Common Sense Review
Updated November 2013

Umigo

This product is no longer available.
Gloriously goofy explosion of STEM-based games, songs, and vids
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Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 4
  • UMIGO is an interactive early elementary math website.
  • In the Umi-verse players can visit their own virtual room, the game room, see movies, go shopping, make music, or buy virtual vehicles.
  • Games help kids learn math skills like addition.
  • Music videos include animations and songs to teach kids about shapes and other math topics.
  • Kids can design different vehicles and test how well they do on various tracks.
  • Kids can drag and drop instruments and adjust patterns to create their own music.
Pros
Kids learn critical math and engineering skills by playing silly and exciting games.
Cons
UMIGO could use some more games that are playable on the actual site.
Bottom Line
UMIGO is a deliriously fun way to teach early elementary kids about design and mathematics.
Emily Pohlonski
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 5

Games and characters are wacky and fun in the bright, boisterous world of UMIGO. It's so fun, kids will be tickled just by the loading screens. Plus, they get to create and share their creations.  

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 5

In UMIGO, kids design, test, and then redesign. Kids learn persistence –- a crucial skill in mathematics. A sense of wonder and curiosity is definitely encouraged here as well.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

Each game starts with a tutorial. Extension-wise, UMIGO at Home activities give parents fun ways to do math with their kids, and two games are available as mobile apps.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

Oh, boy: your elementary students are going to love playing with UMIGO. You can download the curriculum guide, which contains Common Core standards contained within each project pack. You may have to be clear with students about how you want them to spend their time. Otherwise they may spend more time decorating their virtual room and visiting than playing math and engineering games. The music might start to get to you after a while, so headphones may be in order.

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What's It Like?

Editor's Note: UMIGO has closed and is no longer available.

UMIGO is an interactive math website for kids aged 5-8. Animated buddies Bean, Dizzy, and Bit guide students through a series of constructivist math tasks. Kids learn about addition, shapes, and basic engineering. The site's scope includes math games, music design, and vehicle engineering, and it is beyond hip. Dig this: funk legend Bootsy Collins masterminds the music, which features folks your kids may not recognize, but the catchy tunes will make them smile anyway.

Kids begin by making their own avatar. By playing games they can earn UMI-Bucks that let them buy parts for their racing vehicle, clothes for their avatar, or decorate their virtual room. In the UMI-verse kids can create music or listen to songs created by other players. There are also science project videos, and a visit to the Fab Lab contains a few hands-on project ideas.

“I See Shapes Everywhere” – Watch a music video that shows shapes in everyday items.

Mix and Fix – Add together UMI’s to fix holes in the road and get to a party.

Party Machine – Match up shapes to power up the epic Party Machine.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Games like Mix and Fix seem pretty straightforward at first, but they have hidden depth. As players progress, levers from one side are locked down. Party Machine also increases in difficulty as kids improve: Once they've mastered basic shapes, kids get introduced to the different types of quadrilaterals. And there's much more than games to enjoy. The 4-minute video "A Cup Fills Up" includes a Western-themed cartoon starring a selection of cowboy cups, cartons, and jugs at a faceoff to determine which posse has more capacity. It's followed by a Schoolhouse Rock-ish song detailing volume and capacity. Delightful!

UMIGO’s biggest strengths are the Music Studio and the Garage. In both cases kids are developing engineering and math skills without ever knowing it. In Vehicle Maker, kids select from a variety of parts to build a vehicle. Options for wheels? A peppermint, a life preserver, and a rolled-up roly poly, for starters. They'll test their design on different tracks to see how it fares, then modify their design and try again. In the Music Studio, students create music by dragging and dropping different instruments and then clicking to adjust the tone. By doing this, kids are building and adjusting patterns until they get something they like. Both the Garage and Music Studio encourage perseverance because if they keep trying they can meet their goal. UMIGO has a lot of potential even though it's still in beta; they're working on a teacher community, more games, and other helpful resources. It would also be nice parents and teachers could track student progress. 

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