Review by Alicia Carter, Common Sense Education | Updated March 2012

Cyberchase

Quests, videos, and games terrific for developing math and problem-solving skills

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Teachers say (7 Reviews)
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Grades
2-6 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Engaging, diverse videos and games teach a variety of math topics at various levels.

Cons: It's difficult to sort activities by level. Games become repetitive after they've been mastered.

Bottom Line: Cyberchase has excellent potential for math instruction, practice, and review, and highly engages students.

Cyberchase would be an excellent way to facilitate math practice at home. Its varied videos are also an excellent resource for teachers, who could use them to introduce, reinforce, or apply concepts.

The homepage has straightforward navigation, and one section offers recommendations of high-interest things on the site to try. You can also find links to parent and teacher pages, which provide information on how to enhance learning at home or at school.

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Cyberchase is an educational website and companion to the award-winning PBS Kids show of the same name. Getting started is simple: Students simply go to the site and dive in! There's no account required to play or watch videos, but kids can create a username and password to connect with PBS Kids if they want to save their work -- and it only takes a couple of minutes.

The homepage has tabs for videos (including full episodes of the television show as well as Web shorts), games, and printable activities, and a tab to search the video and game library by topic. Materials cover a range of math skills from second- through sixth-grade levels and include everything from patterns to fractions, decimals, and ratios.

Standout Games:
"Railroad Repair" -- Fill in missing parts of the train track by adding decimals and solving problems.
"Pour to Score" -- Create various combinations of fluid amounts with eight- and three-quart containers.
"Bugs in the System" -- Create bar graphs of "bugs" as you clear them from the room, then adjust the scale of the graphs and analyze the data they provide.

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The site is easy to use, and kids will want to return to their favorite games again and again. The characters and situations from the television show are engaging for students in the target grade levels and provide a theme that ties the site together. One drawback is that most games don't continue to progress to new levels or difficulties once they're cleared, so kids can play over and over but the challenge will be exactly the same as before. Another drawback is that you can search for videos and games by topic or theme, but not by grade level or age, so it may take several tries to find something at the right level. Still, most students will find the games engaging and useful in learning or practicing math concepts.

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Overall Rating
4

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
5

Games are engaging and appealing, and they provide solid practice with a variety of math skills. Some students may have difficulty reading the written prompts. 

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
4

Material is educationally sound and engaging. Games give positive feedback. Many adapt to responses, though some repeat the difficulty level if played more than once.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
4

Kids get feedback about their progress as they complete activities, but there's not much data on progress over time. Printable activities and parent/teacher pages extend learning.


Common Sense Reviewer
Alicia Carter Homeschool instructor

Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
Amanda D. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Wappingers Central Schools
Wappingers Falls, NY
4
Good 25-30 minute videos for class with real life application after the episode.

I use this as an extra activity. Like a video break before a Holiday or on State testing days.

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