red line
SuperKids Software Review - The Parent's and Teacher's Guide to Childrens' Software
free newsletter! spacer tell a friend! spacer contests
  bestseller list
  price survey
  what's new
  product support
educational tools
  ask a scientist
  math worksheets
  vocabulary builders
  iPhone/iPad apps
  logic games
  brain food
educational insights

feature articles
  iPhone/iPad apps
  reading corner
  movie corner
SuperKids home
  about SuperKids
  * * *


  * * *

spacer all reviews > > > math and astronomy software

Math & the Cosmos

Wildridge Education

Ages 12 to 18

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

Math & the Cosmos Screen Shot arrow indentSystem Requirements

arrow indentPC / Mac Price Survey

arrow indentProduct Support

In the context of astronomy, Math & the Cosmos addresses topics in math such geometry, trigonometry, graphing, solving equations and scientific notation. Students watch and listen to example problems for each topic, try problems on their own, learn why such math problems have a useful purpose in astronomy, and take a test in each subject area. For example, students see why an understanding of sinusoidal graphs is relevant to studying the variable brightness of stars. Along with the math, students learn about topics such as the constellations, the nature of comets and the precession of the earth.

Users choose topics and assessments from a main menu. They can also refer to a glossary of terms and to web sites associated with the topics of the program. The software includes simulations of galaxies, the solar system, and relationships between the earth and other stars.

Educational Value

Math & the Cosmos provides a reasonable review for students studying math. For example, a teacher might use the software as a supplement for weak students to review scientific notation and to have them realize that it is a convenient short-hand notation when astronomers discuss distances associated with times such as a light year.

Though the material is interdisciplinary, it is not presented in an innovative way. The problems look as if they come from textbook examples, and the voice-overs resemble a lecture. The problem-solving techniques are not exceptionally creative or clear, so this material will only suffice as review, not as a conceptual introduction.

Kid Appeal

Teachers could use Math & the Cosmos to expose students to topics in math and science such as the shape of the constellations and how to calculate the distance between the earth and a star. Families might give this software to middle- or high-school students who are interested in, or need review in, math or astronomy.

Though the CD covers interesting material, it does not provide students with much opportunity for creative thought. For example, the program does not encourage students to independently discover the applications of math topics though it could accomplish this by presenting students with raw data, which they then tried to analyze. As a result of the minimal opportunities for critical thinking, students may be quickly bored with this software because it reviews material in a traditional, though interdisciplinary, way.

Ease of Use / Install

Math & the Cosmos is simple to install and navigate. A user simply needs to follow the set-up instructions that appear on the computer screen. The main menu describes the lessons on the CD, and a user can choose a lesson by clicking on the appropriate icon.

Best for... / Bottom-Line

Math & the Cosmos is best for middle- and high-school students who need to review topics in math or have a particular interest in astronomy. The material in the CD is not exceptionally deep, though it is broad, so a student with aptitude in science and math may not be captured by the software for long.

See SuperKids' comparisons with other Math or Astronomy programs, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of this PC-only program.

System Requirements
PC: 95/98/2000/ME/XP/NT; 650 MB - full install, 5 MB - partial install, 16 MB RAM, 800x600 display resolution, Sound Blaster compatible sound card, printer, access to the Internet (optional). Available in single, network versions, or lab packs.

Mac: n/a.

Reviewed on:
-     HP Pavilion 7940, Windows 2000
return to top of page

Go to: About SuperKids Educational Software Review
Questions or comments regarding this site?
Copyright © 1998-2024 Knowledge Share LLC. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy