Wednesday, April 24, 2013

MathRider (TOS Review)

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I am a firm believer in kids knowing (read memorize) their math facts. The easiest way that I've been able to do this with my kids has been a free online math drill. I was given the opportunity to review MathRider: The Intelligent Math Fact Game that allows practice for practicing addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division from 1-12.

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Practicing retrieval is the basic principle behind MathRider, but what makes MathRider unique is that the game adapts to the area that the student needs it the most. It also recognizes and rewards improvement in their math facts. The best part is MathRider is just plain fun!

So how does it work? MathRider is a program that can be instantly downloaded to your Windows or Mac OSX computer. The nice part about this is that once it is loaded on your computer you don't need internet access to play it. When you open the game you immediately set up a Rider name along with a password for each student (up to eight) you have.
In the game the child is taken into the Land of  Ray,which is a land of fantasy and quests, where they also ride their horse, Shadow. Once signed in they pick a new quest. At that point they pick which operation they want to work on along with the difficulty level: easy, medium, advanced, and master. Once they have done that they begin their quest.
Each difficulty level has a story that goes along with it. Each story line is the same except and only changes for whichever operation being worked on, though the rewards are different. When the story is finished then the student can begin their quest. As they answer the math facts that show up on the screen their horse, Shadow, moves across the screen and jumps the hurdles. If they miss a problem everything stops and the math fact is shown along with the correct answer.

At the end of each run the student can then check out their progress on the map that is available to look at. They then can choose to continue the quest until they have received the number of points needed to continue on to the the next diffuculty level. When that level is complete another story appears to conclude that level. From that point the journey continues either by continuing to the next level or starting a new operation.

Chantry used this game to replace the math drills he was currently using. He usually played the MathRider game everyday we had school. I could tell he really liked it since he was willing to keep playing it over and over. He quickly worked through addition and then headed through subtraction. He had started multiplication, but I had him go back and work through the subtraction to bring his overall percentage up. He has just started working through multiplication and his subtraction score is coming up. The game was enticing enough that Destini decided she wanted to try it out!

I decided to try it out myself and see exactly how it worked and let me tell you it was not a breeze to do. I worked on addition and subtraction and I did fine for the first two difficulty levels, easy and medium, but when I got to the advanced level I was challenged. Here's why: as long as I had problems such as 9+7 or 16-9 I was fine, but then it started throwing problems such as 12+9 or 22-9 at me and it threw me a curve ball. Since I normally add and subtract in this manner:

12    or    22
+9            -9

I found adding and subtracting in this manner: 12+9 or 22-9 to be challenging to say the least!

MathRider is a great way to master those math facts by being colorful, having a story to follow, and receiving rewards when completing a level. My kids really enjoyed using this program and there wasn't any complaints when it came time to do math drills. And that is what I call success!

MathRider is recommended for ages 6-12 and is available for instant download for $47. This price includes free updates for life. You can also try it out free for 7 days. For more information watch the video that can be seen here.


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