Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Schoolhouse Review: ZooWhiz


Since early in my blogging days, she's been called the Princess. But today I think I'm going to have to change it to Miss Impatient. My eleven-year-old is talking aloud to the computer screen -- willing it to keep going.  ZooWhiz has her attention and the new Lion Fish has her eye.  Just a few more correct math answers and she'll be able to add it to her zoo.  And then there's that horse.  She's absolutely, positively obsessed with horses and the Clydesdale is calling her name.  She has GOT TO HAVE that one in her zoo so I may never get her off of ZooWhiz.

An online learning game, ZooWhiz is great fun for animal lovers from age 5 - 15.  Your zoologist can try it for FREE, but be forewarned -- they are going to like it so very much that you are going to be happy to upgrade their account to PREMIUM.  (It's only $14.95 for the entire year, so it's really a great bargain.)  Not only will your child enjoy the extra benefits that come with a premium membership, but you will enjoy the detailed feedback you get from their online experience AND the parental controls you can apply if necessary.

With three main subject areas to work through, ZooWhiz provides a detailed analysis of your child's capabilities and improvements.  Math, Reading, and Words (which include Word Skills, Punctuation and Grammar) are all included to give your student a well-rounded visit to the zoo.  To see how well they are doing in any of the subject areas, students and parents can visit the Milestones Building (see map below) for a breakdown of their work.   Different smiley faces show if the work has been completed successfully or if extra work is needed as you can see in the example below.


Check out this Guided Tour of ZooWhiz. 

Because it's still a fairly new program, improvements and additions are being made every day.  There are even Parent and Teacher Activities coming soon.  Technology is fast moving and our children are growing up in a time where they simply MUST be on the cutting edge if they are going to keep up with the world.  I like knowing that ZooWhiz is constantly evaluating their product and working to make it better for my child.  Don't you?   Photobucket The Princes aka "Miss Impatient" has enjoyed playing on ZooWhiz for several weeks now.  She likes it all but her favorite part was when she earned the Clydesdale Horse.  To buy it for her zoo, she had to earn quite a few points so that she'd be rewarded with the chance to purchase it.  In order to earn points, students do math, spelling, and reading exercises.  Every time they answer problems or questions correctly, they are given points.  How's that for positive reinforcement?  The points are then used to purchase virtual animals and put them in their own personal zoo.  Once you own an animal, ZooWhiz gives you a description of the animal and information about its habitat including whether it would make a good real-life pet or not.  For an animal lover like my Princess, that's a PERFECT activity and just the incentive she needs to keep on going forward.  Knowing there are animals to purchase keeps her from becoming bored and keeps her motivated to learn. I asked the Princess to tell me exactly what she does from the very beginning when she has computer time on ZooWhiz so that you can see the nuts and bolts through her eyes.  Here's what she has to say about it:
The real point of the game is to earn coins and buy animals.  The first thing that you do is you log in.  You just put your user name and password in and then hit enter.  Once you've logged in, you go to the Map.  You visit the Biodome and enter the Shop.  You can look for all of the animals that are there to buy.  I like really cool animals that you don't see where I live -- like Llamas, and Ostriches, and Peacocks.  Once you've spent all of your coins in the Shop of the Biodome, you have to go earn more.  To earn more coins, you go into the Learn & Earn section.  You can choose one of three things to go and learn about.  You can choose from Math, Words, or Reading.  Once you've chosen which subject you want to work in, you choose your age.  (My mom made me try everything from the very beginning which is for 6- and 7- year- olds so that I could get really good practice.)  I think that all of the subjects are cool but Math and Reading are my favorites.  In the subjects, you play a game that is asking questions.  When I get the right answers, I get more coins and then I can go back to the Biodome and buy more animals.  Every time I get another animal, I feel like I accomplish something.  If you want to just play without learning, you can go into the Arcade.  There are lots of games there that you can do -- my favorite is the painting game.  You use your coins to play these games though so I didn't play them too much since I wanted to buy animals for my zoo.

Originating in Australia but educational fun for students across the world, ZooWhiz really does inspire my daughter to keep on learning {and the accent is delightful}.  She has thoroughly enjoyed reviewing this program and is actually begging me to finish up my review so that she can get back online.  It's her turn to smile because This Day Has Great Potential!  


~Disclaimer:  I was given the opportunity to use and review ZooWhiz as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  The opinions stated are mine and mine alone.  I was not paid to share my thoughts and feelings with you.  I received a premium subscription to the website in exchange for my honest review.  Please check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Crew thought of ZooWhiz as well.~

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