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Website Review:

Posted by on February 16, 2015

There are a lot of online math systems to help students through one of school’s toughest subjects (if not science). Each one proclaimavatars they have the way to teach students while having fun, in ways that are aligned with state and national standards. How do you decide what is best  for your class? Here are guidelines, culled from top education sites like Edutopia, Google Education, Educational Technology, and EdWeek that are valuable when evaluating any website:

  • free or small fee
  • support the ‘4 C’s’–creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration
  • offer compelling content (this is subjective; ‘compelling’ varies teacher-to-teacher and student-to-student)
  • are not distracting or overwhelming in colors, music, or activity
  • offer levels that become increasingly more difficult, providing differentiation for student needs
  • stand the test of time–do students stay engaged even after playing it over and over
  • positive parent reports
  • few ads–and those that are there do not take up a significant portion of the screen
  • intuitive to use with a short learning curve
  • encourage independence
  • easily applied to a variety of educational environments
  • doesn’t collect personal information other than user credentials or data required to operate the app
  • includes age-appropriate content
  • fulfills intended purpose
  • aligned with Blooms Taxonomy, Common Core, ISTE, or other state/national/international standards
  • received awards/citations

Here’s one I think meets all these basic requirements as well as makes students want to practice their math:

Prodigy Math Game

Free (fee upgrade to Premium)

Prodigy is a free, adaptive math game for grades 1-7 that integrates Common Core or Ontario math into a role-playing game using a Pokemon-style wizardry theme. Students complete math questions to level up (become more powerful) and ultimately defeat Crios, Prodigy’s main antagonist.

Based on the student’s profile and an invisible diagnostic run during the preliminary tutorial, students are placed at a math level. As they play, question difficulty is increased or decreased depending upon their answers and facility with the skills. If a student struggles with a concept, following questions will backfill the necessary skills.

As the student works through the math problems, many lessons (but not all) include virtual manipulatives to help solve the problem:


prodigy mathThese include a speaker to say the question, a hint button to provide help, detail on the required skill, and a drawing tool to work through the answer. These encourage students to build their own problem solutions in a way that works for them rather than relying on a teacher or parent.

prodigy math

The game includes over 300 math skills, broken down by grade level. This is Grade 3:

prodigy math

Prodigy’s data indicates that over 1,000,000 student users and 50,000 teachers have signed up since opening its doors. Parents can register for free and track their child’s progress.

Set up is easy. You join as a parent or teacher. Once your account is established, add your class, create/review assignments, view student progress, get help, evaluate learning materials, and more.

role playing in education

Your students are assigned user names and passwords which they then use to log in from their digital device.

prodigy--log in

Students start with a guide called Noot who explains how to progress through the game play. From there, student play is self-managed and self-learned.

On the game screen, students see avatars of other students playing at the time. They can challenge one or play by themselves.

Grammaropolis is aligned with both national Common Core standards and Texas Expected Knowledge and Skills Objectives for grades K-6. – See more at:


I like that the site offers prepared parent letters to save teacher time and get parent buy-in for this game-based math program. The letters do a great job of sharing the purpose of the Prodigy math site and explaining how parents can get involved in learning.

I like that the site reminds students NOT to use their real name when creating their avatar and why. Youngers often don’t understand the importance of online privacy.

Teachers don’t have to be experts to have students use this game (as opposed to Minecraft where it really helps if the teacher knows what’s going on).


The push for Pro features comes early in the game. It’s not onerous and easily avoided. I’m not sure I’d even notice it after extended play. Since the price is over $50 a year, I was pleased that being a premium member had no impact on the educational value of the game.

Insider tips

The website tutorials at times discuss ‘Ontario expectations’ and ‘Ontario aligned’. There’s an opportunity during set up to select your standards, such as Common Core.

