Math 2, by School Zone Interactive
Posted: 9-October-2001

3 1/2 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: School Zone Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Moe Bradley Class: EDUCATIONAL

Math 2 is edutainment software designed to amuse and entertain children between the ages of 6 and 8 while they learn and practice second-grade level math. The skills covered are addition, place value, subtraction, skip counting, multiplication and fact families.

Math 2 uses the standard work/reward methodology to lead children through each stage of the program. Children approach each skill through a series of screens with problems to solve. When the problems on two screens are solved correctly, the reward for the successful effort is a game to play.

Screen navigation is simple. Clicking on the green arrow will take you to the next page, after stopping the current activity and checking the work completed up to that point. Problems that are solved correctly are marked with a check; those that are answered incorrectly are marked with an X so that the user may attempt to answer them correctly.

A stop sign ends the current activity and takes the user to the exit screen, from which a progress report may be printed, or the program may be exited.

Progress through the activites are tracked through a report function, and visually with ants at the bottom of the screen. Green ants represent correctly completed screens and red ants indicate screens which are either incomplete or have incorrect answers on them. Each user of the program enters their user name the first time they use the program and selects their name each time thereafter. This allows progress through the activities to be tracked and shuffles the activities and exercises around so that each time the program is used, it will be somewhat different from the last.

A scratch pad is available on each screen that the user can use to work out the answers to each problem. By placing the cursor in the scratch pad area and holding the mouse button down, you can write on the scratch pad as if you were using a pencil. Clicking the eraser icon will erase what was written on the scratch pad.

The reward games leave something to be desired. My son enjoyed them all the first couple of times he got to play them, but after that he became bored with them. There is a snake game, where the object is to make as long a snake as you can as the snake moves around a yard. Objects pop up without warning and if you run into anything, you lose a turn and have to start over. There is a Simon-like game, where several coyotes take turns howling, and the object is to repeat the howl pattern the way the coyotes did it. I was pleased that my son was not overly amused with this game, as the howling became annoying very quickly. The third game involved making a kangaroo jump (by clicking the mouse) over objects in its path. This was fun, and occasionally challenging, as it was sometimes difficult to predict when the kangaroo would actually jump after you clicked the mouse. Some of the objects were so close together that it was impossible to jump over two in a row. Like the snake game, if you hit an object, you lost a turn.

We also experienced type 2 errors when we tried to access the program after we had used it the first time. Attempting an install on my Mac produced the same type 2 error. My son's Mac runs system 8.6.1, mine runs 9.1. I contacted the vendor, and they acknowledged that an early version of the program was not compatible with system 9, but had no explanation for the errors we experienced on my son's Mac. They responded within 24 hours and offered to replace the CD with a newer release which should eliminate the problem.

Conclusion
Overall, the program provided a good tool for learning math. The user interface is simply and easy to get around, allowing the user to focus their attention on the learning of Math. The games provide a fair amount of rewards, although there could be more variety, both within each game and for the number of games available.

Pros

  • Easy to navigate
  • Good tool for learning Math with problems just right
  • Easy to access help

Cons

  • Not enough interesting games or variety of games
  • Some stability issues


Overall Rating

3 1/2 out of 5 Mice