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Math Software Reviews

Nothin' but the Facts Arithmetic Review
from Interactive Educational Productions

For Ages 5 to adult

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


Reviewed on:
Nothin' but the Facts Arithmetic Review Screen Shot Pentium90 with 24MB and a 2XCD
PowerMac 6400/200 with 32MB and 12XCD

Description
This aptly named program is precisely what the title implies; basic arithmetic review. It contains no amusing characters, no exciting graphics, no intriguing themes. What it does include are flashcard-like lessons (which reinforce memorized number facts), and plenty of practice and drill opportunity. Sound effects, including narration and congratulatory remarks are optional, and are minimally attractive.

Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems are covered in depth at the first two levels, exhausting numbers 1 to 9 for beginners and 8-12, 15, 20, 25 and 50 for intermediate players. The advanced level teaches mental arithmetic-the ability to compute answers without using a calculator, or pencil and paper. This involves learning new strategies, including the awkward but surprisingly useful notion of performing operations from left to right.

Timed sessions, detailed progress reports and "certificate(s) of mastery" help make this potentially dull program a satisfying activity. The appeal of the program is the ever-present challenge of solving the problems at each level correctly, and in the least possible amount of time. As one teacher-reviewer stated "(The program) has a no-nonsense approach to the subject, no frills-just facts".

Ease of Install / Use
PC installation is straight-forward. The user can choose where the program will be installed (drive:directory), and between a minimal installation of 8.5MB, or a full install of 15 MB. It has been recently re-released in a PC/Mac hybrid format.

Educational Value
The average student who needs practice with basic math drills will undoubtedly benefit from this program. Its interactive nature makes it much more appealing than the traditional math workbook, and the well-designed, printable progress reports enable parents to easily track their children's successes. The mental arithmetic section is intriguing, but might be confusing to a child who is having difficulties with the basics.

Nothin' But the Facts is also available in an Academic version that allows teachers to maintain records of up to 50 students, in multiple classes.

Kid Appeal
This program is not a "child-magnet." Its bare-bones approach may lose children who have been spoiled by the more glitzy computer games on the market. There is little to intrigue or challenge the advanced student.

The major plus of this program is its user friendly math-drill format. Some of our younger reviewers clearly enjoyed this self-paced competition, especially if their parents were there to offer praise and support. Our seven year-old tester at one point exclaimed, "This is fun! I think I'll go through all the numbers!" Parents will certainly appreciate the program's potential results, and in this case parent-appeal may override kid lack-of-appeal.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
Educators agree that students need a good grasp of the math basics to succeed at higher levels. This program helps students acquire the quick-thinking computational skills that will prove useful throughout their lives.

Educational Value = 5/5, Kid Appeal = 2/5, Ease of use = 5/5
Ratings key, 1=weak 5=excellent

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



Children's Software System Requirements


PC

Macintosh
Operating System Windows 3.1 or later System 7.1 or later
CPU Type and Speed 486/33 (Pentium recommended) 68030/16 or faster
Hard Drive Space 8.5 MB minimum (14 MB full) 8.5 MB minimum (14 MB full)
Memory (RAM) 4 MB (8 MB recommended) 4 MB free
Graphics 640x480x256 color color display
CD-ROM Speed 2X or faster 2X or faster
Audio Microsoft compatible sound card
Other Needs mouse

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