This agreeable 1st grade math program combines challenging math drills with fun arcade games to keep young students coming back for more.
The Blaster gang, Max, G.C. and Mel, are off to visit the Intergalactic Zoo, where the animals are in dire need of a little exercise. In order to lure them out to play a rollicking game of Tickle Tag, the user must collect five trading cards, earned as rewards for completion of basic math activities.
Math Blaster for 1st Grade includes age-appropriate math drills and problem solving games. Kids tackle six activities featuring 5 levels of math content. Among the skills addressed are: counting, equalities, measurement, sorting, addition and subtraction, time telling, story problems, money and logic. Each activity features a mini-story to keep kids interested and involved. Encouragement is provided throughout, and a help screen offers information to facilitate success with the program.
Also included is a Progress Tracker that provides parents and teachers with information on user strengths and weaknesses, and a section with printable math puzzles for after-computer learning.
Although the activities included in Math Blaster for 1st Grade are not all that different from those encountered in similar programs for this age range, the settings are imaginative and likely to amuse most 1st grade users. Completion of some activities not only earns students a trading card, but also a short, arcade game as an instant reward. These games can be nerve-wracking for kids not practiced at the fast-twitch-muscle skills they require, but since they serve as rewards only, and not the actual learning activity, they can be skipped if so desired. Most kids will enjoy these games however, and anxiously anticipate playing them in exchange for a job well-done.
Each time a student earns five trading cards, a game of 'Tickle Tag' ensues. This arcade game is much like Pac Man, but features futuristic dog Melon Blaster who races around a maze gathering feathers and avoiding zoo critters.
Ease of Use / Install
Math Blaster for 1st Grade installs without difficulty. Adobe Acrobat 3.0.1 is required and can be installed from the program CD. A User's Manual also exists on the disc, but is not really necessary. Program navigation is simple, activities are thoroughly explained when accessed and a 'help' button offers additional information and advice for each activity.
Best for... / Bottom-Line
Math Blaster for 1st Grade is recommended for students who want to practice their 1st grade math skills -- especially those who are not naturally motivated to do so. Arcade game rewards make kids want to play longer, and challenging activities allow them to learn as they play.