Review by Carrie Garges, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2019

First in Math

Gamified math practice for all levels of players

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • Math

Skills
  • Critical Thinking
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.
K–8
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Teachers say (2 Reviews)
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Pros: Games lack the "drill-and-kill" feeling; with so many games and levels, players can't get bored.

Cons: Some games require a bit more instruction, especially for younger kids.

Bottom Line: Nothing frilly: First in Math is 100% solid math practice through and through.

First in Math offers ideas to create a Wall of Fame using printable certificates as well as other classroom art to get students excited. Use this to create all sorts of incentive ideas like Weekly Winners and Team Goals. Not every student is ready for independent practice, which can cause anxiety around homework time. Skill-based homework can be replaced with time spent on First in Math. Kids think they're playing while building important number sense, and families will be happy for the change from the traditional homework routine.  

The First in Math community is busy creating school-wide tournaments and challenges. Teams can get involved and watch as they rise in the rankings by school, district, and state levels. 

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First in Math is an online practice site that offers many ways to master facts, practice procedural skills, and engage in problem-solving. From the same folks who created the well-known 24 game, First in Math uses games to keep kids thinking and engaged. From the Player Hub, kids choose from the First in Math modules, with options for activities or operations. Modules include several games that have multiple levels. Each requires skills ranging from counting and patterns through algebraic thinking and equations.

Once teachers have registered their class as a team, the competition can begin. Rankings show students who've earned the most stickers through activity and progress, so students will be able to compete for the top slot regardless of ability level. Detailed reports give teachers access to both activity and mastery data. The First in Math Goals Index gives teachers insight into who needs some intervention or reteaching. Using this report, teachers can quickly form small groups based on skill level. 

First in Math offers tons of opportunities for building fluency and facts practice as well as for problem-solving. The gaming approach gives kids a chance to practice their out-of-the-box thinking while feeling successful and having fun. Students earn stickers for activity time as well as for correct answers, and with so many options, no one will get bored.

Because student feedback during play is limited to right or wrong, it's important that teachers keep an eye on player reports for intervention. And since the reading level is high, younger kids will need some help from teachers to decipher the rules.

Overall Rating

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

More than 200 games and levels will keep kids interested. Incentive stickers are earned quickly, so students see progress right away and keep coming back.

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

The program drills the basics without feeling like drill-and-kill, and games are designed to provide practice for important math facts and patterns. Bonus content is where players stretch their mathematical thinking.

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

While most of the games can be learned quickly, activities do have directions. The reading level is high, and younger kids will need some help deciphering the rules. Closed-captioned videos and text-to-speech in some areas are helpful.


Common Sense Reviewer
Carrie Garges Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 2 reviews) (2 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Matt S. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Brooklyn Park Elementary School
Baltimore, United States
Awesome for Elementary Math!
I absolutely love First in Math. I haven’t come across another website or app that is as engaging as First in Math. Students love logging on and trying to earn as many stars as possible. I like how it is aligned to the Common Core standards. Students are learning their basic math facts interactively and building on their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Each student starts out on the same level and can work at their own pace through the program. It has video lessons and previews to grab the ...
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