Problem Solving Skills Software -- The Big Picture
What do we mean by "problem solving skills" software? These are programs that focus on developing or exercising critical thinking skills by the user, rather than a specific academic discipline.
Dr. Brain Action Reaction [for ages 10 and up] from Knowledge Adventure produces sweaty palms and pumping adrenaline while requiring the user to apply the principles of geometry, physics, mechanics and logic to succeed.
Lego Rock Raiders [for ages 8 and up] from Lego Media, is a complex program that requires patience, commitment and fairly high level problem solving ability.
Yoda's Challenge Activity Center [for ages 6 to 8] from Lucas Learning does not involve light saber duels or high-speed flights through far away galaxies. Instead, the user will apply music and rhythm skills, map reading, spatial orientation, following directions, reading, counting, vocabulary, and geometry to solve problems.
Fisher Price Rescue Heroes: Hurricane Havoc [for ages 4 to 7] from The Learning Company, is based on the Saturday morning television series and the Fisher-Price action-figure collection of the same name. Despite the popular characters and themes, it is only a mediocre program. The activities are overly simplified and provide little if any educational stimulation.
Matchbox Caterpillar Construction Zone CD & CAT Controller [for ages 5 and up] from Mattel, is principally an entertainment program with very little educational value. Younger kids (<5 yrs.) who are really into big earth moving, tree chopping, cement smashing machines may derive some short-lived enjoyment.