Like its predecessor, Escape From Braindeath, The Eggs of Time strives to teach major physics topics to kids in the middle school age-range. It does this by involving them in a quest to save future generations from the evil plans of the alien Spring-Horns.
As a new cadet, the user is led through a secret passage to the Operation Center, where the specifics of the mission are revealed. In the near future the Spring-Horns will attack, and the only way to prevent this catastrophe is to travel back in time and collect Physics Facts by completing 20 focused activities. A simple "starter" problem earns an "Egg Timer" which allows access to the Time Travel Vortex. And so the adventure begins.
The Eggs of Time teaches and drills each of the following major physics concepts: Motion--this includes Circular Motion, Acceleration Due to Gravity, Distance = Rate x Time, Projectile Motion, and Motion in Two Directions; Forces -- including Weights, Balanced Forces, Newton’s Third Law of Motion, Simple Harmonic Motion, and Newton’s Second Law of Motion; Simple Machines -- featuring Inclined Planes, Levers, Pulleys, Counter Weights, and Wheels and Axles; and finally Thermodynamics -- with Expansion, Ideal Gases, Specific Heat, States of Matter and Equivalence of Work and Heat.
As in Escape from Braindeath, each section is presented in a variety of ways including a tutorial, a hands-on exercise and interactive questions which teach as they test.
Surprisingly, this program was one of the most popular to-date among our middle-school student testers. Although a few complained that it is "boring", most agree that it teaches an intriguing subject in an engaging manner. Kids who like math and problem-solving activities were especially enthused about the program. As one eighth-grade student noted: "I was a little bored at first because I didn’t really understand what I was supposed to do. Once it all began to make sense, I could stop playing."
Athough they require very little knowledge or skill to complete, the hands-on physics experiments add fun to a potentially dull endeavor. In our favorite, the user enlists a group of cheery trolls to help push a barrel to the top of a ramp. This exercise elicited giggles from even the more serious teen testers.
Ease of Use / Install
This program runs from the CD. As with Escape from Braindrain, saving a game requires the user to name the appropriate path for the save. Clicking on the save button lists the default drive location as the CD-ROM drive. This is not allowed, since the CD-ROM is read-only. The user must, therefore, manually change the save location to the hard-drive, or c: drive. The game can then be saved. Subsequent saves will overwrite the previous game unless renamed.
SuperKids’ teen testers were initially frustrated with this program because they felt the directions were unclear. After spending time exploring the program, however, its workings were understood and its appeal increased dramatically.
Best for... / Bottom-Line
The Eggs of Time adds a bit of fun to the process of learning Physics. It does not, however, entirely camouflage the fact that teaching (and learning) is taking place. Kids should be interested and motivated to benefit optimally from the program.