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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

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