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Review CornerSoftware
The ClueFinders 5th Grade Adventures
Rating: Rating
The Bottom Line
This program seamlessly combines fun and learning and features an absorbing adventure story line -- would make the perfect summer game for either refreshing skills or for getting a headstart on 5th grade curriculum.
Ages: 9-11+  Subject: Curriculum  Brand: The Learning Company
Review Sections: Product Overview  Entertainment Value  Technically Speaking  Design  Skills Covered  Replayability  Educational Value  Dollar Value
image Product Overview
Ships are disappearing in an unexplored territory of the South Pacific, and the ClueFinders join scientists to investigate. Their vessel capsizes, and they find themselves shipwrecked on an uncharted volcanic island. Two of the ClueFinders disappear, along with others, and the remaining team needs players' help to solve the mysteries.

The 10 activities in this adventure cover a wide range of subjects in fifth grade curriculum — math, language arts, history, geography, and problem-solving skills. There are 4 difficulty levels available. Players explore the island and play the activities, collecting CrypTiles that are required to play games that will help them advance in the game. The activities are as follows:

  • In Sulfur River, the ClueFinders need to cross a river of molten sulfur by matching stone tiles with similar polygons and angles to create a stone bridge.
  • The Cryptile Stories requires players to sort paragraph fragments into logical order, creating coherent stories that contain interesting historical bits.
  • Poison Garden tests kids map reading and logic skills as they try to find buried Cryptiles.
  • Faces Within the Face is a fun activity that involves transforming numbers by performing operations on them.
  • Shark Crossing requires players to solve math problems in order to build a bridge across shark-infested waters.
  • In Tube Cavern, 3 tubes have been broken into smaller pieces, and kids need to add fractions in order to rebuild the tubes.
  • Spelling Catwalks involves building a bridge by spelling words correctly.
  • Fish With the Fish involves working with parts of speech, synonyms, and antonyms as they logically solve the puzzles.
  • Biosphere Chambers requires players to place different species of animals together in a simulation chamber to determine if they can co-exist.
  • In the Minisub involves building electrical circuits from the given elements.
This product features The Learning Company's new A.D.A.P.T. Learning Technology that requires kids to do a fun pre-assessment activity in order to place them in the appropriate level and then constantly "monitors" progress along the way to adjust the learning activities accordingly. Players have the option to do an Assessment test before embarking on their adventure. This test is in the form of a game and involves answering multiple choice style questions. When complete, players are placed in different levels for each activity according to their performance in the assessment, but these levels can be changed.

The second CD in the package allows parents to check players' progress, not just for The ClueFinders 5th Grade Adventures, but for any program that you own from The Learning Company that uses the A.D.A.P.T. Learning Technology. There are also printable workbook pages and reward certificates that are customized according to a child's performance/progress in the game.

As with the other ClueFinders programs, 5th Grade Adventures is amazing adventurous fun. The kid testers were totally absorbed in the adventure. In fact, they still are, and there is no doubt they will be playing this game right to the end.

Technically Speaking
Minimum requirements are Windows 95/98, a Pentium 60 processor, 16 Mb RAM, and 4X CD ROM. Mac users require a Power PC Mac with 16 Mb RAM, System 7.1 or higher, and at least 4X CD ROM. It requires 22 Mb of hard drive space.

Skills Covered
addition, subtraction, multiplication, geometry, logic, puzzle skills, addition with fractions, spelling, parts of speech, sentence order, map reading (legends, longitude, latitude), science, electrical circuits.

Educational Value
There are a wide range of 5th grade curriculum skills covered, and players actually enjoy playing the educational activities. The learning games are excellent and age-appropriate, and kids learn through exploration. A unique characteristic of the ClueFinders software line is that the activities not only teach essential skills in mathematics, geography, and the like, but also help develop thinking and problem-solving skills at the same time.

Entertainment Value
The mystery/adventure theme is a winner with children this age, and the story line and activities are absorbing. The characters are well-developed and interesting.

As with most games from The Learning Company, this one is very well-designed. Kids can click through instructions and animations, and there are excellent customization features as well. The new A.D.A.P.T. Learning Technology reduces frustration by automatically placing players at an appropriate level according to performance, and the levels can also be adjusted if needed.

Most kids will want to play this game right through to the end. There are 4 difficulty levels that also help to extend the life of the game.

Dollar Value
The suggested retail price is $29.95 US. We consider this program to be a valuable addition to any 4th-6th grade educational software library.

Released: 1999