Common Sense Review
Updated October 2013

GoGo Math Games

Good elementary math games spoiled by pervasive ads
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Common Sense Rating 2
  • "Play" button is actually an ad in the highest rent district on the page. Featured, Newest, and Recently Played sections allow for easy access but only icon images give a hint to appropriate age.
  • "Tangram32" allows kids to rotate and place the classic shape set over various backgrounds.
  • Sheep mosey across the pasture with overlapping giving beginning counters a bit of a challenge in "Count the Sheep."
  • "Tugmath Fraction" is a bit dull on the visuals but develops fast calculation of equivalent fractions and even better, hopefully, the understanding that a smaller denominator equals a bigger number and a bigger numerator equals a bigger number.
  • Kids must identify like fractions (same denominator) or reduce to create whole integers in "Adding Fractions."
Pros
Games that develop fluency and thinking at the elementary level are well-organized and fun.
Cons
Ads: way too many ads really taint the experience.
Bottom Line
You can easily find similar or even the same games on other sites with fewer ads.
Leslie Crenna
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 2
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 2

Most games are spare, simple, and effective, but the plethora of ads is overwhelming. Design also is a bit busy; lots of color and many options make for visual overload.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

Many concepts and fluency develop naturally, and kids may be empowered when they see themselves on the leaderboard. However, deceptive ad links, including adult-level video ads, break down trust.

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

The site's Facebook page sports a handful of likes, but that's where the extensions end. The related Primary Games Network is a set of similar websites with different themes but not a network of users or support.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

The ads embedded in every single game make classroom application difficult, unless kids are directed to stay on one game and not explore. Considering the basic nature of most of these games, you will likely get resistance to this requirement. Another option is to give kids a list of math game resources for play at home emphasizing game collection sites with no ads, or at least fewer and especially not video ads or data collection activities (see About page). Yet another possibility is to load up and project a game before school or during a break and then play it as a whole class as a way to introduce gameplay, build enthusiasm, and explore process and concepts.

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What's It Like?

GoGo Math Games is a free website featuring lots of math games for younger students. Mostly elementary-level games are organized by topics like integers, geometry, logic, maze, and simulation. An About page claims there are several thousand games in its network, but only 180 titles are apparent on the site. Click on a game and the play screen will pop up; read the instructions and begin playing. The home page view places ads front and center; views by topic are better, but it can still be hard to tell ads from game menus. Video ads precede every new game load and cannot be skipped until about two-thirds through, if at all. 

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Is It Good For Learning?

When the ads and videos end, the learning begins: Most games allow for easy repetition, give immediate feedback, and facilitate learning through successful attempts as well as failed ones. Through exploration of game function and statistics, and very little textual support or tutorial, kids will figure out rules, requirements, and ways to be successful. Kids can learn fluency in calculations, thinking skills, time management, and efficient work habits.

"Counting Sheep" gives early grades practice tracking, counting, and reporting adorable critters. "MathCopter" flies kids into equivalent fraction fluency. "Factory Balls" puts kids in the manufacturer's seat practicing sequential thinking and concepts of negative space, and "Melius Math" hones quick calculations for multiples of 5. But, boy, the ads. Their constant, distracting presence is really problematic and gives the site a whole different tone -- not so much focused on learning. It's a good collection with a flexible and accessible layout spoiled by overwhelming video, dynamic ads, and behavioral data collection.

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