Review by Shaun Langevin, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2018

Legends of Learning

Large collection of simple games is mostly quantity over quality

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • Science

Skills
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
3–8
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (15 Reviews)

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Pros: Having many games for each topic allows teachers to make class playlists, and teachers can track student progress.

Cons: Gameplay is often too simplistic and not connected to content; teachers can choose different questions but can't create them.

Bottom Line: Teachers may find reviewing content with the games is fun and simple, but don't expect many in-depth games that apply content.

Teachers will best use Legends of Learning as a supplemental curriculum, perhaps to reinforce new content or to review before quizzes or tests. The playlist tool is a useful option allowing you to choose games for your classes. You can also assign a simple assessment with questions you select, as well as include free play time, on the playlist. You can track your kids' progress through the games and see what questions they got incorrect. At this time, teachers can't create their own questions for the games; if this feature becomes available in the future, it would be a big plus for teachers wanting to customize the content to the needs of their classes. 

Many of the games come with teacher reviews and discussion questions. The reviews can help you see how others used the game and how it was received by students. The discussion questions can help give kids a more meaningful experience than just using the games alone. 

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Legends of Learning is a site that offers games covering a variety of science content for elementary and middle school science. The site covers topics in each main content area, with a variety of games claiming to be aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The games here generally aren't meant to teach new content but supplement your instruction; some games introduce content, but often only through text. Teachers can select games to put in a playlist for up to an hour and allow time for free play; an assessment can be added to the end of the playlist (but cannot be customized). You're given a certain amount of coins when registering for the site, and each game costs coins per student. More coins can be gained by rating games, referring users, or purchasing them outright. 

What are the games like? Well, that's kind of a hard question to answer, mostly because the type and quality of the games vary widely. Some games come with colorful graphics and wacky characters, while some have music or robot voice-overs. Others will remind you of early '80s video games (think Atari). Most games review content through a series of multiple-choice questions that pop up before you can make your next move; others are memory games, simulations, or interactive diagrams. Each game is labeled with I, Q, or S depending on if it's instructional, question-based, or a simulation, but teachers will want to try each game first to be sure. Most games aren't strong enough on their own to provide students with a lasting learning experience; teachers will need to wrap instruction around them. 

You're bound to find something related to what you're teaching on Legends of Learning. All topics include several games each, allowing you to choose the ones you like best. Many of the content questions seem to be repeated across games for the same topic, so kids may not experience new questions just by playing another game.

Overall, the quality of many games is a bit underwhelming and not related to NGSS practices. In most cases, the actual game has little application of the content, and the format is very repetitive: You play the game for a bit, pause to answer questions, then continue playing the game. The questions themselves could use support for visual and English language learners, since they're very text-heavy. As the text appears in-game, most text-to-speech readers likely won't be able to read it. Some kids may have trouble with different controls for games, as some require buttons on the screen to be pushed, some use a mouse or trackpad, and others require the student to hit buttons on the keyboard. When kids answer incorrectly, they receive no feedback other than the correct answer. Will elementary and middle schoolers like these games? Maybe they will, since it's more fun than doing a worksheet, but for deep and meaningful learning look elsewhere.

Overall Rating

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

Kids will initially be engaged because they get to play games, but they're repetitive, so interest may wane. The quality of the games varies; students will enjoy the colorful graphics of some and find others much less thrilling.

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

Most games and content are unrelated and have kids answer questions while gameplay is paused. Many games rely on memorization of facts instead of the application of content.

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

Some games include instructions, tutorials, and built-in content review, but many aren't intuitive and have text-heavy questions. Kids would benefit from more feedback when they get incorrect answers. 


Common Sense Reviewer
Shaun Langevin Technology coordinator

Teacher Reviews

(See all 15 reviews) (15 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Andrea C. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
De Soto Middle School
De Soto, United States
Great for keeping today's digital students involved!
Some of the "learning" level activities need more explanation-especially if being used with special needs/een students. I have found that they get frustrated easily and will give up if the first level is too challenging. I would also like to see more variety in the activities at the Mastery level. I can usually fit three activities into 30 minutes, which is all I let my students have at one sitting, and I know they would like a larger variety once they have made it to free play.
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