Before jumping into the review, the current pricing for Happy Numbers is $149 per year, for a classroom of up to 40 students (that includes a free 30 day trial). They also have custom school/district pricing available as well.
That being said, I would recommend checking out their website first, as you can explore their curriculum for free before deciding if it’s a good fit for your needs.
From within the Explore Curriculum tab, you can pick your grade level and take a look at a wide variety of sample activities. While not specifically aligned with any set of standards, the progression of activities and modules does mirror the majority of the CCSS, as well as most state level standards that I’m familiar with (e.g., Texas, Indiana, etc.).
In other words, the activities you’ll find here align with the majority of common K-2 math standards and are broken down into easy to find categories that provide clear descriptions of the contents.
Even if you’re not planning on purchasing a paid account, these free activities can be sent out via an LMS or an app like Symbaloo to provide extra practice for your students. The benefit of having student accounts is that you can actually see student progress in order to provide more individualized feedback, and you’ll have access to an even wider range of content and activities.
In addition to being able to see student progress, you’ll also be able to track how long students spend with each activity, and see where they’re hitting trouble spots. This gives teachers the opportunity to provide 1-on-1 feedback and interventions based specifically on the topics and areas that students are struggling with.
The Happy Numbers team has seen the most success with teachers who work with the app in small group or individual settings, because of the specific feedback on individual students that the app provides
Each activity is also based on common classroom strategies for teaching, and there is a major emphasis on the use of manipulatives, which is great to see. Most activities provide feedback for students when they make a mistake, and that feedback (and instructions) can also be read allowed by clicking on the audio button. Plus, the team offers their complete curriculum in Spanish as well if you are working with any ESL students who are native Spanish speakers.
That being said, I do think that overall the design of the activities is excellent. They use a large variety of representations and manipulatives to help explain various concepts, and you can read more about these in the blog posts below:
- Ten Frames
- Ten-Based Blocks
- Number Lines
- Hundred’s Chart for Number Sense
- Hundred’s Chart for Addition & Subtraction
Outside of the Happy Numbers app, the team also offers a completely free app called Plus Happy Numbers, which is accessible from the dropdown menu at the top left of the site. Plus Happy Numbers offers free monthly activities that are designed to get students thinking about math problems in ways that are “outside of the box.” There are spatial reasoning activities, and problems that require students to use more critical thinking skills. It’s a great addition to their activities, and it’s always nice to see applications that help students think about math in non-traditional ways.
Overall, I’m definitely a fan of Happy Numbers. While I do think it would be enormously beneficial to align the activities to a specific set(s) of standards, and to provide feedback to students on every activity when they made a mistake, I still think that overall the team is doing excellent work.
The focus on manipulatives, the wide variety of topics, and the additional Plus Happy Numbers activities all give K-2 teachers access to excellent supplemental resources. The multilingual and audio support are also great features to see. Additionally, the ability to see how individual students are progressing through their activities allows teachers to provide more personalized support to students in their classroom.
If you are a K-2 math teacher, I absolutely recommend exploring their curriculum, even if it’s just to try out the free activities that are available to everyone. And if you’re interested in purchasing a subscription for your classroom, school, or district, you can find out more information here.
The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
I was not compensated for writing this review.