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Social Studies Software Reviews

How Would You Survive?
by Grolier

For Ages 7 - 12

See also the Summary Rating Table for comparisons with other Social Studies software titles, and the SuperKids Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions.

Reviewed on:
Screen Shot PowerMac 6100/60 with 8MB and a 2XCD
Pentium90 with 8MB and a 2XCD

How Would You Survive? is an interactive multimedia textbook that combines in-depth looks at three ancient civilizations: Egyptian, Aztec, and Viking. Each civilization is broken down into 16 segments (or what we all would call chapters) covering everything from food, clothing and shelter, to religion, ceremonies, and activities.

Ease of Install / Use
How Would You Survive? installed with little difficulty on our reviewers' test machines. In the Windows installation of the hybrid CD (Mac and Windows versions are on the same disk), the user is asked if a new version of QuickTime should be installed - and the answer could vary depending on what else you have installed on your machine. We would like to see the installation program automatically determine whether or not the user's machine needs an update.

The user selects a civilization for study, then picks a topic for exploration. Clickable objects, an excellent narration, and frequent (although simple) animations "provide an entertaining presentation of what could be a dry subject" according to one of our teacher reviewers. After going through a civilization, the user can choose to play a game that looked a lot like taking a test to our parent reviewers. The test, er, game can be set at easy, medium or hard levels. Wrong answers to the multiple choice questions (10 per civilization) generate a link to the section of the program where the answer can be found, and the user is given a second chance. Successful test completers are heralded by the program!

Proxy Parent Value
Proxy parent value is SuperKids assessment of how well a program holds a child's attention (perhaps while the parent or caregiver is attending to other household duties). How Would You Survive? successfully grabbed the attention of our 9 to 12 year-old reviewers, and held it on repeated occasions.

Best for...
"[This program] is great, if your kids are interested in history and like to read," stated one happy parent. "My daughter enjoyed comparing the foods and crafts of the three civilizations." Our nine year-old reviewer added that "it's best for kids who like to write, too" because she found it helpful to take notes as she went along. Our teacher reviewers further noted that How Would You Survive? might make an excellent addition to a Library Media center.

How Would You Survive? is a multimedia textbook that successfully presents a wealth of information about the Aztec, Egyptian, and Viking civilizations. Is it better than a textbook? Yes, especially for younger students, because it offers them the opportunity for interaction, exploration, and comparisons. Older students (beyond the recommended age ranges) may find the depth inadequate for their studies.

See also the Summary Rating Table for comparisons with other Social Studies software titles, and the SuperKids Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions.

Children's Software System Requirements


Operating System Windows 3.1 on DOS 5.0 or higher MacOS 7.01 or higher
CPU Type and Speed 486/33 SX or higher Mac LCIII or higher, 68030/25 or faster
Hard Drive Space 5 MB free hard disk space 5 MB free hard disk space
Memory (RAM) 8 MB 4 MB
Graphics Minimum 640x480x256 colors (SVGA) 13" or larger 256 color display
CD-ROM Speed 2X or faster 2X or faster
Audio Windows supported sound card built-in
Other Needs QuickTime 2.0.1 and Macromedia 4.04 SW (incl) QuickTime 2.0 and Macromedia 4.04 SW (incl)

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