Arcade Math Skills: Ben Huebsh Learning Coach
Position Held: Learning Coach
School: Horizon Elementary, KS
Number of Students: 450-500
Product: Arcademic Skill Builders
Reviewers Notes: What’s at the site: arcade-style games that are propelled by correct answers to math fact questions.
We wanted to find a motivating way for students to develop computational fluency. We were looking for a program that would isolate specific math facts to practice and could differentiate the practice based upon the needs of individual students. Furthermore, we wanted something that would help us track individual student progress.
Parents enjoy this program, as their children can individually practice at home. Teachers like that it replaces boring “drill-fact practice worksheets. As a Learning Coach, it is encouraging to see all students engaged and excited about math skills. They frequently ask when they will get to practice math facts next.
It’s fairly simple to use. On the front end, we spent some time registering the individual students. It takes a few minutes here and there to assign a new set of facts for students to practice as well, but it’s minimal compared to the gains. Our only limitation is laptop/computer availability.
How We Use It:
Students log in using their own created username and password. Upon logging in, students can choose from the “assignments” strategically assigned by the teacher. Then they get to choose the style of arcade game (e.g. racing jet skis, shooting meteors, tug-of-war), to play while practicing the targeted set of facts.
Students can compete against a computer, classmates, a teacher, or people around the world in races, which depend upon the user’s speed and accuracy. They can play several rounds of the same game, or change games after each round. In some classes, this program is used as a station for students who aren’t working in a small group with the teacher, or working in cooperative learning rotations.
In other classes, time is set aside for the whole class to practice their own individualized fact practice assignment. This is common on days when we have an irregular schedule and need a productive activity.
At some grade levels, we have also used Arcademic Skill Builders as an ongoing intervention for students whose parents are willing to encourage their children to practice at home.
We are hoping to get parents and students on board to practice over the summer and over long vacation periods. This would help with long-term retention and automaticity of the math facts.