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spacer all reviews > > > fractions software

Nothin' But... The Fractions I


Ages 8 to 14

Rating Scale
5 = great,    1 = poor
Educational Value
Kid Appeal
Ease of Use

Nothing but the Fractions Screen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

Kids often have difficulty conceptualizing fractions. What makes perfect sense when viewed in the real-world (6 of 12 pieces of pizza is equal to 1/2 of the pizza), suddenly loses meaning when expressed in numeric form (reduce 6/12). For this reason, students are more likely to understand the subject when it is presented in concrete, interactive ways. Nothiní but. . .the Fractions I attempts to teach fractions using interactive tutorials, practice problems and drills, all the while providing the valuable feedback such learning requires.

Educational Value
Nothiní but. . .the Fractions I covers four major topics: Identifying Fractions, Reducing Fractions, Mixed and Improper Fractions, and Lowest Common Denominators. Each of these topics is further broken down into multiple subsections.

Although the topics can be selected in any sequence, a logical path for a new student of fractions would begin with the Tutorials. Each tutorial begins with a semi-animated introduction presented by one of the program's characters. A clear explanation is supported by easy-to-understand diagrams and tips, a step-by-step summary, and a series of example problems. Our 4th grade math student tester was able to follow the explanations and understand what was presented.

After the tutorial, the student can move on to the Practice problem section. These are interactive worksheets that require the user to solve the problems, step-by-step, following the procedures introduced in the tutorial section. Correct answers are rewarded with a "Good job, [your name here]!" and a variety of "oohs" and "ahhs." Incorrect answers produce a "Sorry. The correct answer is shown above."

Finally, a drill section provides timed problem-solving challenges. When a threshold percentage of correct answers is submitted, a printable award certificate appears.

The teacher/parent/user can customize the program by specifying the number of problems for each drill activity, the passing grade required for each, the time allowed for each drill, and if an onscreen timer is to be displayed.

A daily report is available for each program user, detailing activity. Program administrators can preview or print a chart listing the number of problems attempted in each program section, and the number and percent of correct answers.

Kid Appeal
SuperKidsí student testers reacted positively to this programís many tutorials. They felt that the subjects were clearly and concisely presented, and most students reported feeling increased confidence in their understanding of the subject after just a short time.

The programís characters, however, were not well-received, especially by older students who found them somewhat juvenile. "Is this supposed to be a joke?" was one childís immediate response, while another commented, "It sounds like someone is holding their nose to make different sounding voices." A younger (8 year-old) tester, however, had no such adverse response.

Ease of Use / Install
Nothiní but. . .the Fractions I offers two installation options: a minimum install, and a full install, the latter adding audio to the programís various sections. Although our testers unanimously demanded the full install, hoping that it would eliminate the need to read while using the program, they were disappointed to find that most of the programís content still required reading.

The program features a clear, easy-to-follow interface. Some users, however, reported that they were frustrated by the program's general requirement that the user navigate between the answer form boxes using the tab button, rather than the mouse.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
Kids who need help understanding fractions can gain a lot from the use of this product. However, those on the older end of the listed age range, and those who already have a good understanding of fractions may find its presentation style a bit juvenile.

See SuperKids' comparisons with other fractions software titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of this PC-only program.

System Requirements
PC: Windows 3.1/95/98, 486/66 MHz (100 MHz Pentium recommended) or faster, 37 MB (Lite - 12 MB), 8 MB RAM (16 MB recommended), 256 color 640x480 display, CD-ROM drive. 100% Microsoft-compatible sound card

Reviewed on:

  • Pentium166 with 24MB and 12XCD
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