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A review of Math Playground: The Good & The Bad
When it comes to student resources, parents, educators, and students alike expect easy and worthwhile practice.
With time being one of the scarcest resources on earth, nobody wants to spend extra time making copies, figuring out technology, or motivating children to accomplish supplemental work.
When looking for a resource for your children and students, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the options. A simple search of “fun math games 1st grade” will reveal 38,000,000 results.
In the time you have combed through the results, weeded out the weak resources, found the proper supplies, downloaded the necessary apps, and prepared your child for practice, your child will most likely be getting ready for high school graduation!
All jokes aside, as a parent, it can be time-consuming to find resources that will help your child with math. Instead of laboring over finding the perfect resources, many parents and teachers have stopped the search and settled on Math Playground. Because of its ability to engage children and ease of use for parents, many agree that Math Playground is a go-to resource for math practice.
Math Playground: Online Resources for the Busy Parent
Math Playground is a K-6 platform comprised entirely of math games. From the outside, it appears to have something for everyone. Math Playground promises fun and challenging math games for free.
As a parent or educator, it is easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of finding a free resource that will get kids excited about math!
Since Math Playground is a popular resource for kids, it’s easy to stop searching there, but is it the best website available?
Is Math Practice Important?
A teacher would never test the understanding of a concept without giving practice beforehand. Think about if your child came home from school on the first day and told you they took their final for the year.
That would be crazy! And unlikely! And you can guarantee that there would be meetings with the teacher and principal to sort it out.
Nobody expects a student to understand something immediately. Whether learning how to spell, calculate area, or drive, we provide children with numerous practice opportunities before testing them.
Practice is essential for students to learn and understand a topic. Math problems have multiple steps for solving (seeing the problem, calculating, and practicing the process). Each time a student practices, they are laying another brick into their foundation of understanding.
Parents and teachers must provide frequent practice and check-in opportunities for students to learn new information.
These practice assignments give teachers real-time feedback on if their instruction is working. If it’s not, teachers can readjust before it’s too late.
In short, practicing math is a required part of the process!
A New Generation of Math Practice
Over the past 20 years, math practice has moved away from the traditional drill methods to a more adaptive and intentional approach.
Instead of giving a student 100 practice problems each night, teachers will hand-select problems and activities to reinforce the concept without overwhelming a student with the volume of a textbook.
The hard part of practicing math comes when students are sent home without support to work through questions at home. Parents are ill-equipped to tutor with new Common Core methods, meaning that either kids are getting conflicting information or little help at home.
This often leaves a child to “figure out” the answers to problems without any way of knowing if they are understanding or not.
Many organizations, like ArgoPrep and Math Playground, realized this need for children and have created resources to be used in the classroom (and home!).
What is the Math Playground?
Math Playground is an online platform filled with educational games and practice drills to develop an understanding of basic math concepts.
Created in 2002, Math Playground has grown and developed over the past 20 years to include a wide range of skills and grade levels. It is a free resource that relies heavily on contributions from donors to maintain and develop the site.
Upon landing on Math Playground’s homepage, a vivid and approachable layout greets users. Pages are broken up by grade, each page filled with age-appropriate math games.
Math Playground fully integrates Common Core Aligned practice which focuses on helping students with their understanding of math through fun games.
The Math Playground website boasts over 400 different games available for play. There are many different styles of games to appeal to all personalities (block building, arcade-style, story-driven, etc.). Many of the games are compatible with phones. The website also reinforces that it is a kid-safe space, easing any fear of online predators.
Math Playground relies on a child’s interest in video games and will challenge them and reinforce classroom instruction.
How Does Math Playground Help Teachers and Parents?
If you haven’t had a chance to read through our learning styles series, grab a cup of coffee and dive in! Learning styles play such a huge role in student learning and achievement, and resources such as Math Playground can appeal to different types of learners.
For a kinesthetic learner, resources such as Math Playground can engage them and help them practice their skills. Teachers can provide more untraditional resources without having to spend hours creating work to give to their students.
Since Math Playground is a self-contained resource, parents and teachers do not have to spend hours on Pinterest finding resources, printing them, working alongside a child to accomplish them, and then grading them. Math Playground has done the hard work, freeing up time for adults.
Math Playground also provides Google Classroom integration, making it easy for teachers to provide a specific game to students. This can reduce the time spent searching on the website to find the assignment.
Once a student selects a game, they will find an explanation of the math problems, hints, and specific math problems.
A Better Option for Students
For all of the pros Math Playground has, it does have its weaknesses. Many users report that the Math Playground’s website is outdated and littered with ads. After even just 5 minutes, any site visitor can see the overuse of banners, popups, and advertisements.
Having to pause to exit out of ads constantly, will cause a break in concentration (and motivation!). These ads, while helpful in keeping the resource free, also can distract and derail student’s focus.
Math Playground is also tricky to navigate. Many of the games have broken links, meaning that finding a functional game can be a challenge.
Loss of focus, frustration, and quitting can be the results of using Math Playground.
If a child has an assignment to play one of the games for school, it can be hard to narrow down with a library of over 400 games. Without a direct link, many parents find that they waste all of their time navigating the site instead of practicing. What is supposed to be a quick-fix for practice turns into a significant challenge when using Math Playground.
Another risk of introducing students to Math Playground is maintaining their focus. When students prefer games that test skills they aren’t learning, they lose the opportunity for valuable training.
If a student needs to practice fractions but prefers the game for simple addition, their time will be wasted on practicing the wrong skills.
ArgoPrep Provides a More Simple Solution
ArgoPrep has recently released an all-new award-winning K-8 online learning platform! Complete with supplemental instruction, detailed video explanations, and Common Core Aligned practice, ArgoPrep has created a resource that parents and teachers depend on.
Parents and Teachers love ArgoPrep’s self-contained platform. ArgoPrep never directs students to external sites. It also is ad-free, which is the perfect space to focus on what’s important: developing student’s skills!
ArgoPrep has done the hard work to ensure students are getting what they need to succeed. Don’t believe us, check out our award-winning materials!
Math Playground vs. ArgoPrep Summary
Sometimes it can be a lot of work to make math seem fun for students. However, the research proves that providing students with opportunities to practice is vital for the understanding of math concepts.
Websites like Math Playground can make math seem fun and we definitely enjoy the games the website offers. However, because of its unreliability, the site might create more problems than solutions (That’s an A+ math joke!).
With Common Core-aligned activities and immediate feedback, Math Playground has a strong foundation. However, if teachers or parents are looking for a valuable resource they can count on, ArgoPrep offers a strong solution. More importantly, parents can use both ArgoPrep and Math Playground to keep their child engaged.
With a fully integrated online platform complete with video explanations, practice, and support, ArgoPrep methods are award-winning.
With the current added stress of COVID-19, parents and teachers want to find a resource they can depend on. When they choose ArgoPrep, everybody can count on a reliable platform with high-quality practice!