Wednesday, October 03, 2012

TOS Review: ZooWhiz

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 ZooWhiz is an exciting, on-line learning adventure with an Australian flair. Kids, otherwise known as zookeepers, complete various activities while learning important concepts such as math, reading, grammar, punctuation, and word skills. Kids are encouraged with words of praise (in an Australian accent, of course) as they answer questions correctly, and they are also rewarded with coins to spend on fun games or animals for their virtual zoos.
Becoming a zookeeper is easy! To begin, your child between the ages of 5-15 can create a FREE Keeper Account. (Younger children will obviously need help setting this up.) Here's what you receive with a free account:
Teachers can also create accounts for their classrooms. For more information on this feature, you can visit the ZooWhiz website.
For a general overview of ZooWhiz take a 3-minute tour now!

As a Schoolhouse Review Crew Member, I received a 12-month Premium Zoologist subscription for one child. You can upgrade your child's account at any time to Premium Zoologist to receive even more benefits. For a limited time, you can upgrade your account for just $14.95 for a 1-year subscription. That's more than a 50% savings!
 Take a moment to watch this short video on upgrading to a Premium account.

My 7-year-old daughter was so excited to enter the wild world of ZooWhiz. To get started, she chose one of these cool avatars. (The one with pink hair.)
Once she was all signed in, she was able to begin her ZooWhiz adventure. 
There are four buildings from which to choose: Learn & Earn, Arcade, Biodome, and Milestones.
*In Learn & Earn my daughter completes educational activities while earning coins to spend at the Arcade or to buy animals for her virtual zoo. To start an activity, she chooses which subject she'd like to work on. Her favorite is Reading.
Next, she chooses an age level and a step. There are between 7-10 steps in each age level. After that, she's ready to play! Age levels in Math are 6-7, 7-8, 8-9, 9-10, 10-11, 11-12, and 12-15+. Age levels in Words are 5-7, 7-11, and 11-15+. Age levels in Reading are 5-7, 6-8, 7-9, 8-10, and 10-15+.

Following are a few samples of activities featuring different age levels:
Instructions to each activity are read to my daughter by a male or female voice with an Australian accent. A few times she's had a little trouble understanding a word being said, but it's minor and doesn't happen too often. (She does have to read some things on her own, which hasn't been a problem.) Sometimes my child will have to click on and drag the mouse to choose an answer, and sometimes she has to type in her answers using the keyboard. She loves Learn & Earn and has no problem completing the activities on her own. There's no chance of becoming bored for a long while, too, since there are over 17,000 activities!
Sometimes, inbetween activities, there are advertisements and links for other educational sites. We just ignore those.
*In Milestones, she can see a detailed progress report for all of her completed activities. Here is a sample page from the website:
Here is a breakdown of what each smiley face means:
There is also a dock bar at the bottom of the screen that continuously updates progress. It keeps track of my daughter's coins earned, animals in her zoo, zoo level, and ecucational score.
*The Biodome is a fun place to go because this is where my daughter can use her coins to purchase animals for her virtual zoo. This is definitely an enticing incentive for my animal-loving daughter! So far she has 57 animals in her zoo.
There are hundreds of animals from which to choose. They are grouped into the following 14 categories: Grassland, Ocean, Tundra & Polar, Desert, Mountain, River & Lake, Domestic, Dinosaur, Rainforest, Mythical, Forest & Woodland, Marsh & Swamp, Forest, and Extinct.
It's really fun to be able to buy mythical and extinct animals! My daughter already has the unicorn, but I keep urging her to save up her coins for one of the dragons (my favorite animal). However, they each cost 5000 coins! She been sticking to the less expensive animals for now to build up her zoo. :)
Here's an example from my daughter's zoo. She can view her animals by category or choose to view them all at the same time. The animals labled with the letter "P" can only be purchased by Premium Zoologists.

A really neat feature of the zoo is the ability to click on any of the animals and learn more about them - details, habitat, diet, threat, and scientific information.

 *The Arcade is also a fun place to visit. My daughter can spend her coins to play games here - some are for learning and some are just for fun. Games from which to choose include: Paint n' Play, Tet Row, Rainbow Conga, Bubble Plunge, Patty Cake Panic, Goal Glory, and Combo Conga.
ZooWhiz is a fantastic educational resource! It's a high-quality site that's FUN for kids. I never have to tell my daughter to get on ZooWhiz; it's usually one of the first things she does every morning. Before I am even finished getting ready for the day, she loves to come in my room and tell me all about the new animals she bought for her zoo. 
In my best Australian accent, I give ZooWhiz a wholehearted CRACKERJACK rating!

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

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