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Mia’s Math Adventure begins with an animated sequence showing Mia’s house burning down and her family evacuating the building. Mia wants to know how this happened and if she could have possibly prevented the fire. She turns to her friend, Sam Squirrel, a scientific genius, for help. Sam has plans for building a time machine that could take Mia back in time before the fire occurred, but he is missing a few necessary parts and the time machine’s unique fuel source, "sparklies".
Players take Mia on a quest through her garden and neighborhood (viewed from a mouse's perspective) in search of "sparklies" and the four missing parts. By solving a wide variety of math challenges along the way, players earn the necessary parts to assemble the time machine. Once the time machine is successfully constructed, players journey back in time to help Mia solve the mystery of the fire, conquering more math challenges along the way.
Mia’s Math Adventure does an impressive job of incorporating a plethora of math skills into the learning games encountered during Mia’s quest. The challenges are embedded into Mia’s journey; with the completion of a task, the player earns one of the missing parts used to build the time machine.
Concepts include number sense, geometry, spatial orientation, time, mental computation (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division), measuring temperature, comparing and estimating numbers, fractions and problem solving. The creators of this program are definitely curriculum savvy. The skill practiced in each challenge can be made more or less difficult depending upon which of the four levels the player selects. Unfortunately, the level cannot be adjusted mid-adventure; it is selected at the beginning of play.
In addition to these challenges, users can, at any time, choose to play activities only. The same concepts are reinforced without the context of Mia’s journey.
The rich 3-D graphics, lively music and charming animation make it easy for kids (and parents, too) to enjoy this program. The math challenges are engaging, and the quest for the missing parts endows the tasks with meaning. The characters, from Mia the mouse to Romaine the rat and Scary the spider, all have personality.
Although the math activities seem appropriate for the targeted age level (6-10), new players may encounter some difficulty figuring out how to navigate the program. Without playing the instructions movie or reading the player’s guide, users may never discover that Mia can travel by skateboard (which she stows in her backpack) and give players clues when they click on her head. This is a very clever way to provide support to less-experienced players; the more you click, the more precise the clues become.
While the quest is rather lengthy, the activities-only option is well suited for use in a classroom environment, providing students with a fun way to practice skills they have already learned.
Mia’s Math Adventure is installed easily and can be played without adult supervision, once a player learns how to navigate the game and to control Mia’s movements. The instructions movie provides this information in an entertaining fashion; it can be accessed from the options menu by pressing the F2 key. Along the way, it is helpful for Mia to pick up items that may be of use later in the game ("sparklies", a whistle, a drill bit, etc.). It may take a while for players to learn where to look; in the meantime, click everywhere. Players needing extra help can always click on Mia’s head for a clue. Although the activities-only option is a valuable one, it is a bit tedious switching between the two disks to complete those tasks.
Mia’s Math Adventure provides an entertaining way to reinforce a wide variety of age-appropriate math skills. Additionally, Mia’s quest encourages players to use their critical thinking skills to figure out how to arrive at the next math game and solve the mystery. The four difficulty levels provide for new learning experiences with repeat usage. While the quest is best suited for home use, the activities-only option would provide fun math review in a classroom setting.
PC: Windows 95 or better, including XP, Pentium 233 MMX Processor, 64 MB of RAM, 640 x 480 Video Card with 256 colors, 16 bit Sound Blaster Sound Card or another that is 100% compatible, 6x CD-ROM drive, 40 MB of Hard Disk spacereturn to top of page
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