Assignments can be applied to all or some students, allowing you to differentiate for needs.

prodigy--create assignments

Educational Applications

The teacher dashboard provides thorough reports on which students are practicing what math skill and how well they are doing.

prodigy--reports available

Math skills addressed in assignments can be timed to appear exactly when those topics are covered in class and disappear when those lessons are over. Students have no overt knowledge of what those skills are because they are invisibly integrated into the gameplay. They learn math as they play and cannot progress until it is mastered. Because of this, the gameplay can be used for both formative and summative assessments.


I was introduced to this math game through an email from the company. Now that I’ve reviewed it, I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of it before. I’m a big believer in the gamification of education; Prodigy makes that work brilliantly for math. Here are a few comments from teachers who use it:

“The Prodigy program has been an invaluable tool to my students and me. My students are motivated to practice their math skills in a fun and interactive way both at school and at home. The greatest benefit for my students is that they are able to work on skills currently being taught in class and Prodigy automatically adapts based on their performance. The progress reports highlight individual strengths and needs. This helps with my planning and differentiation for my students.” – Ivan Dublin, SERTBrimwood Blvd. Jr. P.S.

“What I really love about the Prodigy program is the feedback that I get in terms of what the students know and where they need to improve. I also love the fact that I can see what questions were difficult and how the students answered them. I believe that students have improved their confidence in all areas of the math program. They are so excited to play and learn!” – Sue McCulloch, Grade 3/4 Northport Elementary School


If you use this game, I’d love to hear your thoughts? Is it as good as it sounds?

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

updated 4-16-16

39 Responses to Website Review:

  1. Rhnaian

    I want to play the game.

    • Jacqui

      All you need is a membership. If you don’t have it at your school, check with your parents.

  2. Evan

    My son’s 5th grade class just stated using (playing) this game. This morning he hit me up for the premium membership….. Al little insidious? I would be much quicker to say yes, if a portion went back to the school, like the scholastic books model.

    • Jacqui

      I had that feeling too when I tested it–early push to upgrade. Sadly, I see that a lot now with education programs.

  3. sdvsd

    I am a kid and I LOVE prodigy!

  4. Marci

    I tried to watch the video of the 2nd grader and got the message “this video is private.”

    • Jacqui

      Ah. They must have changed the settings. Darn. It was good. I’ll see if I can find another. I’ve removed it to respect their privacy.

  5. Bob B

    I have introduced this in my tech room from 1st thru 4th as a way to practice usernames and passwords. For the free version, I feel it works very well. There are membership requests, but it’s not too intrusive and you can make it go away easily.

    The games are a lot of fun and the students like that they can grow their character to learn wizard skills. Of course they have to use math skills for that to happen and they seem to have no problem. The layout of how to do the math work takes a little bit of time for them to use the tools. It has a voice to help them read the math work, and on screen manipulatives to help do their work.

    You can choose for each student what grade level and curriculum the math problems come from. (ex. common core, even canadian standards).

    It keeps track of their math work for you to view. I impressed with all the data they gather for teachers and that the price is free.

    Now I have to find a site that has similar style to this and Manga High, but for writing/language arts. Do you know of any Jacqui?

  6. Adrian

    My children just started using Prodigy at their school (3rd, 5th, and 7th grades). All three love it! I’m a 5th grade teacher and I plan to bring it to my classroom, as well.

  7. Katrina

    I am a teacher who is currently considering offering this to my math classes. Do you know what the fee is that is associated as a school?

    • Jacqui

      Sorry for the late reply, Katrina. The paid version is $5-$10 a month, but the free version includes all of the educational content, just less access to some of the game parts. Definitely start free and see if that works for you.

  8. Sherry PIckett

    I just signed my students up for this game two weeks ago and it has changed my classroom. I can’t believe I’ve never heard of it before. You know a game has to be awesome when its got an educational aspect and the kids are playing it at home. I just wish there was something similar for my language arts class.

    • Jacqui

      It is amazing, I completely agree. There is one literacy game that caught my attention. It’s called Sports Network and gamifies the process of close reading for students. You might find it useful.

  9. Kaye

    I am a special education teacher who has started using Prodigy this year with my students (mostly second and third grade boys). They absolutely love it, and when I pull up reports I can see the areas that they are struggling in and their progress. I can use this data to measure progress on IEPS. My only complaint is that there are no direct alignments to the the Texas TEKS, which would really make my data collection easier. Otherwise, the kids love it, don’t really get bored with the gaming aspect, and are making progress. I do have one kiddo who purchased the game because he was very hooked in to the badges and other items you could earn. His mom thinks it’s well worth it if he is motivated to learn.

    • Jacqui

      Good to get your feedback, Kaye. I know the developers are looking at additional alignments. It was one of my questions when I wrote this review.

  10. Karen Tan

    I don’t have Prodigy for homework, but I love it!!

    • Jacqui

      If your teacher’s like me, she’d welcome your ideas on how to make math learning more fun.

    • Arya

      I can’t agree more!!! Prodigy is the best game ever!!! 🙂

  11. Stacey

    What does the membership actually include my son asked me to purchase it and I’m not sure if it’s actually worth it. Thank you

    • Jacqui

      Hi Stacey

      It doesn’t include extra educational material, but–and this is from their website–it does include fun stuff that probably keeps kids playing and learning:

  12. Coolgirl

    I like prodigy- sort of….

  13. Kelly

    I am a teacher who used Prodigy this past school year. It was a great addition to my 6th grade classroom, but some of my students figured out how to set up a teacher account and assign topics to the other students. Instead of my students doing the 6th grade skills I assigned, they were working on 1st grade skills assigned by other students. I hope Prodigy figures out a way to distinguish actual teacher accounts from fake student-made ones.

    • Jacqui

      That’s a quirk. Thanks for posting about that. I haven’t heard about that before. Anyone else have this problem?

  14. Jamal Ali

    My child wanted me to subscribe. Although I was not sure, I did subscribe for a month. She used it for about three weeks and stopped using that. Seven months later I realized that they have been charging my credit card every month. When I contacted them, they refunded for 2 months and told me that their website clearly state the automatic renewal.

    It was like the old cigarette adds. If you don’t read the small prints, you are screwed. When you signin, it doesn’t give you an option to optout from automatic renewal and if you don’t cancel; you are screwed.

    • Jacqui

      I’m sorry to hear that. I’ve had similar experiences with other products–not this one, thankfully. Automatic renewals seem to be the way it’s going.

  15. Arlene

    I was a skeptic of the game. But my computer program for math was cancelled mid year so I decided to make accounts for my 25 3rd graders mid-year. I’ll be honest, I was so scared that the students would end up just buying wands or walking around and not really do the math … But this was not the case! They are constantly doing math problems! And they love it. I don’t even have to assignm physical math homework. I assign Prodigy Math and everyone does it AND more. I love it. Also, I get to do small groups while the rest of the class is differentiated on Prodigy.

  16. Cheryl

    How many of you use the iPad app? I used it last year just by creating a link for my students on my webpage. However now all students have IPads. I’m wondering if the app is necessary.

    • Jacqui

      That’s a good question. I haven’t run through the Chrome app in its entirety so am not sure what the differences are. I hope a reader weighs in.

  17. Rachelle

    I would like to know from other teachers if the wizard content is accepted by parents.

  18. Tama Trotti

    I have been using this for about a month with my third graders and they absolutely love it and I am thrilled. I use only the free version and tell the students to ignore the requests. It doesn’t change the game for them. My first unit test grades improved so much I couldn’t believe it. My students constantly ask to play this and they also play at home which I am thrilled to here. I too was searching for a very similar game for ELA and will check out your suggestions.

    • Jacqui

      I’m glad to hear this works so well. It is a site I constantly recommend to teachers I work with. Good luck in your new school year!

  19. Tara

    My daughter says she can battle with her friends is this safe? Can other people leave comments or message my daughter on this app?

  20. mrsdieboltstechnology

    I introduced Prodigy last year in my tech lab. Grades 2/3 love it, but the older kids not so much. It is perfectly safe and we only play the free version. The students can “battle” each other and love it! Would highly recommend this to anyone!

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