practice, play, and complete chapter tests as they work their way through any of the four Beast Academy levels. The library isn't filled with your typical instruction: Beast Academy has rewritten the traditional textbook as a graphic novel. There's also a "theater" for video instruction: Short videos with a consistent host walk kids through concepts. Lessons are made of a short set of questions with instant feedback. Question types vary from multiple choice, fill in the blank, and interactive activities while also increasing in difficulty. Reports show dates and time spent on each lesson, along with progress and scores for activities. Parents and teachers receive emails indicating problem areas or celebrating successes like earned trophies.

At first glance, Beast Academy appears to have similar methods and features as other online math programs. However, various modes of instruction set Beast Academy apart from other online programs, which offer only practice. Providing kids with a graphic novel-style set of lessons makes content much friendlier. And the instructional videos -- which likely won't appeal to students on the older end of the spectrum -- are livelier than other, similar videos. Also, the instructions and feedback that kids get offers some depth.

The program isn't stand-alone as it isn't adaptive, so adults should be ready to facilitate the learning process. Skills covered in BA level 2 and 3 begin with concept building, but quickly change to algorithms, and BA levels 4 and 5 are taught algebraically. This is great for those kids who are ready for the algebraic language, however, it might leave some scratching their heads. The text-heavy elements could also be frustrating for struggling readers or ELLs, especially since a read-aloud feature doesn't appear consistently. Even the comics, which are conceptually great, have a ton of text to read. Breaking text into smaller chunks that kids could gradually digest and scroll through with a consistent audio element would definitely be helpful.

Overall Rating

Engagement

The unique, instructional comics and short, engaging videos will engage kids, though the text-heavy elements might be intimidating.

Pedagogy

Kids get immediate feedback, and question sets are short enough to produce forward momentum. Beginners can start with graphic novel and video; high flyers can get to higher-level questions without getting bored.

Support

Access to videos, comics, and instructions during practice lessons provides support, and there's lots of meaningful feedback. It's only in English. Some elements have a read-aloud feature, but it's not consistent.


Common Sense reviewer
Carrie Garges Classroom teacher

Community Rating

No one has reviewed this tool yet. Be the first to share your thoughts.

Add your rating

Privacy Rating

This tool has not yet been rated by our privacy team. Learn more about our privacy ratings