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Children's Software Review:    Math Missions Grades 3-5: The Amazing Arcade Adventure (Scholastic)

 

All reviews at Edutaining Kids are independent, impartial reviews. Children's software reviews are designed to help parents and caregivers decide which software games are best for their kids, and are evaluated based on a number of factors, including educational and entertainment value, originality, dynamic content, and quality of learning.

Math Software Review: The cartoon city of Spectacle City, founded by Horton Spectacle, was destined to be the greatest city on Earth, but Randall Underling is determined to see it fail. Not only that, the store clerks need help with math. Players step in to help the clerks run their shops, drawing on real-world math skills as they do.

This program is outstanding. It keeps children busy, has a clear goal to work towards, and features clever activities that are mostly fun to complete. As children participate in the activities, they earn money. Once they've earned enough money and achieved a set game ranking, they can open up the city's arcade. Not only do children get to play the arcade games as a reward, they actually become owners of the arcade and make business decisions about what games to buy for the arcade, buy ads, and track sales! This business simulation is a fun and educational reward. Of course, children will want to earn more money to keep the arcade alive and thriving, and they need only return to the program's activities in the stores in order to do so.

At sign-in, children choose a difficulty level. There are three levels, designed to correspond to third grade, fourth grade, and fifth grade curriculum. The program is probably best for children entering fourth or fifth grade because, as with the Math Missions Grades K-2 program, the math activities are somewhat advanced. 

In the MegaBuyts store, children work with reading graphs. If they don't understand a term like "range" or "mode", they can always turn to the "a-pet" and get a definition and explanation from Ada Lot. In the sports store, children make uniforms for sports teams. They might, for example, select the best uniform for a team given individual players' preferences. In the grocery store, they may need to choose all the containers with more than one-half pound of ketchup, where the containers are marked with fractions (2/3lb., 9/4lb., 5/9lb., etc.). Players work with pattern tiles at the World "Piece" Building, as they complete unfinished windows. At the pier, kids fill pie orders. They may need to determine which amount is smaller: 1/4 of a pie or 3/8 of a pie, and they can actually slice up pies to help them determine the answer. Children weigh seafood and compare weights, measure fruits and vegetables, measure ingredients for smoothies, and more.

In order to get to all the activities, children need to ride the subway, the bus, and the ferry. Each method of transportation requires a math problem to be completed. For example, kids need to provide exact change to the bus driver (they may need to deposit exactly 6 coins that total 15 cents, for example), and find the correct number-labeled subway stops by determining factors of given numbers. 

There are plenty of surprises in the game—from the peppy cartoon intro to mini treasure hunts, to the appearance of a math magician from time to time. Children have fun as they work towards earning enough money to not only "save the city", but to own and manage their own arcade. This is a clever and fresh program with valuable educational content. It strikes a perfect balance between education and play. Very recommended! 

 

See more screenshots from the game, along with our notes here.

 

 

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Math Mission 3-5 With Bonus Card Game (3rd - 5th Grade) (DVD Box)]

 

 

 

 

 
Pros:
  • Clever activities in a fun environment.
  • Real-world math problems.
  • Three challenging difficulty levels cover grades 3, 4, and 5.
  • Encouraging feedback and a positive message.
 

 

Cons:
  • Although help is given, it is not always specific to the problem at hand. If children are completely stumped, they only have the option to change levels--they are not given the correct answer. 

 

 

 

For Win/Mac By: Scholastic  Ages 9-11 Published: 2003
 

 

Our Rating:

A+

To Buy this CD-ROM:

Buy Math Mission 3-5 With Bonus Card Game (3rd - 5th Grade) (DVD Box)  for $19.99 US or less at Amazon.com

Reviewed August 2003                                                                                            Comments? Email us.
 


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