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Math Software Reviews

Mighty Math Calculating Crew
from Edmark

For Ages 8 to 12

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, and previous SuperKids reviews of Math software I and II.


Reviewed on:
Mighty Math Calculating Crew Screen Shot Performa 6400/200 with 32MB and 8XCD
Pentium90 with 24MB and a 2XCD

Description
In this program a quartet of superheroes leads the user through four different activities aimed at rehearsing and strengthening the understanding of basic math concepts. Each section includes multiple levels of activity to challenge the avid player.

The Nautical Number Line requires the player to use addition, subtraction, multiplication, fractions and decimals to guide a submarine to points on the number line where treasures can be found. At the Superhero Superstore, heroes share their supply wish-list and their budget, and ask that the user make appropriate choices, calculate the amount of money owed, and make change to complete their purchases. Dr. Gee's 3D Lab allows the user to experiment with 3D solids and their flattened, two-dimensional "nets". This mind expanding activity includes a mini paint-program for decorating original nets that can be printed and assembled. Nick Knack, Supertrader takes the user to the Planet Havarti, where multiplication and division lessons clarify the process of feeding the Havartians.

Ease of Install / Use
Mighty Math: Calculating Crew installed easily on our test Mac and PC machines.

The manual is useful in understanding the full nature of each activity, which is not necessarily intuitive. It also includes an"About Kids"section for each activity-a brief explanation of how and why the activity strengthens a child's mathematics understanding.

Educational Value
Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts are strongly reinforced in this program. The use of concrete manipulatives, as well as repeated drill and practice helps the user master these math basics. Although the geometry section seems a bit out of place in this program, it offers relief from the tedium of math drills, while it enables the user to develop and practice critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

Kid Appeal
The superhero theme is a bit overdone and surprisingly, was not the biggest draw for this program. The superheroes' voices are unattractive and sometimes quite annoying. Reviewers ranked the superstore section highly, especially the virtual exchange of money, although it could have been improved upon by making budget considerations more a part of the process. Unfortunately, the section that focuses most directly on teaching math skills was not well-liked by our reviewers. They found this section tedious and were anxious to move on to other, more interesting aspects of the program. The geometry section proved to be a bit frustrating for younger players, but quite valuable and intriguing in the upper age range. Overall, child reviewers who enjoy math enjoyed this program.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
Although Calculating Crew is meant to challenge a large spectrum of ages, even the most difficult sections are quickly mastered by those on the upper end of the recommended age range. It works best with third and fourth graders, who find it especially helpful with multiplication and division comprehension and drill. Because it begins with the basics and advances with successful completion of each level, players gain encouragement from this program while strengthening crucial math skills.

Educational Value = 4/5, Kid Appeal = 3/5, 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, and previous SuperKids reviews of Math software I and II.



Children's Software System Requirements


PC

Macintosh
Operating System Windows 3.x, Win95 or later System 7.0.1 or later
CPU Type and Speed 486/33 or faster 68030/25 or faster
Hard Drive Space 5 MB none
Memory (RAM) 8 MB 8 MB (4.1 MB unused)
Graphics SVGA 640x480x256 colors 13" or larger, 256 color
CD-ROM Speed 2X or faster 2X or faster
Audio Windows compatible sound card
Other Needs printer optional printer optional

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