Product Review of MathGames
MathGames includes an interactive set of games and assessment-style questions that are aligned with curriculum standards from around the world. Parents, caregivers, and educators can sign up for a free account by entering an email address and then adding classes and learners. Kids can then access assignments by logging in with a username and password. Users can search the games and interactive questions to create assignments, and searches can be filtered by grade, skill, or standard. When kids log in to their student account and complete assignments, progress reports are automatically generated.
Many of the games and resources are free to use and cover a wide array of skills. The question mark icon within the games leads to a teacher-led mini-lesson about that skill. The free site is filled with ads that often cause the site, and sometimes the game in progress, to randomly refresh. Teachers should note that the student account also has links to teacher-related items (like creating assignments and linking to Google Classroom).
MathGames would work well as an in-class practice tool or for creating homework assignments. The dashboard also allows educators to create assignments and share them with their learners through email, Remind, or Google Classroom. Then, educators can use the detailed reports to track student progress and see where learners need extra practice. They can then assign specific games or questions to learners based on this. There are lots of resources available to create assignments by grade, skill, or standard to personalize the assignments on a per student basis.
Teachers can also use provided lessons to teach or reinforce topics learned in class, and can provide worksheets to learners who may not have consistent access to technology. Teachers can also provide a link directly to the lesson for learners, no student account required.
The designers of MathGames have done a good job creating a content-rich site packed with standards-aligned materials where kids can practice math skills ranging from basic counting and number sense to algebra and statistics. Kids can easily view their progress and identify areas of strength and weakness. Also, the teacher-led lessons are well done, and the skills questions provide good opportunities for practice.
While many of the games are fun, however, some repeat the exact same question multiple times, which could get repetitive and frustrating for learners. The game mechanics of many of the games is also problematic, requiring the student to move a character on-screen while simultaneously trying to solve a (sometimes quite complex) math problem, often leading to a “game over” situation before the student is even able to try. Solutions aren’t available for incorrect answers, limiting kids’ ability to learn from mistakes, and any feedback provided is brief: either positive praise or encouragement to keep trying. There are some video tutorials of many math concepts available, but MathGames isn’t a stand-alone instructional tool — it’s a good supplemental resource for supporting curriculum.
The ability for the teacher to view student progress definitely helps with assigning appropriate materials and giving learners the practice they need.
Overall User Consensus About the App
A large collection of math-based games cover a wide range of topics. Most are rote practice with repetitive questions or don’t provide enough time to answer, though.
Curriculum and Instruction
Most activities are nicely aligned to the CCSS, and some increase in difficulty as learners master the skills, but there’s not much feedback for incorrect answers or room for critical thinking, as it’s meant for practice.
Teacher-led videos explain topics to learners and provide step-by-step guides for various skills. The site provides detailed reports for educators and parents on student progress.