Wednesday

SMARTeacher's Prodigy Math Program Review

When I was contacted by SMARTeacher about reviewing their new game, Prodigy, I wanted to take a look at what they were all about and let the boys sample the game before committing to writing a review. I could tell within a few minutes that this game was going to be a big hit with my kids, and I was right.

So what is it? It's a math game. And a really good one at that. One that isn't cheesy or boring or too simple. The creators of this game must have really put a lot of effort into finding out what would really work, keep kids engaged and interested and have them learning all the time. 


If you are of my generation, most likely you are familiar with video game systems such as the original Nintendo, Super Nintendo or Sega- back when the graphics weren't 3-D like they are today. Growing up, Paul and I both loved playing Final Fantasy- we've actually downloaded the early versions of the games for our Wii and the boys love to play it too. My first thought when I saw Prodigy was that it definitely had a Final Fantasy feel to it. To start, you create your avatar, name it, and choose your grade (1st through 6th). The game has all the important video game aspects covered, such as experience points, hit points, magic and a store to buy items. 


Once you are ready you can start the fights. Where you and your pet face off with a monster, casting spells to win the battle. 


But then comes the math part. When you cast a spell, you are asked a question that you must answer correctly in order for your magic to do any damage on your opponent. The questions ranged from simple- months of the year and beginning addition for Lakin- to more complex- high level multiplication and pre-algebra  for Rylan. When the questions get hard, and the kids start to get a little frustrated, that is when a little hint box tends to pop up to help them along. And that is about it- the game continues, they get asked more and more questions moving up in level as they go along. The extras- like earning money to buy things- keep things interesting.


Does it work? I think so. I know holes in math are a big thing, and honestly I haven't come across any math program that covers everything. So games like this are a welcome addition to our homeschool. The boys are getting extra practice on the things they know, they are getting exposed to new things and a few of the gaps that have appeared along the way are getting filled. While watching all 4 of my boys play, I can see them learning. We've done impromptu math lessons on scrap paper in front of the computer- sketching obtuse angles and fraction pieces or lines of symmetry.

But I think one of the best things about this game is the fact that they want to play it. And I mean really want to play it. They have even given up Skylanders a few times to play this instead. Most other math-based games get tolerated. They are better than paper and pencil but that is about it. The creators of this game got it right- they focused on creating a complete game, with math being part of it, instead of creating a game around math as the focal point. The only thing my oldest said he wanted, since most of the material is review for him,  was for it to go to higher grades so he could keep playing!


Parents, or teachers, also have access to progress reports- and I will admit to not spending a lot of time here, but they are pretty detailed reports- and will let you know what types of problems they have been working on and what they understand and what they don't based on the percentages correct.

If you want to see how Prodigy works, their lite membership is completely free- your child can play for 15 minutes a day and access the free items in the game. After that they have various pricing options from monthly to lifetime memberships. There are also options for classroom subscriptions if you are a teacher. It's easy to download and works on both Mac and PC.

{Disclaimer: I received access to the entire game in order to write my review. All opinions are my own.}


5 comments:

  1. This looks like a great math game, especially for boys!

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  2. It is really great that they offer a free 15 minutes per day. Really great.

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  3. yea, my daughters would love something like that

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  4. My daughter like to get on the computer and play Math games on Learninggamesforkids.com , but I am sure she wouldn't mind playing something like this too.
    Thank you for your review!

    ~Keri

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  5. This looks like a fun review game. Going to have to check them out. Thanks for the share. Looking like fun.

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