I Love Math! is a software program with a math mission to save the world from mischief-maker Gretchen and her not-so-bright, sidekick brother Wilbur. They have traveled back in time to cause problems in Ancient Greece, the Aztecs, Atlantis, and Egypt. Kids have to draw upon their math skills to help save the world. They travel in their Time Machine (which also acts as a sort of central headquarters where they receive their mini-missions and select options for the game).
After signing in, kids can select either 1 or 2 players, 4 difficulty levels, and one of 3 different modes of play:
Math challenges await kids in each of the 4 different locations:
- Save the World involves rescuing the 4 different locations from disaster in a mission mode.
- Kids can select Free Travel mode to choose their own route for time travel.
- In Challenge mode, kids choose the topics they want to cover before they travel to the past. They can choose from a large list of math topics (such as Dangerous Decimals, or Percent Pandemonium) to customize the game.
In between missions/locations, kids are occasionally faced with arcade challenges in the Time Machine. For example, they may hear that "Addition circuits are destroyed" and start to solve addition equations by collecting the correct falling numbered parts. Once they've done this successfully for a certain amount of time, the addition circuits are restored and they can go on with their mission.
- Greece: The destructive duo has locked up the athletes in Greece and kids need to work with measurement and time-telling skills in order to free them. Pictured at right, kids have to select who should get the gold, silver, and bronze medals in the Olympics based on criteria given (such as how far the javelin is from the target).
- Atlantis: Kids need to fix the plumbing system (Gretchen and Wilbur have drained the city) by working with fractions to fill the gaps in the pipes.
- Aztec: Gretchen and Wilbur have ransacked the Rainforest, stolen the birds, and locked them in the temple. Kids need to cut keys that will set the birds free by working with shapes. Shapes need to be moved in various ways - by rotating, flipping, etc. to make a perfect match, but there is a limit to the number of "moves" allowed. This activity challenges kids to think about strategy to determine how to maneuver the shapes utilizing the smallest number of moves.
- Egypt: Kids need to solve King Khufu's riddles (in the form of math word problems) in order to escape his pyramid. (Ex. on easy level, " I have 3 pairs of camels. In other words, 6 camels. How many camels are in a pair?"). Kids work with number words as well.
In each activity, there is a Clue button so kids can get hints when they're stumbling. I Love Math! is loaded with nice options my favorite is the option to control the amount of animation and chat in the game, and whether the questions should be read aloud by the program or not. Most software titles do not require kids to read problems, which is a shame for certain age groups that are capable of reading and could use some reading practice! I Love Math! gives you the option to choose how you want the multimedia experience to be. You can also control the time limits in the games how fast they will be, and if you want the activities to be timed at all.
The Challenge mode is excellent kids (or their parents) can select topics they need to practice. If you want to skip through some of the instructions and chat, simply press the spacebar. An interesting feature involves allowing 2 players to play and compete for points. Whether there are 1 or 2 players, there is record-keeping in the form of progress reports and high scores. The program contains "printables" as well.
Children testing the software were generally pleased with it, and their parents found the educational value of the game to be quite high.
All in all, this is a nice-looking and interesting mission with lots of great options to customize the experience for different kids.
Minimum requirements for PCs are a 486/33, 8 Mb RAM, and 2X CD ROM. This requires hard drive space of 9 Mb. Mac users need at least a 68040/25, System 7.0, 8-12 Mb RAM, 2X CD ROM, and 17 Mb of hard drive space.
fractions, 2-D shapes - rotating, estimation, adding and subtracting, strategic thinking, time-telling, clock skills, number words, math word problems, problem-solving, multiplication and division, percentage, ratios, geometry, place value
The program combines fun and learning well. A fair amount of math content is covered.
Parents can adjust just how entertaining (or distracting) the program can be by selecting the amount of animations and chat. The mission is an interesting one and should keep kids entertained. Children who like arcade style games will enjoy the intermissions in the Save the World mode.
The designers made this game easy to navigate and very customizable with 4 levels of difficulty and lots of nice options. The addition of a Clue button in the activities is a nice touch.
I expect I Love Math! to have decent replay value. The plentiful help options makes the program comfortable to play, and there is a fair amount of content in the program for kids to work through.
An enjoyable program that covers lots of math curriculum material can certainly be considered worthwhile.