SuperKids Educational Software Review. The parents' and teachers' guide to educational software
Math Software Reviews

Larson's Intermediate Math
from Meridian Creative Group

(formerly Larson's Leapfrog Math - Intermediate 1)

For Ages 8 to 9

See also the Summary Rating Table for comparisons with other Math software titles, the SuperKids Buyers Guide for current market prices of PC and Mac versions, andprevious SuperKids reviews of Math software I and II.

Reviewed on:
Larson's Leapfrog Math Screen ShotPerforma 6400/200 with 32MB and 8XCD
Pentium90 with 24MB and a 2XCD

Led by feathery eyelashed "Lilly Leapfrog", this comprehensivemath program tackles a multitude of topics: addition,subtraction, multiplication, division, geometry, fractions, understandingtime, money, and measurement, and working with pictographs.

Five levels of proficiency exist for each of the topics. Studentsbegin each topic as "rookie", and, after viewing theinstructional training film and accurately completing practiceproblems at each level, leap ahead to "explorer", "ranger","commander", and finally "master". Sequentialmovement through the levels is required, so even advanced usersmust begin with the basics and work their way through to moredifficult levels. One mistake at any level sends the user backto the beginning of that level. Not surprisingly, this washighly frustrating for our kid testers, especially for those who are adept at solvingthe problems, but occasionally make careless mistakes.

Verbal kudos and hokey animated outtakes reward the user as he/shecompletes each level. Aside from these, animation is virtuallynon-existent. According to one of our teacher reviewers, "the program is not completely in-sync with itsprojected 3rd-grade audience. The math itself progresses quicklyto an above 3rd-grade level, while the Lilly Leapfrog characterand accompanying narration are too infantile for typical 3rd-graders."

Ease of Install / Use
Although it installed easily on our reviewers' Mac and PC test machines, the program requiresa floppy in the disk drive at all times for storage of studentdata files. This can be annoying to home users who don'tusually encounter this requirement.

Educational Value
The program's mandatory training films explain concepts clearly,but instruction is very directed and leaves no room for questioningand discovering. For this reason we would position the program as a supplement to classroom teaching, rather than as a replacement. Math problems provide solid opportunities for practiceand drill, and are moderately engrossing, albeit somewhat repetitious. The "Understanding Money" section should be requiredtraining for all store clerks.

The school version of the software includes a waelth of educational tools for the teacher, ranging from reproducible black-line problem sets, to a special CD providing classroom management tools.

Kid Appeal
Student reviewers found the training films tedious, even annoyingand were dismayed to find that they could not skip a previouslyviewed or unnecessary film. Similarly, the kids objected to thefact that they couldn't use the keyboard to expedite the program. They were unable to by-pass or move ahead until narration wascomplete.

Problems become more appealing at higher levels wherechildren get to use some of their recently acquired mathematicalskills to solve real-life problems. Unfortunately, it is at theselevels that frustration becomes greatest, as mistakes meet withdevastating results.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
Overall the program appeals most to patient children who enjoysolving math problems. Because of its many topicsand levels, Leapfrog Math can help students reach andmaintain mathematic proficiency if used with consistency overthe summer or off-school months.

Educational Value = 4/5, Kid Appeal = 2/5, Ease of use = 4/5
Ratings key, 1=weak 5=excellent

See also the Summary Rating Table for comparisons with other Math software titles, the SuperKids Buyers Guide for current market prices of PC and Mac versions, andprevious SuperKids reviews of Math software I and II.

Children's Software System Requirements


Operating SystemWindows 3.1/Win95System 7.0.1 to 7.5
CPU Type and Speed 486DX/3368030/25
Hard Drive Space1 MB1 MB
Memory (RAM)8 MB8 MB
CD-ROM Speed2X2X
Audio16 bit16 bit
Other NeedsQuickTime for Windows 2.03 (included)QuickTime 2.1 (included)

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