Hi-Flyer Decimals supplies concrete number manipulation to supplement classroom instruction, allowing students to visualize the numbers represented by decimal fraction symbols. It demonstrates aspects of this crucial math concept that are otherwise difficult to explain and therefore might be hard for kids to comprehend. As students use this software, they can see a block representation of the number, the written symbol, the name in words, and hear the name of the number on a recorded audio track. On-screen tools enable kids to change the way the number is represented, and learn by this unique form of concrete manipulation.
Hi-Flyer Decimals is targeted for classrooms, and includes Activity Cards and Worksheets to be used as part of an integrated learning program. It can also be used for home schooling, or as a tutorial aid. The product’s authors stress that it is not a game and should not be approached as a game, but as a serious teaching tool.
The Hi-Flyer Decimals Desktop consists of a five column screen. The far left column comprises the toolbar. Here kids point and click to add or subtract blocks to their workspace, view their number in various representations (numeric, written and verbal), “saw”, or divide blocks, “glue”, or regroup blocks, undo an action, or start anew. To the right of the toolbar column is a ones column, followed by a tenths column, a hundredths column and a thousandths column. As kids “saw” a block from the ones column using the saw tool, the block divides into ten smaller blocks (complete with sound effects if desired) which then move over to the tenths column. Now the user can subtract one of these tenths to create a new workspace number, which is one-tenth smaller than the previous number. It’s as simple as that. Yet, when combined with the program’s Activity cards and Worksheets, it allows kids to see concretely what they are learning in a more symbolic manner.
As noted above, Hi-Flyer Decimals is not a game. It makes no attempt to lure the user with animation, dialog or a storyline of any sort. It should, therefore, be viewed more as a specialized calculator with accompanying activities and worksheets. Motivated students, and, in particular, students who are having difficulty understanding decimals will appreciate the program’s concrete method of clarifying the concept. Users who seek to strengthen math skills in a fun, entertaining manner should look elsewhere.
Ease of Use / Install
Hi-Flyer Decimals installs without difficulty on Windows 95 and 98. The CD includes QuickTime 4.0 and Adobe Acrobat 4.0, which can be installed if needed. An Introductory Video explains various aspects of the program including the blocks, on-screen program and Activity Cards and Worksheet usage. Activity Cards and Worksheets are provided as Acrobat PDF files for printing. These files can be installed, or, if computer hard drive space is limited, printed directly from the CD without installing them on the hard drive.
Best for... / Bottom-Line
This program is valuable for teachers who seek to incorporate concrete decimal instruction into their curriculum. Because Hi-Flyer Decimals is an open-ended tool, it allows kids to explore decimals in the manner that best suits his or her learning abilities and style. It is therefore especially recommended for remedial students who are having difficulty grasping this potentially confusing concept.
Windows 3.1, 95, 98 or NT,
386 processor for Windows 3.1, Intel Pentium processor or compatible for Windows 95, 98, or NT,
6 MB available hard-disk space,
4 MB RAM for Windows 3.1, 12 MB RAM for all other,
sound card, mouse or other pointing device.
System 7.5.3 or higher,
Power PC or faster cpu,
6 MB hard drive space,
12 MB RAM,