Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Dreambox Learning K-3 Math

Dreambox Learning K-3 Math

Fall 2010 Website
Ages: 5 - 9 yrs.
Adapted By: dreambox learning, Inc.

Dreambox Learning is presented as a complete online math curriculum for grades K-3. All math instruction is presented in games with the student's avatar exploring a magical park full of mathematics puzzles and challenges available in four themes (pirates, pets, pixies, and dinosaurs).

After choosing an avatar, the user is led through the opening story, which includes beginning assessment games, allowing students to begin at the level where work is needed. The assessment is extensive and continues through the first several visits. After assessment, the games proceed at an appropriate level and guide the children to meet advanced objectives. Dreambox Learning offers a detailed progress report that parents can have emailed, or viewed when they log in; the back-end system adjusts lessons to individual user levels, in real time, based on their progress in each math-based exercise.

The games focus largely on counting, addition and subtraction, with multiplication and division introduced at the third grade level. The variety of themes should allow for game styles that appeal to most children; all objectives can be met in any themed area of the park. Mistakes are not excessively penalized, but praise is also moderate, and the game recognizes repeated mistakes as an indication that the student may need a slightly lower level first.

The exercises are age-appropriate, engaging, and the interface is intuitive and friendly. There are about 350 exercises that cover Kindergarten through third grade levels of math, and because the problems adjust based on each user's decisions and moves, it offers challenges as well as reviews. Overall, the activities and design were most appealing to the younger students in our testing groups. However, for children who devour math problems, those need practice with beginning math concepts or who have difficulty remaining focused on pencil-and-paper activities and physical manipulatives, Dreambox Learning is a solid offering.

The one downside is the run-time. While no software is required, a high-speed internet connection is imperative. As wonderful a learning tool it is, slow performance problems could frustrate young users. However, the site offers a free two-week trial period with no credit card entry required. Take advantage of it; the free 14-day trial is more than adequate for parents and teachers to evaluate if it would be appropriate for their children.

Parents' Choice   ©2010 Parents' Choice

Look for this product at:
DreamBox Learning Inc.

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