Gizmos- A Science and Math Gizmo That’s Not For Me, But May Be For You

When given the task to explore a new content creation or teaching tool, I wanted to find something I would possibly use in my own classroom. When I looked at the list of options, the name Gizmos caught my attention because it is a cool name and also because it was under the Math tools category. Currently, my school division is using Zorbits as its main Math technology tool for Grades 1-3, which is OK, but I often find that I am supplementing the program with different Math games. I usually use Zorbits only for a Math technology center when I do Math centers, but even for that limited amount of use, I am often wanting more- or at least a more specific way to practice a skill. I was interested to see if Gizmos would be something that would do that.

When I got to the site, I was able to sign up for a free trial. I entered my email and then was given more login instructions in an email that was immediately sent to me. I had to agree to give my students permissions to use Gizmos before I could login. I’m not sure why this would be an issue because students access lots of sites and tools online that haven’t been vetted by anyone but me, but a teacher may want to check with admin before using this site to make sure it is okay.

I was then brought to a login page and had to enter some information about me and my school. Hopefully this site is legit and I don’t start receiving unwanted phone calls from having entered my phone number. Then my account was all set up! I was given the option to change the name of my class and how my name appeared.

This is what it looked like when I first logged in!

I pressed continue and left the name what it originally was and then clicked on the free trial. It immediately prompted me to enter more information about the grades I teach and if I was interested in Math or Science. Nothing like entering more and more personal information into a site I know nothing about. I hadn’t been prompted to enter a credit card though so I continued.

I was immediately disappointed because the grade options did not go below grade 3. So much for finding something that I will use in my own grade 2 classroom. Nonetheless, I was too invested in exploring this site to quit, so I chose the lowest available age option and continue on my exploration. I was pretty impressed that the Saskatchewan Curriculum was uploaded right to the homepage and I could choose which curriculum I wanted to filter the lesson/simulation results to. This is awesome and time saving when searching for a tool to use to fit a specific outcome. It gave the option to add specific indicators to the class. I chose to add patterns because that’s what I am working on with my students in my own class right now.

At this point, I was pretty excited to see what would be generated for my class based on patterns. I clicked on my class, which was easy to navigate to, and was brought to immediate disappointment. There was only one lesson to use, and it was called “Pattern Flip.” When I went into the lesson, I saw immediately that it was based on repeating patterns. There isn’t even a repeating pattern outcome in Grade 3. Sooo.. beware that even though you choose specific outcomes, the lessons that are filtered for you may not even match the desired outcome.

The lesson itself was pretty cool though once I moved past the annoyance that it did not match the outcome it was supposed to. It had everything you may need to teach the lesson. There was a teacher guide, a worksheet, an interactive online game, a quiz, and a vocabulary page. It was also easy to navigate.

This is what the lessons look like and you can click on individual parts of the lesson

After looking through this lesson, I spent some time looking through lessons on different topics. They were set up very similarly. If a teacher was paying attention to what topic they were on, there would be some good activities to use. Overall, I will probably not use this site myself because it doesn’t go down to Grade 2. If I felt like spending a lot of time sifting through activities to find one that matched a topic we were working on, I could make some of the lessons on Gizmos work in my classroom but for now, I’m still on the hunt for another good math resource. For other teachers, this could be a valuable tool. There are lessons on all types of math and science topics. The lessons are well organized and I like that they include interactive activities. Everything you need for a particular topic is included all in one spot. The main weakness that I want to caution to other teachers is to really make sure that the lessons align with the Saskatchewan curriculum before using them, because as I saw for myself, the filter option isn’t really all that great.


One thought on “Gizmos- A Science and Math Gizmo That’s Not For Me, But May Be For You

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  1. I really appreciate the honesty in your review! I felt like I was on a journey with you in this post. I was so excited when you said that it includes the SK curriculum, that almost never happens! I really felt your disappointment that it didn’t extend to the lower grades as that’s where I do most of my math instruction as well. It sounds like an app that has some good potential, hopefully they’ll keep working on improving the resources and curriculum alignment.


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