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JumpStart Adventures 5th Grade
from Knowledge Adventure

For Ages 9 to 11

See the SuperKids Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions.


Reviewed on:
JumpStart Adventures 5th Grade Screen Shot PowerMac 6400/200 with 32MB and 8XCD
Pentium166 with 24MB and 12XCD

Description
JumpStart Adventures 5th Grade is a compelling quest-type adventure, featuring an inquisitive female hero (we approve!). It gives students an opportunity to apply language arts, math, history, and science skills to challenging real-world situations.

While on a school field trip to the museum, Jo Hammer, a self-appointed kid-detective, is drawn into a malicious plot to destroy the town's factories. Further investigation reveals that the mastermind behind the plot is the sinister Dr. X. Naturally Jo is anxious to thwart Dr. X's criminal rampage, but help is desperately needed.

Dr. X isn't easily foiled. The program involves many rounds of game-play. Each round begins in the museum, where the lab rat B.F. Skinny delivers coded messages from kidnapped lab-assistant (and absent informer) Martin. The first task is to decode and subsequently unscramble each message, leading to the site that Dr. X is currently planning to sabotage. Once the site is known, the race is on to uncover and disarm the bomb. To do this the user must cruise the town, participating in numerous activities that involve grade-appropriate, curriculum-based knowledge and skill.

The student can opt to leave the mission at any time, and visit the Detective Training Center where s/he can further hone and test general 5th-grade skills.

Educational Value
This Jump Start Adventure attempts to include bits of each general subject studied by 5th grade students. Safe-cracking math activities range in topic from addition and subtraction, to complex multiplication and long division with remainders. A 'Juice Bar' activity does a wonderful job of demonstrating the use of fractions with varied numerators and denominators as the user mixes horrendous-sounding treats. Additional activities stress parts of speech, U.S. and Native American history, world geography, and even a bit of art history. In most cases the activity is interesting enough to allow the learning to happen inconspicuously, allowing the child to imagine that it's all just a fun pastime, not actual school-work.

The program features multiple levels of play, allowing it to grow with the student. It additionally includes a printable progress report, and can accomodate up to 99 players, making it adaptable for classroom or computer lab use.

Kid Appeal
Our kid reviewers enjoyed this adventure, despite their lack of initial enthusiasm about the characters and animation. The idea of numerous mini-rounds, as opposed to one lengthy program-encompassing quest was well-received, "I like to finish one part of the game before I quit for the day," was one student's comment "It makes it easier to come back to next time." Activities were generally well-liked, although kids complained that problems were not always clear-cut, and appropriate responses sometimes seemed a bit capricious. Furthermore, quick reflexes and arcade skills are occasionally needed, a factor that frustrated those who knew the answers but were unable to dodge boulders or outmaneuver probes with required rapidity.

Ease of Install / Use
This program installed easily on our reviewers test PCs.

Program navigation is straightforward -- when a point is reached where there is a particular next step that must be taken, the program simply will not let the user do otherwise.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
The kid-detective theme makes this a fun program for children who enjoy time spent on the computer. If you don’t mention it, they may not even realize that they’re learning and strengthening important skills as they play!

Education 4.5/5.0 Kid Appeal 4.5/5.0 Ease of Use 4.6/5.0
5=Excellent, 4=Good, 3=OK, 2=Weak

See the SuperKids Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions.



Children's Software System Requirements


PC

Macintosh
Operating System Windows3.1, Windows 95 System 7.1 or higher
CPU Type and Speed 486DX 66MHz or faster 68040 25MHz or Power PC processor
Hard Drive Space 15 MB 15 MB
Memory (RAM) Windows 3.1--8 MB, Win95--16 MB 8 MB
Graphics SVGA 256-color graphics adapter 256-color graphics capability
CD-ROM Speed Double-speed Double-speed
Audio MPC-compatible sound card n/a
noneOther Needs 13” or larger color monitor

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