Review by Shaun Langevin, Common Sense Education | Updated March 2019

DreamBox Learning Math

Individualized game-based math adapts to kids' needs

Subjects & skills
  • Math

  • Critical Thinking
  • Character & SEL
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: The adaptive technology is quite good; lessons often make use of inquiry-based teaching strategies that focus on conceptual understanding rather than procedures.

Cons: K-2 students may need a lot of support with the interface and games, at least initially.

Bottom Line: Excellent all-in-one solution for extra math support and practice, with solid adaptive tech that supplements but doesn't replace curriculum.

DreamBox Learning Math is excellent for individual practice, homework assignments, and remediation and intervention. In the classroom, students can access their accounts from a lab or class set of computers, freeing the teacher up to work with a small group while providing the rest of the class with meaningful individualized practice. Students could also use the program to practice at home. Using the dashboard, teachers can identify students who have completed an assignment, those who are still in progress, and those who haven't started.  

The individualized pace and adaptiveness of the program mean that students are working at their current skill level, even if that level is below or above a student's actual grade level. This could be particularly good for students who are below grade level or who are advanced and need a challenge or extension. Younger kids (K-2) will need some help navigating the confusing and cluttered interface to get to lessons, so it's best used with adult support.  

DreamBox provides an on-demand professional development resource section, a resource section with downloadable documents (e.g., certificates of achievement), and a community-based platform where teachers can share ideas and participate in challenges to earn points toward classroom resources.  

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DreamBox Learning Math is an interactive, adaptive, self-paced program that provides engaging activities for students to learn and practice skills in mathematics. It's available for both web-based and iPad platforms, and student progress is tracked across both. Teachers and parents create accounts for individual students and then select the child's grade level (K-8). From there, DreamBox chooses a series of lessons and activities for the student to complete. Teachers can also assign specific concepts to students, which will get mixed in with the activities DreamBox selects for them. This is helpful if teachers want to have students practice skills they've recently taught. 

As tasks are completed (or if they become too difficult), the program adapts with new activities. There are three versions: Primary (K-2), Intermediate (3-5), and Middle School (6-8). Each employs avatars that the players select for themselves and offers a game-like atmosphere to hold players' interest. Fortunately, students can be working on different skills, but visually the interface will look similar; one middle schooler working on arrays would be using the same interface as a peer who's multiplying integers.

DreamBox also provides the Insights Dashboard, which gives teachers, administrators, and parents access to reports on progress and mastery for each student (for skills and standards). Using real-time data, teachers can identify learning gaps to help them create differentiated long-term assignments for students. DreamBox creates a personalized learning pathway for students based on their demonstrated level of readiness. And students can keep track of the lesson they complete each week using the weekly lesson counter. As students complete lessons, they earn coins, which can be used to customize avatars, wallpaper, and music.

Full Disclosure: DreamBox Learning and Common Sense Education share a funder; however, that relationship does not impact Common Sense Education's editorial independence and this learning rating.


DreamBox Learning Math is a comprehensive mathematics program that covers a wide range of subjects and skills for kindergarten through eighth grade. One of the strengths of DreamBox is that players can progress through the skills and activities of different grade levels, regardless of their actual grade level. Students who need review or a challenge may work at the appropriate level for their abilities. 

There are many standout games and activities at each level, including the 10-frame lessons in the primary levels and the intermediate lessons on fractions in the real world. The various modeling tools (arrays, 10 frames, number lines) are excellent, and the narration exposes kids to a variety of math language. The Insights Dashboard is also a useful tool to help teachers spot struggling learners.

DreamBox Learning Math has good potential: It's engaging and appealing, it contains sound mathematical content and solid teaching strategies, and it might promote independent learning for some kids. Still, teachers must remain mindful that DreamBox isn't meant to take the place of solid math instruction.

Overall Rating

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

The interface is well crafted, but K–2 kids may find it distracting and confusing. Still, within learning experiences, it's unobtrusive, functional, and fun.

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

The adaptive tech tailors learning to students' needs with familiar but challenging tasks, while the activities leverage discovery and conceptual learning. 

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

Feedback is immediate and meaningful for students in adapting play. For players who become stuck, help is offered, and the material adjusts if it gets too difficult. Parents and teachers can stay informed via a dashboard and email reports.

Common Sense Reviewer
Shaun Langevin Technology coordinator

Teacher Reviews

(See all 155 reviews) (155 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Daniel W. , Homeschooling parent
Homeschooling parent
Games are fun but there is not a lot of instruction, just repetition and memorization.
From our perspective this program is not actually teaching them much. It uses a lot of repetition and seems more focused on memorizing answers. My 6th grader prefers Khan Academy since he feels he is actually learning math concepts there, With DreamBox he feels he is just clicking through games and has to get things wrong first before it gives any clues on what to do. And even then it just gives him the answer so he can get it right next time. He is frustrated that it doesn't ever explain what he i ...
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