Saturday, April 20, 2013

MathRider, The Intelligent Math Facts Game: A Schoolhouse Review Crew

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Our third grader has been reviewing Math Rider, a math facts mastery computer based game that includes all facts from 0-12 for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. MathRider intelligently adjusts to your child's math mastery needs. "Mindless repetition" is not a worry with MathRider.

The game is set in a fanciful land where there are noble quests to be conquered as you ride on your horse through Mathland answering math facts and jumping over obstacles in your personal quest of becoming a master of math facts! The video below does a fabulous job explaining the program and showing the graphics used in MathRider. I highly recommend taking a moment to watch!

How we are using MathRider and what we think about the program:

I will say that our third grader has always been a little apprehensive with timed drills. I originally wanted to review this game in order for Caraline to focus on mastering her multiplication facts and "get over" the mental block that comes with a timer.

After reading the introductory information, MathRider recommended beginning at the beginning with the addition quests and to work our way through easy, medium and advanced addition to complete mastery. Then easy, medium and advanced subtraction to complete mastery, and so on through advanced division to complete mastery. She quickly achieved mastery in easy addition, took a little longer on medium addition and a bit more time for advanced addition. We haven't made our way to the multiplication quests...yet.

From the moment she first sat down with MathRider, she wasn't apprehensive or nervousness at being timed. In fact, she was determined to master easy addition in the first day! Which she did!

She is self-motivated to use MathRider. She will sit down to the computer and pull up the game all by herself. I've given her free reign on when she plays and have noticed her spending a good forty-five minutes to an hour a day down to about fifteen at the least working on a quest. Right now, she plays at least three days a week. In the beginning she played five or six days a week.

There have been times when mistyping a known answer or a distraction, such as rowdy brothers entering the room, or having my email notification pop up in the exact spot of the problem she is working on (which has been since remedied ) has understandably frustrated her. But, the game itself doesn't. She also prefers to complete the quests with the music off and to also  read the quest stories to herself since they are closed captioned. She adores the fact that she's helping the characters within the quest. This is certainly a motivating factor for her to play the game. The quest stories are fun with a little bit of magic lore mixed in.
As her teacher, I like the statistics board that is available for each child. I know exactly which facts are mastered and which need work and by what degree from a quick glance at the color coded grid. This is certainly a great feature. I also appreciate the intelligent features, like speeding up and slowing down how quickly the horse trots from obstacle to obstacle and keeping track of mastered facts and facts that need more practice and using those particular facts for the quest rides.

Another feature I love for my first grader is the Practice Runs. Here I can determine what facts I want my child to practice. For example, I can chose the operation such as addition, a fixed number such a +1 facts for addition, and then a number range such as up to 5, up to 10 or up to 12. Then, I choose a race mode such as an Obstacle Course where the goal is to answer a certain number of questions that you determine for you child without a timer. Or, a Time Challenge where you determine the amount of seconds allowed for your child to complete 30 questions. The practice runs do not affect quests or the statistics board. I like to use the Practice Runs with our first grader since his standard math curriculum at this point focuses on fixed number facts for addition and subtraction.

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Age Recommendation and Number of Players:

Math Rider is recommended for children 6 -12 years old, and there can be up to 8 players on a single license.

System Requirements:

 You'll need about 80MB of hard disk space and a monitor or graphics card resolution of at least 1024 x 768 pixels. MathRider can be used by Mac and Windows.

Pricing and Free 7 Day Trial:

MathRider available for a seven day free trial. And, if you decide to upgrade to the lifetime account, all of the quest information accomplished during the free trial carries over to the new membership!

For $47 you get instant download access for life, including free software upgrades.


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