Students earn coins playing educational games that they can then use to play games in the arcade or use to "buy" animals for their zoo. There are two levels of membership: free and premium. With a Premium account children can spend an unlimited amount of time on ZooWhiz and there are more animals available for "purchase" that they cannot get with a free account.
|a screen shot of the main screen where players choose to "learn & earn,|
There are 3 different areas in the Learn and Earn section - Reading, Words and Math. Students click on the Learn and Earn house which takes them to a screen where they can choose which area they would like to work on.
The Reading section provides an introduction to letters, phonics, and spelling. Sound – letter correspondences are systematically introduced for all 44 phonemes. Writing and word skills are expanded and developed by covering spelling, grammar, punctuation and more.
To help students learn to read, integrated speech is used in the first 4 ZooWhiz Reading modules. Each activity uses spoken instructions, audio reinforcements and corrections.
|screen shot of an activity in the reading section|
The Words section covers all essential word skills and concepts including: letter tracking, matching, sorting and recognition, preparatory skills for very young readers and spellers, spelling patterns and rules, phonics, prefixes, suffixes, synonyms, antonyms, homophones, homographs, homonyms, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, regular and irregular verbs, word origins including idioms, clichés, metaphors, similes, etc, punctuation and grammar.
|screen shot of an activity in the Words section|
The Math section covers all essential maths skills and concepts including: numeration, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, chance, patterns, Algebra, data, graphs, measurement, shape, space, and geometry.
|screen shot of a math problem|
Parents have the ability to set the "age floor" so your child can work at a level that is appropriate for them. This way your children can't be earning coins for doing work that is beneath their level (or you can drop it down so they have the ability to earn more coins if you like.)
|Parents can select the age level for each section with the pull down menu.|
Now for the part the kids love the most. The Zoo and the Arcade. Students can collect animals for their zoo. (There really isn't a zoo but they can see a list of all the animals that they "own".) This can be motivating for students that love animals. It's also an opportunity to learn about the animals.
|a screenshot of Emma's Zoo|
|Once a student has an animal in their zoo they can learn all about it. Each tab reveals different information including habitat, diet, threats and detailed info.|
Students can also spend the coins they earned in the arcade. Games include a cupcake making game, shooting soccer goals, a tetris like game and much more (typical arcade games).
What we like:
ZooWhiz is a fun way for kids to learn math and English topics. The topics really are very broad. It's also a good way for them to be exposed to animals and learn about them. I allow my children to play on it frequently. They seem to enjoy it.
Parents can log into the children's accounts and see exactly what they have been working on. I always like to see what progress is being made and what they are accomplishing (and areas that may need attention.)
|Parents can click on the individual smiley faces to see more details.|
What we don't like:
The biggest problem with Zoo Whiz for younger children is that it does not give audible directions in the math or word sections Children are expected to read them, which is not possible for those that can't yet read. I don't have time to sit and read directions for online learning games.
My 12 year old son felt that the animals "cost too much" and he was not motivated enough to want to continue playing. The younger children did not have this issue though.
Pages are slow loading and it takes several steps to log in to the website, making it difficult for younger children to do it by themselves.
One thing to note is that ZooWhiz is Australian so the speakers do have an accent. Not a problem for us, but something I thought was worth mentioning.
|a comparison of the free vs. premium accounts|
See what others are saying about Zoo Whiz on The Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.
disclaimer: I received 5 year long Premier subscriptions to Zoo Whiz in exchange for an honest review