Most third- and fourth-graders need some practice with their multiplication and division facts. This CD-ROM gets the job done, and even stretches the learning beyond facts and into other areas such as time-telling and calendar math. *Multiplication & Division* can be successfully used to reinforce skills learned in school in a home setting.
The format of the game is simple but likable. Children select their levels and exercise pages for each round, and then attempt to earn as many points as possible by completing the exercises. Answers to each page's problems are listed on the left side of the screen. Children click and drag these solutions to the correct problems. Players can work through the program independently or turn the game into a friendly competition with a buddy if they are up for a challenge.

A sample exercise features a group of machines called "eightalators." Any number placed into these special machines will be divided by eight, and kids are required to click and drag the given dividends into the appropriate machines. Other pages feature work with word problems, completing number patterns, balancing seesaws with equivalent equations, and determining the average number of miles a girl rides on her bike over the span of a few days. While many exercises focus on drills, some require higher-order thinking skills, such as one in which children must decide which number sentence will solve a word problem, and another in which kids estimate answers to equations. Not all exercises feature explicit work with division and multiplication. Children work with calendar math, matching digital and analog time, and rounding numbers as well.

Each exercise page begins with a pop-up instruction box that kids must read by themselves, as no audio for directions is provided. Sometimes, tips are offered along with directions for completing the exercises. For example, in one activity, kids need to decide whether numbers are divisible by three. Children are shown a trick — that if the sum of the digits of the number is divisible by three, then the number is as well.

Timed bonus questions appear whenever kids have completed four consecutive answers correctly, and are related to the current exercise. For struggling students, this option can be turned off. Even if left on, however, these beat-the-clock challenges appear only when a child is showing a certain amount of mastery.

Technically Speaking

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.

Skills Covered

Players develop the following math skills: recognizing sequences, skip counting, multiplication with single- and double-digit numbers, identifying common products, identifying missing factors, identifying coordinates, reading bar graphs, solving word problems, balancing equations, division with single- and double-digit quotients, telling time, determining remainders, money math, estimating, solving two-step problems, and calculating averages.

Educational Value

Though the program largely features drill of math facts, some tips and tricks are provided as well. Parents and children alike will find the program very valuable for skills practice at home.

Entertainment Value

The quiz format, with points to earn and timed bonus questions, is an appealing one for most children in the target age range. Attention-grabbing graphics and expressive sound effects help keep kids playing.

Design

Once understood, the interface is straightforward. The program offers the opportunity for kids to play alone or against a friend. There is an assessment feature included that could have been easier to use.

Replayability

There are a total of 56 lessons available on the disc, spread out over seven levels. The game itself is appealing; especially considering it doesn't disguise learning. We expect replay value to be fair mainly because kids appreciate the game's straightforward format as well as the chance to earn points and better their previous high score.

Dollar Value

This program carries a suggested retail price of $24.95 US.

Released: 2001

Reviewed: September 2001