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1st grade software
Join the JumpStart gang in defeating the town bully at the highly anticipated JumpStart Ville Scooter Tournament. Earn power-ups by building bridges, scoring soccer goals, writing news reports, collecting swamp gas, building snow bears and topping pizzas. Then, enhance your own scooter design by trading these power-ups for gadgets in Frankie’s Scooter Design Shop. Finally, take your scooter to the Race Arena for the big event. You may even see some of your own artwork and hear some of your musical compositions at the Winner’s Circle.
As with other products in the JumpStart family, JumpStart Advanced 1st Grade drills a wide array of skills, largely in mathematics and language arts. Mathematics skills reviewed include addition; subtraction; algebra (filling in incomplete addition or subtraction equations); comparing numbers; identifying shapes; naming fractions (quarters, thirds and halves); counting up to 100; skip counting by 2’s, 5’s and 10’s; determining size, length and weight; identifying coins; and adding coins up to one dollar.
Language arts skills covered include reading comprehension, sentence building, punctuation, parts of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives), syllables, consonant sounds, blends and digraphs, word families, spelling, alphabetizing, and short and long vowel sounds.
As part of the JumpStart formula, a few science, art and music skills are also included. The well-chosen scientific concepts are age-appropriate and pertinent to traditional first grade curriculum: order of events, stages of life, food groups, animal characteristics, and weather and seasons. While the art and music components of the application are not necessarily instructive, but rather exploratory, they are at least incorporated into the grand scheme. A player’s visual and musical creations appear at the Race Arena during the big event.
JumpStart Advanced 1st Grade offers tips to players from its All-Stars, each one representing a different learning style (The Wordsmith, The Artist, The Athlete, The Musician, The Math Whiz, The People Person, The Explorer). When signing on, players answer a series of questions about their likes, dislikes and abilities; the All-Stars Match-Up Quiz then recommends an All-Star with the same dominant learning style as the child. By clicking on the gold star icon in the lower right corner of the screen, a player can access the All-Star walkie-talkie for helpful hints. If the Tutor Mode is activated, the walkie-talkie automatically offers assistance after two consecutive incorrect answers. While not always pertinent to the task at hand, the tips are valuable. When having difficulty identifying and sequencing pictures in the life cycle of a bird, a player was prompted by the walkie-talkie: “Dog is to puppy as frog is to tadpole”.
Before or after the quest, a child can access the assessment to test her/his skills. This would be valuable to a teacher as a beginning of the year assessment as it briefly covers most of the mathematics and language arts concepts mentioned above.
Frankie’s enthusiasm for the big JumpStart Ville Scooter Tournament is exciting and alluring for young players (and maybe a little annoying for the adults supervising them). The theme is certainly a big hit; and designing a cool, gadget-loaded scooter is a highlight. The colorful graphics and amusement park-like atmosphere of the town are enticing, while the wide variety of activities holds the interest of young players. Because of its quest format, JumpStart Advanced 1st Grade is best suited for use at home. However, the individual activities would be effective reinforcement and assessment drills if used in the classroom.
JumpStart Advanced 1st Grade is easy to install and uninstall, and program navigation is fairly straightforward. Instructions are spoken prior to each challenge. There is an on-disc manual with helpful information, but it is difficult to access mid-game. Certain activities may require adult supervision and explanation as they may be a bit sophisticated or unclear for young users. In Hopsalot’s Bridge Builder, players are asked to sort words into three categories: nouns, verbs and adjectives. Also, in Pierre’s Polar Test Track, very tiny icons are used to represent items to be compared or stages in a life cycle; many of these images are difficult to discern because of size and graphic quality.
JumpStart Advanced 1st Grade addresses many skills covered in the first grade curriculum, while the scooter theme, graphics and interesting challenges make the program entertaining for young users. This might be a good end-of-summer activity to ease kids back into the school-year mindset.
PC: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, Pentium (or equivalent) 233Mhz or faster, 64 MB RAM, 12x CD-ROM drive, 50 MB available on hard drive, 16-Bit color, 640X480 screen resolution, Windows compatible sound card .return to top of page
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