Monday, October 8, 2012

Review: Zoowhiz

When I heard that the Crew was going to review ZooWhiz, I made a free account to see what it was like. The kids loved it! So when they sent us Premium Zoologist Memberships to review, they were thrilled to have the extras! In ZooWhiz, the kids complete math, word skills, and reading questions to get points. They then use the points to play games and/or buy animals for their "zoo". T and P love animals so this was right up their alleys. They generously gave all three kids memberships so even C got to enjoy this one since it is for children ages 5-15! He has missed out on the last few online programs we received.

The set up was simple. I loaded their names and then selected the age of the easiest questions I wanted them to have in each subject. I really like this feature so if your child is advanced in one subject or behind in another, you can set it to meet their needs! Each kiddo then has their own log in information and can start playing, at their age level. I also liked that if the questions were too easy or hard, it was very simple for me to go in and adjust the age floor for them so they weren't frustrated or bored.

The kids logged in and were able to first select their character to play as. Then they headed to the Learn and Earn building, where they answer questions to earn points. There are also parent and teacher sections in here that are "coming soon". The questions were divided into Math, Word Skills, and Reading sections. There are over 17,000 individual educational activities in the program and as the kids progress, the levels progress. There is such variety in the questions that sometimes it covered things they hadn't learned yet. C had a few of those that frustrated him, but I loved it because it brought up things that we could learn about that were not covered in our curriculum, like Kaprekar's Sequence, which it turns out is really cool. I even used it in our Essentials class at CC this week! I felt like the age levels were very accurate for my kids. I set them where I thought they should be and it was a good start...not too easy where they got them all correct, and not too hard where they missed them all.

Speaking of missing them or getting them correct, we loved the cute way they congratulate them for getting one right or ask them to try again for missing.  If they get them right on their own (first or second try), they are rewarded with "Crackerjack!" or "Rock On!" - pretty cute. If they missed something twice then it tells them the right answer.

After the kids play for a while and earn points, they can choose to spend them in the Arcade on games, or go to the Biodome and buy animals for their zoo. C spent most of his points playing games and T and P loved filling up their "zoo". I like that their coins buy a certain amount of time in a game...not indefinite play time. After 3 minutes, they have to either pay more coins or stop and do more work for more coins. If they lose the game during that time, they can start a new game with the remaining time. This is a cool concept, IMO. The games are typical online kid games so were familiar to the kids and easy to play without having to learn a new game.

T and P chose to forgo the games most of the time and simply collect animals. With the Premium membership, they had more animals available to purchase and got more information about them when they did buy them.  For my animal lovers, this was awesome incentive to keep doing the "work" to earn points.Of course, T's first purchase was a pot bellied pig ;)

From day one, all three kids were fighting over who gets to play first. I used it sort of as a bribe (don't judge!) for whoever finished their other school first. My only suggestion to make this a perfect 10 site, is to let them have an actual virtual zoo to put their purchased animals in. They love other online games where they get to build houses and farms and stuff and thought they would get to do that with their animals. Really, it is more like collecting animal cards than collecting a zoo. Once they understood that there wasn't an actual zoo, they never asked again and just kept playing and earning animals...and loving it :) ZooWhiz has every animal (mythical and real...Caleb kept buying mythical ones!) that you can imagine. It was fun to learn so much more about each animal they bought. When they bought one, it listed not only their name, but interesting facts and tons of other information, including their habitat and diet. This went right along with our CC Cycle 1 material about animal kingdoms and classifications.

I log in every-so-often to check on their progress. They are working on getting it so we can do this from our parent account but for now, we have to do them in the kids' accounts. To do this, I log onto each of their accounts and visit the Milestones building. In there, it shows how they have done in each subject and even the exact questions they missed or got right. This was SUPER helpful for me as a homeschool mom. I thought this was so much more helpful than saying they made an 80% in Reading. I could go back and see exactly what question they missed and go over it with them. If they were getting them all right, I would bump their age floor up a little to make it a little harder for them.

ZooWhiz is normally $59.95 for a year long subscription but is currently on sale for only $14.95. For real! That is a great deal. You can still use a lot of the site for free, but going Premium opens up a lot more things for you, with even more coming soon! Check it out and let me know what you think!

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Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this subscription, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are mine.

1 comment:

I would love to hear your thoughts!!