Review by Seth Guttenplan, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2018

Times Tables Rock Stars

Music-themed multiplication practice boosts recall speed

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • Math

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: The rock music theme is a fun hook for practicing multiplication facts.

Cons: Doesn't develop conceptual understanding; music doesn't play unless teachers use a playlist.

Bottom Line: A novel way for students to practice their times tables digitally or on paper.

Times Tables Rock Stars can be used in the classroom as whole-group instruction, a math center, or homework. You can set which multiplication facts students should be working on; if you find that students need help with certain facts more than others, you can make adjustments in the student setup section. Depending on classroom access, you can choose to print worksheets or have students play the game on the app or website. You can give the worksheets to students as homework, but the app and website make timing the students easier. If assigning homework, use the Sessions feature to set recurring tasks for students at home.

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Times Tables Rock Stars is a website (and iOS and Android app) that uses a rock music theme as a fun, interactive way to practice multiplication facts. Teachers can set up their classes -- or rock bands, in this case -- while students log in separately. When setting up an account, both teachers and students create avatars who look like rock stars. Teachers can allow students to complete their multiplication tables on the website or app -- or on printed worksheets -- while listening to rock music. Students start with a baseline assessment, followed by practice, and teachers can choose which facts to give students. There's a playlist feature and timer, so students can be tracked as they practice. Students can also compete in tournaments.

Some features of the program are only available through a paid upgrade, including the use of the apps. The web and app games are identical, and with the app, students can play all four game types, customize and shop for their avatar, and view leaderboards. They can also play offline. The Stats section is another paid option where teachers can monitor the progression of students to see if they're improving as well as areas they need to work on. Teachers can also choose to have students practice more -- in class or at home -- using the Sessions feature. This feature allows teachers to set recurring homework tasks for their class or for multiple classes.

The best part of Times Tables Rock Stars is how it tries to motivate students with the rock music theme. Creating avatars who look like rock stars can be a fun process for students. Luckily, a limited number of rock star names for students to choose from will keep them from getting stuck in this process. The flexibility of how students can use the tool (paper, website, and app) is beneficial for different types of learners, but Times Tables Rock Stars doesn't teach students conceptual understanding of multiplication. Rather, it's simply an enjoyable way to motivate students to practice their multiplication tables.

Overall Rating

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

Students will enjoy creating a rock star avatar. Playing rock music and using the timer can make the mundane practice of multiplication facts a bit more fun. 

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

The games offer students lots of practice with their multiplication facts. Conceptual understanding is left for teachers to address outside of the program.

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

There's not much support for struggling learners, besides giving the correct answer. The site does include help for educators, including Getting Started materials and videos, teaching resources, parent letters, and more. 


Common Sense Reviewer
Seth Guttenplan Technology coordinator

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