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Children's Software Review:    Math Missions Grades K-2: The Race to Spectacle City Arcade (Scholastic)

 

 

Spectacle City is a fabulous cartoon city with a big problem: it's not doing so well financially because none of the clerks in the city's shops are good with math! Kids help the city flourish again by doing a little math wizardry. When they help all of the clerks, they are able to play games in the Spectacle City Arcade!

We just love this program! It has been quite some time since a solid (and fun) new math software has been released, and this one is very impressive. Filled with options and even a "tutor" in the form of a device called an "a-pet" (automated personal educational tutor), this program is both child- and parent-friendly. One of three difficulty levels must be selected at sign-in, and these roughly correspond to Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade math curriculum.

Kids need to help the clerk at "Jump for Toys" by filling toy orders. On the easy level, they may need to "pick" an order of 33 toys by pulling them from bins of one's, ten's, and hundred's. On the hard level, the order may already have 158 toys and kids need to add enough toys to fill an order for 539 toys. Children work with pattern tiles at the World Piece Building in order to fill in the panes of glass and walls that were left incomplete by constructions workers. At the grocery store, Incredible Bulk, more order-filling is in store. On the highest level, kids may need to choose two boxes of cookies that, when combined, will equal a box of 53 cookies; or they may need to select all the containers of 2Slow Ketchup that are less than 600 ounces. At the pet store, Creature Comforts, kids help the distracted clerk by sorting animals who have escaped from their habitats. This clever activity involves sorting animals according to their features. On the easiest level, kids might need to sort a group of animals into habitats labeled "spotted", "striped", or "blue". On the hardest level, more advanced thinking skills are required to sort animals into habitats labeled "yellow", "no legs", or "yellow AND no legs". At the pier, kids fill seafood orders by weighing items like lobster, smelt, and mahi mahi; determine which plate of pies has more or less than the other; measure and compare fruits, and so forth. 

Finding all of the activities requires riding the subway, the bus, and the ferry. Each method of transportation requires a math problem to be completed. For example, kids need to fix the ferry clock, provide exact change to the bus driver, and find the correct number-labeled subway stops. As children complete activities, they are rewarded with a "cha-ching"--the city is making money again all because of them!

This program is very cute! Children enjoy the activities and the educational content is both clever and valuable. The program provides very encouraging feedback. 

 

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

 

 

For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Math Mission K-2 With Bonus Card Game (Kindergarten - 2nd Grade) (DVD Box)  

 

 

 

 
Pros:
  • Clever activities in a fun environment.
  • Real-world math problems.
  • Three difficulty levels cover grades K, 1, and 2.
  • Encouraging feedback and a positive message.

 

Cons:
  • None noted. 

 

 

 

For Win/Mac By: Scholastic  Ages 5-8 Published: 2003
 

 

Our Rating:

A+

To Buy this CD-ROM:

Buy Math Mission K-2 With Bonus Card Game (Kindergarten - 2nd Grade) (DVD Box)for $19.99 US or less at Amazon.com

Reviewed August 2003                                                                                            Comments? Email us.
 


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