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.
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
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 gamefrom 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.
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)]
- Clever activities in a
- Real-world math
- Three challenging difficulty levels
cover grades 3, 4, and 5.
- Encouraging feedback and
a positive message.
- 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