Review by Victoria Gannon, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2012

Free Rice

Drill-and-practice quizzes are a fun way to boost vocab and math basics

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Teachers say (58 Reviews)
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4-8 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: This quiz site teaches kids about global hunger through a range of challenging and interesting subjects.

Cons: You won't get explanations for wrong answers, making it difficult for kids to learn from mistakes.

Bottom Line: Free Rice inspires social responsibility through careful learning.

A storehouse of information and relevant quizzes, Free Rice can be a way to yank kids into a variety of topics. The World Hunger category in particular could inspire kids to do more in-depth research. You could use the questions as jumping-off points for discussion and lessons. A question like, "What animals helped deliver food aid during the Russian Famine of 1921?" could lead to further reading on the Russian Famine, and a question about the average annual income in India could lead to a discussion of that country's economy, diet, and challenges. You could also have kids write down missed questions and review them later. High schoolers could use the SAT prep section, but most of the content is best-suited for late elementary and middle schoolers.

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Published by the World Food Programme, Free Rice is a quiz site that donates grains of rice to needy countries when kids answer questions correctly.

First, users create a profile so their "score" gets tied to their online identity. Eight subjects are offered: Humanities, English, Math, Chemistry, Language Learning, Sciences, Geography, and Test Preparation. Each has two to five subsections; for example, Math includes Multiplication Table and Basic Math, and Geography includes World Landmarks, Identify Countries on the Map, World Capitals, and Flags of the World. The Test Preparation category offers SAT prep, with questions from Kaplan.

The first thing kids see is a question, four possible answers, and an image of an empty wooden bowl. As questions are answered correctly, the bowl fills with grains of rice. Each correct answer yields 10 grains. Questions progress in difficultly depending on whether accurate answers are given, and a running tally tracks how many grains of rice kids have raised. The rice gets donated to a country in need.

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Kids can create profiles and work in teams as they climb and descend levels depending on whether they give the right answers. The site tracks their progress, making it a great way to challenge kids to reach certain goals. A wealth of new facts is reflected in the questions for subjects like Literature, Famous Paintings, and World Hunger. Other subjects such as Language Learning, Human Anatomy, and Math offer the opportunity to review basic lessons. The site repeats questions that are answered wrong but gives no explanations; in this way, it misses the chance to increase understanding of some valuable material. Also, aside from the World Hunger category, information isn't otherwise integrated into the site.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4
Kids get enormously motivated by the bowl of donated rice that fills up as correct answers roll in and by the challenge of climbing to more difficult levels.
Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

Multiple-choice questions cover a range of subjects and are adaptive based on how students perform. Kids don't get explanations for wrong answers. Users can create profiles with pictures and join groups.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

It's easy to track progress as kids climb levels and raise grains of rice. You see the correct answer when a question is answered wrong. For kids with reading difficulties, the format could be challenging.


Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Cathy P. , Media specialist/librarian
Media specialist/librarian
5
Free Rice: Educational Review and Food Donation

This is a terrific program that can be used by an individual student or with a group of students. The various subjects that are available can be used for review (multiplication facts, basic language reviews, identify countries) and for exploration of new information (learning a new language, famous paintings). My students have used it for both review and personal exploration, especially in regards to language. They have enjoyed filling up their bowls with rice to help others while having fun. It is engaging, individualized and motivating even when you get the wrong answer.

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