Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Math Rider - Review

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The end of the school year is quickly approaching in our home.  There are few pages left in the math workbooks, but even still, there is a need to really hone in and master the basic math facts.  I want them ingrained in their brains where they can rattle off the answer without a moment of hesitation.  Sure, I could fire up the printer, waste lots of ink, and kill some trees in order to make drill and practice sheets, but knowing my crew that would not accomplish my goal.  Thankfully, as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I had the opportunity to review Math Rider.  This computer-based math game is designed for students ages 6-12 and affords them practice in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts for numbers 1-12.  Through a story-based game, the four operations are each practiced and mastered in a whimsical fantasy land. 

 photo mathrider-product-box-v5-200x209_zpsf141caec.jpgCaleb, my 7 year old, was the main player during our review period.  He loved that he became an instant character in the game.  Atop his faithful steed, Shadow, he moved with ease through the game.   In the past, we've used products that required so much effort to move the characters or increase/decrease speed.  Therefore, as a parent, I truly appreciate that the mechanics of playing the game were simple and didn't hinder from the learning within the game.  

The game is very picturesque comprised of digitally matte-painted scenes.  When completing math problems for each operation, there are four different quests including a heroic rescue in the end.  Along the way, rewards are earned.  Caleb is all about a token-based economy, so no matter how small, the REWARD aspect is a huge motivator in his book. 

Math Rider varies game speed and question difficulty.  Tailor-fitted to his abilities, the computer-based program both challenged Caleb and built his confidence.  Basically, Math Rider assessed what he already knew and focused on where he needed more practice.  Because there are no random questions, Caleb didn't get bored playing the game repeatedly answering questions he had mastered.  
Through an interactive overview map, both students and parents are able to identify the mastery of each number fact and/or operation.  This at a glance, color-coded view allowed me to know in an instant where Caleb's strength and weaknesses lie.  Within the game context, more specific information can be obtained by clicking the individual question. 

Caleb has worked through the addition and subtraction quests.  I believe, I'll have him do a little more work with subtraction.  However, the bulk of his time will be in multiplication - which is what he is currently studying in his daily math program.  I also intend to have Jeremiah and Rachel more involved in playing the game because I am impressed with the results.   
If you are considering Math Rider, I encourage you to take advantage of the free 7-day trial.  To purchase Math Rider, the cost is $47, which includes free software updates for life.  This single license allows for up to 8 players. Each child creates their personal rider and then logs in to their own game environment. The game monitors each individuals progress.

One other important item to note would be the system requirements.  Math Rider uses the Adobe® AIR™ runtime, so the game operates on Windows and Mac. Your computer requires about 80MB of available hard disk space. The monitor (and graphics card) needs to support at least a resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels. 


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