Curriculum Details for
Content Expert Reviewer
Lisa Ting is currently involved with educational consulting projects and private tutoring. She previously taught first grade and fourth grade at Charles River School in Dover, Massachusetts. She was active in creating age-appropriate and engaging curricula in math, reading, writing and social studies. She is certified in Project Read and Math Curriculum at Dana Hall for grades 3-5. She received her Masters degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2004 with interests in developmental psychology and after school programs.
- This math curriculum is created for afterschool settings, summer classes, math clubs, or math camps.
- It focuses on two independent parts: Interactive Games and Story Guides. There are both quieter games and more physical games.
- In K-2, the games focus on counting, number relationship, addition and subtraction.
- In grades 3-6, the games focus on number sense, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, and percentages.
- The Story Guide involves reading out loud an engaging story with a math theme and then following up with three math activities, reinforcing their understanding of number sense, measurement, or geometry.
- The content appears to be accurate and compelling. The games come in kits that are colorful, attractive, and well-organized. Organization makes it easy for instructors to quickly access the needed materials for their games, which is a big plus and can help keep the children focused during demonstrations.
- Counting, number relationship
- Addition and subtraction
- Number sense
- Multiplication and division
- Fraction, decimal, and percentage
- Measurement and geometry
- Students have to organize their materials and space while playing games and doing the activities.
- Social skills
- Problem solving and decision-making.
- Nature of games is cooperative, not competitive.
- Working with others.
Alignment to Standards
- KidzMath charts out a list of NCTM expectations for grades preK-2, 3-5, and 6-8, and identifies specific games that can help children with those skills.
- The list is not comprehensive of all standards, therefore teachers would need to do research on their own to figure out what holes to fill.
- There is a heavy emphasis on improving practical math skills.
- Students’ learning is not formally assessed with grades or math tests.
- There is an informal questionnaire, which inquires about students’ enjoyment and self-perception of their ability at math. They are subjective in nature and open-ended.
- This curriculum is moderately structured.
- The games are structured with specific rules and the materials are ready in the kit.
- Story guides are structured with three specific activities per story.
- However, there are no calendar or lesson maps, leaving flexibility for the instructor to decide how much time to allocate to each part.
- Students can have the fun and freedom to explore math while reinforcing certain math skills without making learning explicit.
- Instructors teach the games or lead the activities in the Story Guide and then the students play the games. Students can explore, reinvent the games and take them to a different level as long as they are working cooperatively with others.
Addressing Diverse Student Needs
- Some games are more challenging than others, so a more experienced teacher would be able to differentiate instruction.
- There are quieter and noisier games for children who have varying levels of energy.
- The games include additional activity ideas if some kids need more challenge.
- Behavioral issues could arise during the games or story activity times if students are not fully engaged.
Learning Styles Addressed
- The curriculum is tailored to grades K-2 and grades 3-6 with their developmental needs in mind.
- Movement/spatial learning: Students have to get up and move around for many of the game and story guide activities. The students can be on the ground or in the corner of the room learning math and exploring ideas with others.
- Interpersonal learning: Group activities encourage the students to build interpersonal relationships, as they have to work and communicate with each other. The manual includes a list of both math skills and social skills that students work on in the Story Guides and the games.
- Artistic learning: There are some arts and crafts activities in the Story Guides.
- The manual suggests grouping English language learners together and encourages them to speak in their native languages while playing the games.
- Parent letters are printed in Spanish and English.
Strengths and Challenges
Challenges and Drawbacks
- Games are fun, interesting, and hands-on for the students.
- Curriculum creates a safe atmosphere for students to explore and learn math skills.
- Applies math to everyday life.
- Students gain social awareness and skills as they play the games.
- Materials are attractive and age appropriate for the students
- Nearly all materials are provided and are durable and useful.
- The materials are well-organized in the kits, and are easily accessible for the students.
- The checklist, questionnaire, site planning sheet, math glossary and NCTM correlation list are particularly useful for keeping instructors organized and on-task.
- Students might disengage with a particular game or activity when they lose interest.
- It is difficult to assess how much students are learning.
- It can be difficult to see the big picture and overall goals.