There is a misconception pervasive in our understanding of Math. I’ve often heard it said, “I’m not a numbers person” or “Math is just no my subject”. It becomes that subject to get through and be discarded at first opportunity.
Math is like anything else in life that we do. Everyone starts at different levels – some of us start out better at it and some of us need more work to get better at it. Just like swimming, some of us take to the water like fish while others flounder around a bit more until we have lessons. At the end of the day, if we get the proper attention and practice, we do get better at it.
To help the kids get more exposure to math, but in a fun way, I’ve always looked out for cool and interesting math programs (check out the list at the end of this post). Prodigy Math is one that we have used that I have been most impressed with in terms of curriculum coverage, parent dashboard and pull factor.
Prodigy uses the RPG (role-playing game) format which has been used quite successfully in other educational games, like Chemcaper. I feel that RPGs offer an added level of engagement that other game-style educational apps lack. The desire to follow the adventure and see where the story takes you is a powerful motivator that brings the kids back for more math practice.
Prodigy Math is a role-playing game that teaches children Maths while they journey through a mythical land. Success in the game depends on correctly answering skill-building questions. Along the way, they can collect rewards, go on quests and play with friends. The gist of the story goes like this:
Your child plays a character who is about to attend The Academy to learn magic. A friend, name Noot, guides your child through the story. When the story begins, your child has to choose a pet who will help fight in magic battles. As your child is about to enter a portal to The Academy, an evil character called The Puppetmaster appears. He steals the keystones that keep the portal open and scatters them across the land. Your child’s quest is to collect the keystones while fighting monsters along the way with the power of Math.
- Content is tailored to each child’s strengths and weaknesses. Prodigy is adaptive and sets the questions harder or easier depending on your child’s skill level, what they’re struggling with and what they’ve mastered.
- Questions are fully aligned with state-level curricula, including Common Core and TEKS, so Prodigy is always connected to the classroom.
- 1,400 available skills give students the chance to learn more and keep growing.
Prodigy Math cover the curriculum from Grade 1 to Grade 8. The full list of math skills covered can be found at: https://www.prodigygame.com/Math/Skills/
The Prodigy Math Parent Dashboard allows parents to:
- See what math practice your child is working on
- Monitor your child’s understanding and progress
- Set goals and give reward to encourage even more math practice
- Choose between locking the curriculum with a grade override so that your child only works on questions within a set grade, or to have no override so that your child advances to the next level once they’ve mastered specific topics.
The best thing about Prodigy is that it is free to use. There is a paid membership but it does not exclude you from any of the educational content if you choose not to subscribe. The benefits of being a premium member are that children level up faster, spend more time answering math questions and get exclusive access to pets, member-only game areas and extra rewards. These extra features are designed to increase your child’s motivated to practice.
This is a brief video on how to get started:
I registered the kids for the free membership and agreed to subscribe for a year if they made the commitment to use the app. For my kids, the biggest pull factor that got them to keep going and practicing their math was what they called “the storyline”. Once they reached the point where the storyline stopped (because the rest was still in development), they started to get bored. While the rewards were helpful, it was not nearly as powerful as the storyline for pulling them back to the game.
We left the app for about a year and returned to it when a new section of the storyline was released. I could see the motivation was much higher with the new storyline because G2 started hitting the goals I set for him in two days.
Prodigy is a great Math app for encouraging Math practice but I hope the developers will focus on extending the storyline further.
- Maths Mastery – Transforming Maths Education
- How Can We Support Math Learning at Home?
- Using Manipulatives for Learning – What are the Benefits?
- The Scoop on the Legendary Singapore Maths Method
- Math Resources: Free Online Math Programs
These are some of the math apps we’ve used in the past that the boys have enjoyed playing with:
- Mystery Math Town and Math Museum
- DragonBox Series:
- Zorbit’s Math Adventure
- Splash Math
- More Math Apps for Supporting Learning at Home