This engaging software package is all about mathematical word problems with a mystery theme! Word problems are solved in the context of an intriguing underwater mission.
Word problems help bridge the gap between math and the real world. They demonstrate how math applies in possible real-life scenarios. Students need to draw upon their problem-solving, plan-making, and mathematical thinking skills. They need to determine what is extraneous and what is relevant information, all while reinforcing and practicing basic math facts in this case, measurement (distance, capacity, and weight). Practice with word problems prepares children for standardized tests, and Math Mysteries series is deliberately correlated to the NCTM principles and standards.
This package comes with the following:
The Whole Class CD can be used by the teacher to demonstrate the problem-solving process and to show students how to use the program's Math Pad.
- A Whole Class CD designed for teachers to use with the class. This contains 7 problems and 2 reproducible student worksheets per problem.
- A Mystery CD to be used by individual students or pairs of students. This CD contains 17 problems within the framework of a mystery adventure.
- A Teachers' Guide complete with reproducible worksheets and answer keys.
The Mystery CD draws students into an underwater mission. Players meet up with interesting characters at the Outpost Omega as they attempt to rescue the outpost crew. Each character has a lot to say, and children must listen carefully, pulling out sentences that they deem important by clicking on the "Grab Notes" button. Once they have collected the notes they need, it is off to the Math Pad (see screenshot at left). Here they will determine the problem that needs to be solved, make the necessary computations (generally multi-step), make conversions, and ultimately arrive at the solution.
There are currently 5 titles in the Math Mysteries series: Measurement, Whole Numbers, Fractions, Advanced Whole Numbers, and Advanced Fractions.
Minimum requirements are Windows 95/98, a Pentium 120, 32 Mb RAM, and 4X CD ROM. Mac users require a 132 MHz Power PC with 16 Mb RAM, System 7.1 or higher, and at least 4X CD ROM. A large-screen display system is recommended for the Whole Class CD; headphones are recommended for the Mystery CD.
measurement (distance, capacity, and weight), conversion facts, problem solving, planning
This package is specifically designed for school use. The CD successfully presents mathematical word problems in an engaging way. Students will enjoy the process and benefit from all the learning opportunities the problems offer. The problems get students thinking in more abstract mathematical terms, identifying the questions (math problems are not always phrased as a question nor are they always at the end of a conversation), determining relevant facts, and weeding out the extra numerical information.
Students will easily be drawn into the story line of this engaging mystery.
Navigation is a little tricky at first, but all in all, the program is designed well with automatic saves and excellent help/hint features. Students are presented with simple problems that progressively become more challenging as they move along in the adventure.
The mystery doesn't change from game to game. As such, this is not going to be played more than once by an individual child. Random problems would have extended the life of this product. However, the content is sufficient and the learning experience is more than worthwhile.
A one-computer license is $79.95. Other licenses are available.
Reviewed: July 2000