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Review CornerSoftware
Transition Math Grades K-1
Rating: Rating
The Bottom Line
This is a nice economical package that will help round out a child's software library of early math programs. It's not a title that does a whole lot of teaching or development of children's understanding of math, but it provides sensible practice with basic skills in an especially engaging format.
 Award of Excellence
Ages: 4-6   Subject: Math/Logic  Brand: School Zone Interactive
Review Sections: Product Overview  Entertainment Value  Technically Speaking  Design  Skills Covered  Replayability  Educational Value  Dollar Value
 
 
image Product Overview
Based on School Zone's colorful Get Ready! workbook of the same name, this CD-ROM is designed to bridge the gap between preschool and grade school math skills.

Children work through 30 virtual workbook pages that provide practice with numbers from 1-20, basic time-telling, shape matching, number sequences, and more. Arcade-style games that are pure fun are inserted in between exercises as a form of breather from the academic work. When a child completes a page, clicking on the little green "advance" arrow prompts the program to correct the exercises either with giggling stars indicating answers are correct or red checkmarks that identify mistakes. At the bottom of the pages, 30 color-coded shoes flag pages that are either correct and complete, not yet attempted, or contain one or more errors. Kids can hop between these pages if they so please, or follow the exercises in the order they are presented.

Children complete connect-the-dots activities, count sets of objects and drag numerals to answer boxes to indicate their quantity, complete patterns, and more. Though the exercises are sensible, they range in difficulty from the simplest of shape matching to the more difficult task of finding a set of objects that contains 3 greater than the first. Two of the three interim arcade games are very fun, and the third is surprisingly difficult for children to maneuver. Fortunately, these can be skipped if a child is intimidated.

Though we praise programs that stray a little from traditional school emphasis on rote learning and mastery, fact is, children need these skills. This title will be especially helpful for getting young children into the school groove. Kids are expected to redo pages with errors and achieve 100% mastery before they earn their printable award. Still, the program remains positive and encouraging. Transition Math, like many others in the electronic workbook On Track series, succeeds at presenting school-style exercises in easily digested chunks. Because each focuses on a specific subject, children have the opportunity to concentrate on a topic requiring extra practice. Still, this program is not very multi-layered because challenge levels don't change in response to children's performance. However, the program helps provide practice and review of many skills children encounter in school. Plus, these are presented in an eye-pleasing environment that is difficult for most young children to pass up.

Technically Speaking
Minimum requirements are Windows 95/98 or higher, Pentium or faster processor, 24 MB RAM, and 4X CD-ROM. Mac users require a Power PC 601 or faster, 24 MB RAM, System 7.5.5 or higher, and 4X CD-ROM drive. This program requires 50 MB of free hard drive space. A printer is optional.

Skills Covered
shapes, counting, quantities, number sequences, patterns, telling time, visual discrimination

Educational Value
This makes a nice addition to a family's early math software library that includes other titles that help children explore math concepts. Though there is not a lot of depth, the program provides sensible practice with early math, featuring exercises that help children review and reinforce skills. Special emphasis is placed on number recognition up to 20, number sequencing, basic time telling, and patterns. The printed workbook on which the CD-ROM is based is included in the package.

Entertainment Value
The simple format that takes children through workbook pages and arcade-style games is pleasurable and hard to resist! Eye-popping, kid-pleasing graphics create a sense of fun.

Design
There's nothing confusing about this title's interface. The straightforward format won't ever have children guessing what they should do next. This is a well-designed title.

Replayability
The exercises are randomized so that subsequent work-throughs feature different problems. However, the format of the exercises remains much the same from one session to the next. Though one would expect replay value to suffer because of this, the package is attractive enough to appeal even to children who are uninterested in workbook-style exercises. Our 4 year-old tester asks to play this game often, even though she has completed many 30-page sessions.

Dollar Value
The CD-ROM is packaged with a colorful, high-quality workbook, and sells for $20 US.

Released: 2000
Reviewed: April 2001