Website review by Paul Cancellieri, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2013

ST Math: K-6

Game-based, visual activities get below the surface for deep learning

Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
Community rating
Based on 10 reviews
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Grades
K–6 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.
Subjects & Skills
Math, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Interactive games with minimal reading make activities accessible to a range of learners.

Cons: Some visuals might be too childish for older students.

Bottom Line: Great tool for differentiating in-class and at-home math practice.

Because of the lack of teacher involvement when students are using ST Math: K-6, it is recommended to be used as a way to differentiate for different needs. Students who achieve mastery early can move on to more challenging concepts, and those who need extra help can get it from the teacher in a one-on-one or small-group setting.

The relatively simple technology requirements of this tool also make it great for homework assignments. Parents can monitor students and even participate in the interactive games.

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ST Math: K-6 is a standards-linked collection of games and activities (via website, tablet, or Chrome app) that teach and reinforce elementary school-level math concepts using a visual method of instruction. Every major component of the K-6 Common Core math curriculum is covered, with a focus on arithmetic, geometry, and measurement. 

The activities are visual and interactive, with a focus on teaching math without language. In the various games and activities, students learn concepts by moving objects in a spatial-temporal way (hence the "ST" in the name). Students log in and choose a topic, and a colorful full-screen animation takes over to demonstrate what they need to do. 

When necessary, the games are designed to reinforce rote memorization, but most of the content revolves around students making choices and seeing the outcome. In one game, for example, students place birds on a telephone wire to discover how addition and subtraction work. This is a powerful way to explore mathematical concepts, and the lessons are well designed and well implemented. The absence of language makes ST Math: K-6 a great tool for those who struggle with reading, including kids with learning differences and ELLs. Teachers can assign students individual lessons or the entire program, but this tool is probably best used to reinforce ideas after in-class instruction.

Students can see their progress in the games via easy-to-understand visuals, and the activities follow a progression that continues to challenge students as they hone their skills. For example, double-digit addition follows single-digit addition as they demonstrate mastery.

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

Interactive games will captivate young kids to the point that they could become fully engrossed in the learning. The fun games and visuals are perfectly suited to the target age group.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

Some of the games appropriately use rote memorization to teach the simplest concepts, but the biggest strength of this system is the simulation-type games that encourage kids to play with variables and observe the results.

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

Adults and kids alike will find lots of support through instructions and screenshots from actual games and activities. Some wording might be difficult for struggling readers, but the games themselves are largely self-explanatory.


Common Sense reviewer
Paul Cancellieri Classroom teacher

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Featured review by
Chip M. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Virtual Math Manipulatives!
ST Math is a great tool to have as station work, at home or after students get their classwork done. My students love seeing JiJi the penguin! If you overuse the website students will grow bored of it, just like anything else. Having the math be all visual helps my lower level math students gain understanding of what is happening mathematically. Rather than just learning an algorithm they gain mathematical understand of a concept.
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