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Set in the virtual town of "Mathville," this program allows middle school and high school students to practice everyday math skills in real-life activities. These activities incorporate a variety of age-appropriate curriculum topics in familiar tasks. Kids begin on the townís main street, where they can choose to work (a good place to begin), shop, or pursue leisure-time hobbies and sports.
Math problems appear at every turn; many obvious, many cleverly disguised as games or chores. While at work, students balance bank accounts, estimate company profits, schedule workers, interpret business forecasts, compute percentage increases and stock values, and assemble and pack shipping boxes among other things. At the clothing store, students might choose to purchase a jacket at 20% off the regular price. They earn stars by correctly calculating the newly reduced cost of the jacket. At the sports center, they might choose to play soccer. Stars in this activity can be earned by computing the probability of a win based on a teamís current record or measuring the perimeter of one of the hexagonal shapes on a soccer ball.
In addition to math problems, puzzles allow the student to practice problem solving and logic skills.
Activities are not arranged by topic or difficulty level, and users do not progress from simple to more difficult problems. The programís creators note that such an approach would be inconsistent with the real-world orientation stressed in the program. Although it is designed to reinforce math skills learned in the classroom, Mathville VIP also attempts to expose students to situations that build math confidence and problem-solving skills.
Our teacher reviewers commended this program for its depth of coverage and ease of use. "Mathville VIP makes a great free-time activity in my classroom. I feel good about having my students explore this program."
Kids on the younger end of the specified age-range (6th grade) mentioned that some of the material covered was hard or had not yet been taught in the classroom. They lacked confidence in their ability to answer problems that used unfamiliar situations and terminology. These students initially required an older child or adult partner, but soon began to enjoy the program unaided. They noted that the on-screen hints were helpful when they were uncertain about how to tackle a particular problem.
In addition to verbal cheers and accolades following each correct response, students win printable certificates and awards (such as "Employee of the Month") for successful performances.
PC: Windows 3.1 or higher, 8 MB RAM, SVGA 640 x 480 display, CD-ROM drive, sound card.return to top of page
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