NumberShire™ is an internet-based, educational game with an intensive focus on critical whole number concepts and skills for students in kindergarten through second grade. NumberShire is intended for all students, especially those at risk for mathematics difficulties.

  • K
  •  - 2
  • Instruction
  • Game


NumberShire, an educational mathematics video game, involves an engaging and fun storyline set in an idyllic, Renaissance-themed village with unique characters, narrative goals, and visual rewards. This interactive storyline motivates students through lessons with an intensive focus on whole number concepts and skills.

How NumberShire Can Help Your Students

  • Approximately 12 hours of game play per grade level.
  • 15-minute sessions, designed to be delivered four days per week for 12 weeks
  • Aligned with the Common Core for Mathematics (2010).
  • Based on the growing knowledge base of effective mathematics instruction for struggling learners
  • Provides students with timely and engaging feedback about their game performance
  • Adjusts gameplay based on student performance
  • Runs on all popular web-browsers on PC or Mac platforms.
  • Uses an explicit instructional approach to introduce, demonstrate, and review whole number concepts
  • Provides guided and independent practice opportunities for students to build a robust conceptual foundation of critical mathematics

NumberShire was developed through a unique partnership with Thought Cycle, an Oregon-based gaming company, and funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R324A120071 to the University of Oregon and SBIR funds to Thought Cycle, LLC.


Technology Requirements

  • Recommended Operating System
    • Mac OS X 10.6 or greater, or Windows XP or greater
    • AMD or Intel based processor
    • 1 GB RAM
  • Broadband Internet Access
  • Keyboard, and Mouse or Trackpad
  • Headphones (optional, but recommended)
Numbershire on a Computer

Our Research to Your Classroom

Findings support the effectiveness of NumberShire during an 8-week pilot study in 26 first grade classrooms involving 250 students.

  • Significantly improved mathematics learning.
  • Significant effects of treatment over control were obtained on the primary proximal NumberShire assessment (p < .001, partial η2 = .063, Hedges’ g = 0.30) and a 2-week interim proximal NumberShire assessment (p = .025, partial η2 = .022, Hedges’ g = 0.22)

Iteratively designed through data obtained during pilot testing.

Development and research funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences.

Developed in alignment with the Common Core State Standards and effective instructional principles.

Research on NumberShire is among few rigorous studies that have investigated the effectiveness of technology-based math programs.

Fien, H., Doabler, C., Nelson-Walker, N. J., Gause, M., & Baker, S. (2013, April). Using instructional gaming to help at-risk learners develop early mathematical proficiency. Paper invited for presentation in the Division of Learning Disabilities, Strand F (Supporting Students with Learning Disabilities in the STEMs: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Showcase at the Council for Exceptional Children Convention and Expo, San Antonio, TX.

Nelson, N. J., Doabler, C. T., Fien, H., Gause, M., & Baker, S. K. (2013). Instructional gaming: Using technology to support early mathematical proficiency. Paper presented at the Fall 2013 Conference of the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, Washington, DC.

Nelson, N. J., Doabler, C. T., Fien, H., Gause, M., & Baker, S. K. (2014, April). Piloting the shire: studying the promise of an early mathematics gaming intervention. Lecture presented as part of a multi-presentation session at the Council for Exceptional Children Convention and Expo, Philadelphia, PA.

Nelson, N. J., Fien, H., Doabler, C. T., Clarke, B., Gause, M., & Baker, S. K. (2014, September). Assessing the feasibility and promise of an individualized mathematics gaming intervention for first grade students in a randomized-controlled trial. Paper invited for presentation in the Improving Early Math Outcomes for Students with Disabilities through Intensive Intervention Symposium at the Fall Conference of the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, Washington, DC.

Nelson-Walker, N. J., Doabler, C., Fien, H., Gause, M., & Baker, S. (2013, February). Using instructional gaming to support students develop early mathematical proficiency. Poster presented at the 2013 Convention of the National Association of School Psychologists, Seattle, WA.



“NumberShire is a way to give (struggling students) that extra reinforcement and practice. It’s more practical to their lives and what they know. It’s more fun and motivating. They’re building a village and collecting awards along the way. If you make a mistake or get an incorrect answer, it comes back and re-teaches you the skill and gives you the language on what that math concept is and what you need to do and why, so then kids can go back, practice and master that skill.” Antje Snawder, Kindergarten teacher

“I like the data piece. I like being able to go in and see what my kids are doing well at and what they need help with so I can bring that back to the classroom instruction for them.” Antje Snawder, Kindergarten teacher

“The reason I decided to become involved in working with NumberShire is I really do feel like this is the future. I feel like this is where we’re going to make a lot of progress working with students. I feel like kids really enjoy it. They really engage with NumberShire, they engage with technology. And it’s going to really help us get more data on students so we can help them not at the end of a unit when we find out that they actually didn’t learn it, but that day.” Tim McAndrew, Math Coordinator