Curriculum Progression and The Carnival

I recently received this letter from a parent:

I am concerned that the amount of time my sons spend in the “Carnival” part of DreamBox may be affecting the speed of their progress.  Do my children advance in placement when they spend their time at the Carnival and in My House?  Or should I primarily limit them to the Adventure Park?

This is a good question, and to answer it, I’d first like to explain how progression works in DreamBox.  Curriculum progression happens primarily in the “Adventure Park” section, where colorful characters present challenging lessons, helpful hints, and exuberant encouragement.  As students complete the lessons in this area, DreamBox Learning’s GuideRight™ technology assesses their input, and offers new lessons based on the results.  And, let’s face it, if these lessons aren’t completed, then the student isn’t going to progress to the next grade.

Because of this, you may very well ask, “if this is where the whole curriculum takes place, then why do the Carnival and My House areas exist?”  Well, these areas are not without their own merits!

The My House section may not seem very academic on first glance.  However, it does serve as the main hub of DreamBox Learning’s most vital tool: engagement.  DreamBox works because kids have fun playing it, and part of that fun is collecting character cards, certificates, and other prizes.  The My House area gives them the ability to customize their avatar, check out the cool rewards they’ve earned in the Adventure Park, and print certificates of their achievements.  Also available in the My House section is a Toolbox, giving students unrestricted access to DreamBox Learning’s signature Virtual Manipulatives – gadgets that help teach the strategies and techniques that students need to not only learn math, but to excel at it.

The Carnival games are designed, first and foremost, to teach problem solving skills in math.  They also give children a standard area they can return to, so they can very clearly see and understand how they are getting better at math.  Adventure Park Lessons come and go, but Carnival games such as Dunk Tank and Frog Race can be revisited – and kids will be able to tell, based on past performances in the same game, how well they’re doing now.  This is a great way to reinforce their math skills, and build their confidence.

As for the Carnival’s contribution to curriculum progression, you can also see this for yourself. Simply log into your Parent Dashboard, find your child’s progress page, and click “Get Details”.  You will notice that one of the Curriculum Categories on this page is called “Problem Solving”.  The only way to earn progress on this bar, is by playing games in the Carnival.  You can tell which games affect which grade levels, by scrolling a little further down your student’s Progress Report Detail page, to the Curriculum Completion section.  Locate the “Problem Solving” section of each grade, and click on the green plus sign to the left of it.  You can then see which game(s) are needed to fill that grade’s Problem Solving bar.

As with all things in life, moderation is the key.  Students should definitely spend the lion’s share of their time in the Adventure Park, and use the My House and Carnival sections as ways of “cooling off” between new lessons.  My suggestion, would be to make sure your children spend at least 20 minutes in the Adventure Park, for every 10 minutes they spend in the Carnival and My House areas combined.  You’ve got to take the “serious learning” with the “serious fun”!

Do you have a question about DreamBox?  Well, what are you waiting for? The DreamBox Learning Customer Support team is always just a click away; just use the “Send Feedback” button in the lower right hand corner of the DreamBox Learning game window, and let us know what’s going on. We can also be contacted about this, or about any other DreamBox questions you may have, at support@dreambox.com. We’re always more than happy to help you!