Review by Jason Shiroff, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2014

Splash Math

Classroom edition still fun, needs better Common Core reporting

Subjects & skills
  • Math

  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (2 Reviews)

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Pros: Splash Math makes it easy to practice and track students' growth on specific math concepts.

Cons: Benchmark assessments and Common Core info in the reports would increase usefulness; the ability to assign specific tasks would be a nice addition.

Bottom Line: These engaging math games for younger kids are great for skills practice, but teachers could benefit from better Common Core reporting.

Splash Math can make for a great review tool, once you've already covered concepts in class. Practicing with this type of game-based system can help motivate students. As students review, the program's instant feedback can help kids catch mistakes quickly. The website version could serve as a useful tool for tracking homework, as it's easy to see and track students' use and progress. While it isn't suited to be a stand-alone tool, Splash Math can provide some solid formative assessment information, helping teachers keep note of their students' progress.

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Splash Math's game-based content targets Common Core math content for kindergarten through fifth grade. Once on the site (or Chrome app), students choose a grade level before playing a series of animated games and activities. The student dashboard gives kids a starting point, allowing them to pick specific math concepts to practice. Students, teachers, and parents can see data on time spent on topics, accuracy, and level of mastery. However, reports don't include info on Common Core coverage. 

Each activity includes 20 questions of various types. While the questions are text-based, no audio support is offered for reading them. Upon answering questions, students get instant feedback; if a student misses a question, the correct answer is displayed with a short explanation. Points are earned throughout -- these can be redeemed for virtual rewards in the Splash Math store. The teacher dashboard provides an overview of the concepts, access to the class rosters, and several reports. Teachers can enter parent emails into the system, enabling Splash Math to auto-send reports to families.

Much like the a la carte, grade-level apps available from the same developer, Splash Math offers colorful, interactive games that are bound to engage younger students. Especially at the earlier grade levels, the games and lessons here can certainly help kids practice their math skills. It's likely to be more appealing to younger users; the experience may tire for more mature students. Exercises provide a variety of question types aimed at covering the Common Core standards. However, while the exercises target the standards, a list isn't included in the teacher dashboard, nor is there a Common Core progress report available.

In the program, students can pick any concept to practice, and in any order. Skills aren't "unlocked" as kids show readiness; instead, every concept is open to everyone, all the time. While this freedom is great for personal exploration, teachers will likely want to assign, or at least suggest, specific skills. Also, the lack of audio support combined with the site's reliance on text-heavy questions could exclude ELLs or students with reading difficulties. 

Overall Rating

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

The overall design is clear and simple to navigate. The games and activities are likely most engaging for younger users; older students may grow tired of the underwater theme, characters, and the sounds of crashing waves.

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

The various math concepts include place-value charts, base-ten blocks, and numerical values. While activities are Common Core-focused, standards aren't listed on the teacher dashboard and reports don't include mastery info.

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

The built-in support may not be enough to explain gameplay in every instance. Help for struggling students is only text-based and provides few strategies. The activities could be improved with less reliance on text, and with added audio support.

Common Sense Reviewer
Jason Shiroff Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 2 reviews) (2 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Shannon M. , Other
Cabell County Schools
Huntington, United States
Great for Use in Multiple Ways
As with any product of this nature, while more engaging than simple flash card review, I would limit the time spent on this to no more than 30 minutes. For older students (i.e., middle school student who need an extra boost), I would use this as an individual station, NOT as a whole or small group, simply due to the more elementary format. I have had my own children use this at home, and they are far more engaged for a longer period of time than with simple flash card sets.
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