2/25/11

TOS Review: MathRider

It’s time for another TOS Review Crew Review.  Today’s Review Crew product covers math drills.  Designed to help students master their math facts for the four basic operations, MathRider takes children on a noble horse riding quest through the “magical MathLands” that leads to the rescue of the princess and knighthood as Master of Mathematics.

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 TailorBear expresses her thoughts about MathRider: “It was alright. I did get tired of doing one quest over and over again. The only part that was truly really enjoyable was the fact that you got to save the princess.  I guess that just made things better.  Who can go wrong with saving a princess?  It was a little boring to do the same quest (such as getting a flower to save the mom) for every operation.  I did like the advance level because I was working towards unlocking the quest to save the princess.  I would like the program better if the quests had somehow been involved with each other and if the quests wasn’t the same for the same level.  I struggled with the addition because it wanted me to do +11’s and + 12’s.  I really liked the horse riding part.  I didn’t really like the quest part.“

TurtleGirl expresses her thoughts about MathRider: “I really enjoyed it because I enjoy looking for gems and saving princesses. I enjoy reading stories about saving princesses and finding gems.  I liked the stories in this game because they were simple and you could use your imagination.  It didn’t bother me that it was the same story line for each operation.  I didn’t like that if you get going very very fast when there’s a problem you don’t know very well you kind of miss it.  It’s hard to read the problem because it is going so fast. This may be my favorite review crew product. (Mom notes that TurtleGirl has a vivid and active imagination and I believe that she added to the storylines in her mind as she did the rides.)

Using MathRider with Supergirl: Developmentally, Supergirl is just outside the range for this program.  I had hoped to be able to use this with her to at least work on some of her addition and multiplication facts but since I only had this program for a limited time, it didn’t seem worth the effort to work with her to utilize this program.  She did ask if she could play, but after letting her try, I could clearly see she needed more assistance.  I believe she would have enjoyed the program; I think over time it would have been good for her but our license expires at the end of February.

My Thoughts: I think I expected more from the program. There were some things that I liked and there were some things that caused frustration.  Here is an example:

The game play page states: “The four quests are the same across the four operations, however, the rewards are not. Every combination of quest and reward holds a different reward.”   I think this statement is misleading.  For example the reward for the easy level is a flower and that flower is the same for each operation.  The reward for the medium level is a gem.  The gem colors do vary based on operation but I don’t really consider that a different reward.  If your student is motivated by unique rewards, this may be disappointing.

What I liked:  I liked the background music that plays while you do the ride.  I found it relaxing.  I liked the backgrounds during the ride.  I liked that if you missed a problem you would see that problem again and again.  I loved that you could do practice runs and that you could control which set of facts to practice during the run.  I liked that during the practice runs you could choose a timed version or a pole jump version.  I liked the option of turning off the reading of the story and manually moving to the next scene.  After hearing it read to me once I didn’t need to hear it again 3 more times for the other operations.  I liked that it required mastery for the 10’s 11’s and 12’s for multiplication. I liked how the the Mastery Level Reward built upon previous mastery levels. I liked that I didn’t get 4 castles but rather that each level added to my one castle. 

What I didn’t like: I didn’t like that that there was only ONE story line per level and that the story line didn’t change from operation to operation.  If you were saving mom in addition  you were also saving mom in all three of the other operations.  I didn’t like the poor quality of the graphics for the story/quest.  I didn’t like that some math facts would only show up ONCE in all the rides I did but some math facts showed up over and over and over again (and I don’t mean the ones that were answered wrong).  There didn’t seem to be enough randomness to the questions.  I didn’t like that it requires mastery of the 11’s and 12’s for addition and subtraction.  

Final Thoughts:  Although I think this product could be a good fit for some children, it was not a good fit for my family.  Tailorbear experienced frustration when trying to complete the addition and subtraction quest for mastery because I do not require mastery of the 11’s and 12’s for those two operations. Supergirl was not quite ready for it; BooBear wasn’t interested.  I think this program is a good fit for children with active imaginations who are self-motivated.  I don’t think it is as good a fit for those children who are motivated by rewards and strong story lines.

For detailed information about the game including videos and screen shots please see these webpages:  MathRIder HomeGame PlayFAQ.  

Click on the banner below to read what my fellow crewmates have to say about MathRider.

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Disclaimer: As a TOS Crew member, I received a fully functional but limited time version of Math Rider to review. This review is my honest opinion with, hopefully, enough detail as to why I liked or did not like a product so that my readers can make an informed decision. I received no compensation.

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