Review by Shaun Langevin, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2019

Legends of Learning

Large collection of simple games is mostly quantity over quality

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • Math
  • Science

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.
3–8
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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; some games have misspelled words or mistakes in HTML code.

Bottom Line: Teachers may find that reviewing math and science 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 playtime 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. Teachers do have the option of selecting from existing questions.

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 teachers and students. The discussion questions can 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 and math content for elementary and middle school. 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) or the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The games here generally aren't meant to teach new content but to supplement your instruction; some games introduce content, but often only through text (which is often, but not always, read by the computer). 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; teachers are limited to choosing from a bank of questions. When students start out, they create an avatar. Diverse options are available so that students will be able to create an avatar that looks like them if they choose.

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. 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 as Instructional or Question, but teachers will want to try each game first to be sure it's delivering what they expect. 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. The creators have also integrated well-known PhET simulations into their gaming options, which are also freely available at the PhET Interactive Simulations website.

Teachers are bound to find something related to what they're teaching on Legends of Learning. All topics include several games each, allowing educators to choose the ones they 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 underwhelming and not strongly related to the NGSS or Common Core 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 robot voice-over that reads in-game text on many games may irritate some students. When kids answer incorrectly, they receive no feedback other than the correct answer or a prompt to try again. 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?

Many games are unrelated to content and have kids answer questions while gameplay is paused. Other games have students play and then pause to teach.

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.


Common Sense Reviewer
Shaun Langevin Technology coordinator

Teacher Reviews

(See all 17 reviews) (17 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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