Common Sense Review
Updated June 2012

FunBrain

Books, comics, and interactive games best used as tools for practice
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Common Sense Rating 2
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 3
  • The site is divided into sections for math and reading, as well as other fun games.
  • Students get a game piece and explore the math arcade.
  • There are books, games, and comics.
  • Kids can read books, like Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Pros
A good site for practice that kids can do outside of the classroom in a safe online learning environment.
Cons
These educational games allow for practice but never show students why they get something wrong or how to improve.
Bottom Line
Students may have fun while reading or reviewing simple subjects, but the site isn't good for teaching new concepts.
Stephanie Trautman
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 2
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 3

Students will find FunBrain's interface engaging and straightforward. The games and books are stimulating and varied. The colorful designs are attention-grabbing, keeping kids entertained while reviewing concepts.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 2

Students can review basic math skills, but they won't think too critically in the arcade. Winning unlocks more levels, which can motivate kids, but be aware that some activities don't have any learning benefit.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 2

Students are pushed for right or wrong answers but never get guidance on how to get the correct answer, or why the answer was incorrect. There are lots of links embedded throughout the site, if your students want to explore.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

FunBrain promotes itself as being a helpful tool for students to use when they finish an assignment, or for teachers to use as a fill-in activity for students who have time for more practice. FunBrain could also be promoted to parents as an activity for students to use at home. In terms of building interest in math and reading concepts taught in class, it’s fine as a tool for reinforcement.

If you do choose to use the site in class, you'll want to create a way to track students' progress. It’s unfortunate that there isn't a teacher dashboard on the site -- an addition like this could help teachers know exactly where, and how well, their students are practicing.

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What's It Like?

Are you looking for a site where students can review math concepts or read a story if they’ve already finished their work? FunBrain could be just the place. At its core, FunBrain is a site for kids to play math games and explore reading. The math and reading arcades provide fun games for review, but not mastery of concepts. Students can choose to start at different levels, then unlock further levels from there, boosting interest and confidence. The arcade functions a bit like a board game, allowing students to get a game-like experience. A variety of levels and games keep students interested. The site also offers a “playground” where kids can play some fun, though very short and mostly learning-free, games.

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Is It Good For Learning?

FunBrain is the kind of site that's fine for kids to play if they're reviewing concepts you've already taught in class. There are plenty of games and fun activities for kids on the site, but the depth of coverage, educationally speaking, is at best surface-level. Some helpful positives are the fun and engaging cartoons and arcade illustrations, as well as kids' ability to move around the arcade and board game. One great activity is Math Baseball, where two players can go head-to-head in a math competition and points are awarded based on difficulty of each problem pitched.

However, for what the site offers in fun for students, it lacks in help. If students don't get an answer right or don’t advance to the next level, they're never given any help or tutorial on how to do better with the task. It would also be beneficial for the site to include some vocabulary words or writing prompts related to the readings.

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Lesson Plans