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spacer all reviews > > > 2nd grade software

Buzz Lightyear 2nd Grade

Disney Interactive

Ages 7 to 9

Rating Scale
5 = great,    1 = poor
Educational Value
4.0
Kid Appeal
4.5
Ease of Use
3.0

Buzz Lightyear 2nd Grade Screen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

Buzz Lightyear 2nd Grade revolves around the computer generated characters found in the box office hits "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2." When young Andy takes his toy cowboy Woody to school for show and tell, he leaves Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the crew unattended in his bedroom. Free of the controlling influence of Woody, the toys look forward to a welcome day of uninterrupted play. And they're eager to share the fun.

As kids move the mouse around Andy's room, toys animate to indicate activity venues. Nine activities cover everything from math and reading, to spelling, time telling and music appreciation. Many activities feature clever mini-scenarios: Buzz's efforts to coordinate analog and digital clocks are continually thwarted by a mischievious Jessie, Buzz and the little green aliens launch Pizza Planet rockets, Rex blasts asteroids to clear the path for an intergalactic rocket, and Jessie sets marbles rolling through a marvelous maze. Other activities allow kids to explore their creativity: Andy's new keyboard plays pre-recorded and original tunes, his scrapbook offers interactive stories, and his mechanical globe must be correctly assembled using geographic puzzle pieces. Each activity takes full advantage of the affability of the Toy Story line-up.

Educational Value
Buzz Lightyear 2nd Grade blends skill-drilling activities and entertaining interactions with satisfying results. Among the skills addressed in the program are: double digit addition and subtraction, spelling, word building, rhyming, deductive reasoning, fractions, geometric shapes, world geography, spatial skills, multiplication, reading comprehension, telling time, music appreciation and creativity, memory, and language.

This program utilizes Disney's "Active Learning Advantage" system which automatically adjusts the difficulty of the activities to suit each child's current level of ability. After a certain number of correct responses the activity level advances, while consecutive incorrect answers takes the user back a level. The aim of this system is to adequately challenge but never frustrate children.

Hitting CTRL + P (Windows) or COMMAND + P (Mac) allows parents to access information on each of the activities including an overview, instructions and the skills addressed for each activity.

Kid Appeal
In addition to the same outstanding graphics found in the related films, Buzz Lightyear 2nd Grade offers interesting activities and fun situations and dialog. Our kid testers gave only positive feedback about the program. They especially enjoyed the "Doodle Challenge" activity which is something like hangman, with each correctly chosen letter revealing part of a developing illustration of the mystery word.

Ease of Use / Install
Buzz Lightyear 2nd Grade installs without difficulty. During installation, it searches the user's computer for instances of DirectX and QuickTime 4.0, and installs/updates these programs if they are not present.

Although overall program navigation is simple -- kids click on the toys that represent selected activities from the main screen (Andy's bedroom) -- game-play is not intuitive. Activity instructions are included in the User's Manual, but may be complicated for 2nd graders and require adult assistance.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
Buzz Lightyear 2nd Grade combines a little learning with a lot of fun. The "Toy Story" characters offer the cleverness and charm that has earned them so many fans, young and old. Parents should be aware that they may need to give some initial assistance.

See SuperKids' comparisons with other 2nd grade software titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and the Mac versions.

System Requirements
PC: Windows 95/98, Pentium 166MHz or faster cpu, 60MB hard drive space, 32MB RAM, 16-bit color DirectX-compatible video card, 8x speed or faster CD-ROM, 16-bit DirectX-compatible sound card.

Mac: System 8.1 to 9.0 or higher, G3 processor, 233MHz or faster, 60MB hard drive space, 32MB RAM (64MB for system 9.0), Thousands of colors video display, 8x or faster CD-ROM.

Reviewed on:

  • Pentium166 with 24MB and 12XCD
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