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Review CornerSoftware
The Clue Finders' 3rd Grade Adventures
Rating: Rating
The Bottom Line
An exceptional program that should have "classic" status. Kids love to work through this age-appropriate adventure and learn a whole lot at the same time.
Award
Ages: 7-9+  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
There are 4 ClueFinders who have stumbled upon a mystery in the Numerian rain forest — the animals are disappearing, the goo is being polluted, and one of the team member's scientist Uncle has disappeared as well. In order to solve the mystery, the team of adventurous children needs to find the keys to the Lost City.

After sign-in, kids must choose the difficulty level for each subject area (math, logic, language arts, science, and geography) for the mission — from levels 1, 2, 3, and Challenge.

There are 4 main areas of the rain forest that need to be explored, and the activities kids encounter will earn them sneezeberries and items they will need to face other challenges later in the game. The areas are as follows:

  • The Monkey Kingdom activities focus on mathematics. Kids must earn at least one bunch of each color of sneezeberries to use later in the adventure. Make an address and learn about place value, solve a word problem and place the right plaque on a monument, explore perimeter and place the correct length of vine around the outside of a pit, use deductive reasoning to determine the correct date on a calendar after reading clues, and determine the right amount of money to place in a treasure chest. Passing through this area to another one involves a blocked path. Find the group of stones that match a larger stone in order to balance the log. There are 5 Rings of Fire for which kids must use their sneezeberries in order to pass, and they will practice adding/subtracting, multiplication and division at the same time.
  • Goo Lagoon is full of logic problems and puzzles. Earn colored beetle bags to use to climb to the top of Goo Falls. The activities involve sorting pairs of bugs for the Spider Sisters, locking a chest to prevent a crabalock attack, using visual thinking skills to determine which leaf is different (and is actually an attack-nid disguising itself as a leaf), placing worms in the correct order in their seats on a boat by reading the clues, and saving a caterpillar's friend by following directions and discriminating attributes. When the path is blocked, put planks on the bridge in the correct order to complete patterns. Once kids collect enough beetle bags, they can try to climb the 5 walls of Goo Falls — but it won't be easy. They must call upon all their logical reasoning skills to do it.
  • Jungle Canopy contains lots of geography practice. Figure out where you are on the map, and help birds start their vacations and practice U.S. geography.
  • At The Lost City, the adventurers discover that the lost animals and Uncle Horace are trapped on the other side of 5 Bottomless Pits of Doom. In order to get to them, science problems must be solved. Kids need to earn serpents of snagnets by playing activities: classify words into categories, sequence words in a sentence to form interesting facts, construct animal skeletons in the form of puzzles, read clues and label pictures, and rearrange sentences to make logical paragraphs. Language arts skills (and snagnets) are needed to seal the bottomless pits and finally rescue the animals and Uncle.
A practice mode is available for which kids can pick the difficulty level and not have to worry about the amount of sneezeberries, snagnets, and beetle bags they have collected.

Throughout the journey, kids learn more about the mystery when they meet up with inhabitants that chat and sing songs about the troubles in the rain forest.

This program is a perfect example of balanced edutainment — it seamlessly combines education and entertainment. It has lots of appeal, and younger children will enjoy watching the adventure as it unfolds.

Technically Speaking
Minimum requirements for PCs are a 486/66, 8 Mb RAM, and 4X CD ROM. Mac users will require a Power Mac 66 MHz, 16 Mb RAM, System 7.1 or higher, and 4X CD ROM.

Skills Covered
place value, money, addition, multiplication, decimals, patterns, deductive reasoning, calendar, following written directions, perimeter, even/odd numbers, subtraction, division, estimation, mathematical word problems, sequencing, graphic analogies, attributes, Boolean logic, making inferences, completing patterns and sequencing, word analogies, cardinal directions, longitude, latitude, mapping skills, U.S. geography, life science, physical science, synonyms, antonyms, homophones, main idea/details, parts of speech

Educational Value
This program provides an excellent mental workout to supplement any grade 3 curriculum. Logical second-graders will benefit as well. The skills covered (see above) are numerous and done very well. Kids are encouraged to think and explore in order to solve the problems.

Entertainment Value
The theme and the characters are perfect for this age group. The characters are well-developed and are a delight to watch.

Design
Everything is intuitive. The 4 difficulty levels are wonderful and allow a whole range of children to enjoy the program. The highest level is a "challenge" level that further extends the program. The thought that went into this title is evident in all areas — education, navigation, character development and theme, etc.

Replayability
There is a lot of content in this program — working through an adventure is long enough, but remember that kids can simply start over again on a higher level. With 4 levels altogether, there's a lot of total game play! Besides all that, this game is great fun.

Dollar Value
This program is worth every penny. It retails for about $30 US, $35 Canadian, but I have yet to see it being sold without a rebate offer attached to it, bringing it down to about $10. We consider this to be an excellent investment.

Released: 1998