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Q&A #3844

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Computer software to help elementary students understand math basics

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From: Gail

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2000111615:12:40
Subject: A few suggestions that have worked for me

From: Gail <genglert@norfolk.infi.net> To: Renee Whitaker <lwhitake@columbus.rr.com> Date: Jul 27, 1999 at 21:06:47 Subject: Re: Internet and Software My favorite mathematics software is the Logical Journey of the Zoombinis by Broderbund. The following is based on a software review I found on the internet: It is designed around an escape story. "The Zoombinis were a happy group of creatures (somewhat similar in appearance to the old Mr. Potato Head), whose island is taken over by the Bloats. The user's job is to help them in their escape. " "Each Zoombini is characterized by four features: hair, eyes, nose and feet. Each of these features exists in five variations. The Zoombini's confront a dozen obstacles which must be overcome using deductive logic and creative reasoning. One of the more impressive features about this program, is the potential it has for repeated use, across a broad range of ages. In fact, all of our adult reviewers felt challenged by the problems! The program can be set at 4 levels of difficulty. Equally important, the solutions for each obstacle are changed every time the program is used. " Methodology... Logical Journey is an unconventional math program, in that numbers and arithmetic operations do not play a role. Instead, this program focuses on the logic elements of mathematics: attributes, patterns, groupings, sorting, comparisons, and problem solving. SuperKids' teacher reviewer thought this to be "...an excellent approach to introducing and practicing logical reasoning and critical thinking skills." "Best for... This program is best suited for children with patience, curiosity, and an interest in problem solving. Our parent reviewers reported especially strong interest by children who like video games. " "Bottom-Line... Logical Journey is an exceptionally well-designed program that will clearly develop math thinking skills. It is challenging, visually captivating, and should hold long-term attention and interest. If someone is available to explain how each obstacle can be overcome, Logical Journey is also a good program for small groups and independent use in a classroom setting." I have used it with small groups of students, and with sole users. I haven't yet encountered a student who didn't like the game, and I found the concepts they "discovered" transferred into other activities. Another program I have heard praised, but not used myself ( I think it is by Sunburst) is How The West Was One + Three x Four. -Gail, for the Teacher2Teacher service Visit us again at http://forum.swarthmore.edu/t2t/

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