Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Fall 2017 Website
Ages: 5 - 12 yrs.
Publisher: Koantum

Koantum (pronounced "Quantum") is a friendly, educational website loaded with interactive science lessons, grades kindergarten through fifth, designed to complement and bolster the science curriculum kids are learning in classrooms. Parent or teacher assistance is required to get started, but once a child is up and running, the lessons are self-directing and intuitive.

Sign in to the Kindergarten section, for instance, and chose from 18 different lessons—from the Five Senses and Plants to Weather and the Four Seasons. Each of them is about as age-appropriate as it can get, including the multiple subsections. Click the Water lesson and you start with a simple graphic image of four household uses of water—washing clothes, brushing teeth, etc. An enthusiastic girlish voiceover explains the importance of H2O in each case. Go to the first Water subsection for a lesson in the three different forms water—liquids, solid and gas. Yet another reviews everything about water learned so far. Still another presents more water scenarios and challenges kids to find answers to questions. Each lesson ends with a graphic and voiceover graphic-enhanced multiple-choice quiz reviewing of what was learned.

First grade lessons are a small step up from kindergarten in subject difficulty (Body Parts; Food Digestion; Shadow; Seed to Plants, etc.) and with similar format. Same for each increasingly difficult level upward. The 5th Grade lessons present more complex subjects that range from Cells and the Solar System to Photosynthesis to Simple Machines. And the lessons pose more questions and quizzing than earlier grades.

Koantum promotes its grade-based lessons as compatible with national and state standards. Its graphics are simple and appealing. Progressing through lessons is intuitive and easy to follow—though, one flaw is that at each step, there are no options other than going through to the end or clicking the grade-level home icon and starting completely over.

With a separate adult sign-in, parents and teachers can monitor a student's progress on the Koantum dashboard. That site also offers lesson plans and printable activities, primarily for classrooms.

Students can try three lessons for free (and it does not require submitting credit card info), but the all-lessons price for one student is $79 annually— requiring a commitment from a parent's budget and a student's time and attention.

Don Oldenburg   ©2017 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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