This appealing CD-ROM is designed like the excellent GeoSafari electronic learning pads. GeoSafari Knowledge Pad: Math Addition & Subtraction is brimming with self-paced quizzes that help kids practice essential skills in addition and subtraction. There are seven levels of questions available, each of which contains eight styles of math problems. Besides solving addition and subtraction equations, kids work with telling time, counting coins, interpreting graphs, determining perimeters, and more.
Children can customize their learning session to include a series of lessons they select, or they can opt for a random selection. Then, they try to accumulate as many points as possible as they drag buttons into the correct slots on the pad in order to answer questions. Though there is no speech, children can read the objective for each lesson and listen to fun sound effects. Kids are treated to especially appealing visuals, including cartoons and photo-realistic objects.
The 56 activities include plenty of practice with solving basic equations. As well, children work with the concepts of greater than and less than, use a number line to round numbers to the nearest 10 or 100, refer to a map to solve distance problems, and read story problems, to name just a few activities. Because children are required to read instructions and word problems, and due to the program's educational content, we expect that first graders will be a little overwhelmed by the program. This title is probably best for second-grade math students, and is very appropriate for extra practice or enrichment in a home setting.
Timed bonus questions can be added to the learning sessions for those who prefer a game-show feel to the program. Confident children may enjoy playing the game with a friend.
What is missingand glaringly so for non-readersis verbal instruction. Though most children can figure out the objective of each lesson, the option for the program to read the instructions would have helped, especially considering many of the program's target audience (children in grades 1-2) are not yet fluent readers.
Minimum system requirements are Windows 95 or higher, Pentium or higher, 16 MB RAM, 2X CD-ROM. Mac users require a Power PC or higher, System 7.01 or higher, 16 MB RAM, and 2X CD-ROM.
Children work with addition, subtraction, bar graphs, number lines, telling time to the hour and half-hour, coins, addition of three numbers, equivalent equations, word problems, fact families, checking subtraction with addition, rounding to nearest 10 and 100, grid coordinates, geometric solids, measurement, perimeter, area, addition of two- and three-digit numbers, relative number values, number sequences, estimating sums and differences, adding with regrouping, map reading, chart reading.
The value of this program lies in its ability to provide plenty of practice with addition and subtraction in a variety of ways. This is not a program that focuses on teaching math concepts. Rather, children build skills and confidence as they work through the exercises.
This program is visually appealing and interesting. Though it lacks narration, there are plenty of flashing lights and funny sound effects to keep interest levels high.
The graphics are bright and interesting, and the interface works well. An assessment feature is included for parents and teachers.
The program's 56 different exercises should keep children busy learning over time. Some children will need encouragement to stick with the program, because besides the objective to collect points, there is no other reward system.
This program carries a suggested retail price of $24.95 US.
Reviewed: July 2001