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Review CornerSoftware
Math Blaster for 1st Grade
Rating: four and a half stars
The Bottom Line
A challenging, but fun, early math program for first-graders, this program motivates kids to play highly educational activities by offering the opportunity to earn colorful animal trading cards.
Award of Execllence
Ages: 5-7   Subject: Math/Logic  Brand: Knowledge Adventure
Review Sections: Product Overview  Entertainment Value  Technically Speaking  Design  Skills Covered  Replayability  Educational Value  Dollar Value
 
 
Math Blast 1st Grade Product Overview
Children are whisked away into an intergalactic zoo, and they must collect 5 trading cards by winning 5 math games in order to get the animals to come out and exercise with the Blaster Pals. This program features 1000+ math problems over 5 difficulty levels. There are 5 main activities as follows:
  • Feed the Woozers involves measuring food (for example, "find a carrot that is 5 units long" given a ruler and 3 different sizes of carrots). After this, kids pay for the food they measured, using coins, then feed the Woozers in an arcade-style game. Kids aim the food at the Woozers' mouths.
  • In Bath Time for the Crocodiles, kids set the clocks to the correct times for each of the crocodile's bath times, then squirt the crocs as they pop up from their hiding places.
  • Nap Zap Race is arcade style, and involves using the arrow keys and spacebar to make a character run and zapping the creatures with the correct number that completes a mathematical equation. Level 1 equations can include 0+4=, and level 5 may include _+6=11.
  • Creepy Bugs requires children to group bugs of various sizes, colors, and shapes into the appropriate sets.
  • The Egg Drop game takes place on Mother Bird's perch and involves dropping eggs into nests.
Animal trading cards are earned and can be printed in the zoo hut:
  • Function Factory contains many printable math puzzles.
  • Blaster Math Board is a creativity activity in which kids can work with numbers, symbols, words, shapes, and stamps.
  • In Print Animal Trading Cards kids can print out all the trading cards they have earned.
The 5 skill levels offer kindergarten through second grade content. There is a star chart that shows a graph of each level of each activity, and as each level has been mastered, a star appears in the chart, giving a visual view of a child's progress. Parents can get an idea how their children are doing through a progress chart that shows a mastery percentage per activity.

The animal trading cards serve as an incredible motivation for children to work through the activities! They are cute and kids enjoy printing up these colorful cards of goofy animals. The Egg Drop activity was very confusing at the outset for the child testers, but once they figured out how to play the game, they enjoyed it.

Also included is a Blaster Sticker Maker which requires Avery Kids sticker sheets. Kids love to create and print their own stickers using the Blaster characters, various backgrounds, and clip art.

Technically Speaking
Minimum requirements are Windows 95/98, a Pentium 90 processor, 16 Mb RAM (32 Mb RAM recommended), and 4X CD ROM. Mac users require a Power Mac with 32 Mb RAM, System 7.5.3 or higher, and at least 4X CD ROM.

Skills Covered
count whole numbers, count in number patterns, greater than and less than, measure and compare weight length and temperature, sort simple and complex sets, solve number stories, tell time to the quarter hour, count and recognize money, addition facts, subtraction facts, counting from 1 to 100, skip counting by 2's 5's and 10's

Educational Value
Loads of educational content can be found in this program, spanning 5 levels of difficulty. Many of the activities are quite challenging for 6 year-olds. The zoo hut contains some wonderful away-from-the-computer activities as well as the chance to experiment freely in the creativity area.

Entertainment Value
Many of the activities have arcade-style games to play, which appeals to many kids in the targeted age group. Kids will enjoy the zoo theme, the silly animals (such as the clockodiles), and the chance to earn animal trading cards.

Design
Lots of extras, adjustable difficulty levels, and easy navigation prove that this program was well thought out and designed.

Replayability
A huge range of educational content and skill levels, as well as powerfully motivating rewards, means this program scores high on replay value.

Dollar Value
This title retails for approximately $30 US.

Released: 1999