Thursday, February 24, 2011

MathRider ~ Mastery of Mathematics in a Land of Adventure

Math Rider

My children really dislike math drills. They especially dislike them if there is an entire sheet of problems involved. They don't see neat rows and columns of addition, subtraction, multiplication or division. They see numbers swimming all over the page. Instead of working their way systematically through the page, they are constantly keeping count of how many problems are left to do. It has been easier for us to do drills orally. This worked well, but it certainly wasn't much fun, and I needed to scribble notations such as "boy one missed twice" or "boy two hesitates here" all over my pages as we tried to achieve mastery.

MathRider is a great tool for students who share their worksheet issues. It helps reinforce the basic facts without inducing math anxiety. MathRider is a computer game that makes math drills fun for elementary aged students working on addition, subtraction, multiplication and division up to the number 12. There is not a lot of pressure with this game, either. It adjusts to the student, and while correct answers are rewarded, incorrect answers are treated quite gently.

In addition to solving math problems, your child and their horse, "Shadow", will progress through enchanted lands on quests. There are elves, a wizard, a dragon realm, a princess to rescue, and more.

The math facts are grouped into four levels of difficulty, and each level has it's own quest. Unfortunately, the story doesn't change when you work on different operations. The easy addition is the same story line as the easy division, subtraction and multiplication, and so on.

As you begin a quest, you will travel through different areas of the "Mathlands". You will be given 30 questions at a time to answer. A correct answer will allow you to clear a pole. It looks like this:

Math Rider

If you look at the bottom of the page, the rider here has answered the question for this hurdle correctly, been awarded points, and can now see the next math sentence. He will type the answer, which will appear in the box below the horse. If the answer is correct, the horse whinnies, and clears the pole. If the answer is incorrect, the horse stops, and the program will read the problem aloud and give the answer. It will also repeat the question several more times to allow the rider to practice (and hopefully retain) the new fact.

Once you finish the 30 poles you will be awarded points. These are based on correct answers and how quickly the course was completed. After an average run, the screen will look something like this.

Math Rider

I tried to vary my times to get a good array for this screenshot. The length of the green bar indicates how long it took me to get the correct answer. The reddish one is a question that I answered incorrectly a few times before getting it right. You can see at the top of the page that all the stats are given. How many poles cleared, how long it took to complete the course, the time bonus, and how many points were awarded. These points are added to a running total, and when the magic number is accrued, the quest is completed. You can see all this information across the top of the screen shot below, and the red line gives a visual sign of how far along you are. It's simple, but it can be fun.

Math Rider

The story is presented as a slideshow with simple cartoon drawings, and you will see it typed out and hear it in spoken word. The art is very basic, not fancy or distracting. The fantasy realm is somewhat noticeable as you complete each mission, but not enough to pull the eyes away from the problems at hand. What we did find distracting were the music and horse whinnies, so we turned the volume on those sound effects all the way down.

The game uses artificial intelligence to adapt to each players speed. It also learns their problem areas and gives plenty of practice where it's needed. If I miss 8+5= __, that problem will show up several more times until I master it.

There is also an area that shows facts mastery. This is a nice feature for the parent, and also for a student who is interested in what he needs to practice.

It pays for a player to work at achieving mastery, because rewards are given with accomplishment.

MathRider is available for instant download for $37.00. PayPal is accepted, and there is a 30 day money back guarantee. The game is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. Once the game is downloaded, the registry key is validated, and you've seen enough of the site tutorials, it is possible to play offline, but there are occasional upgrades that would be transferred via the internet. MathRider only uses a single player mode, but supports up to ten user profiles.

This game was created for the needs of the developer's own children who were struggling with math and were resistant to practicing. The approach is based on research from a Purdue University Study, and is lauded by several child psychologists.

Have your child master addition, subtraction, multiplication and division all for the cost of less than 1 hour professional private tuition!

  • You will know when your child has completely mastered an operation. And more importantly, your child will know it, too!
  • This is the fastest way to mastery of all four math operations. The artificial intelligence rehearses what is needed most, at a rate that is tailored to each player.
  • The game recognises and rewards improvement, not just perfection. This builds confidence and propels children naturally towards complete mastery.
  • Noble quests exemplify positive values such as family, caring, honesty and kindness.
For more information, testimonials, FAQ answers, system requirements and ordering, please visit the MathRider website at www.mathrider.com, or use the contact information found on the website. This is an Australian based company, which is good to keep in mind when corresponding. MathRider is also on Facebook.

My boys have (thankfully) mastered their math facts fairly well by now, (they are ten and in 5th grade) so I am not able to speak to the game's assistance with mastery, but it appears to be a rather sound method. There are plenty of other families from The Old Schoolhouse Review Team who are also posting reviews about MathRider today.

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**I was given a 6 week trial of MathRider to use with my family in order to write an informed blogged review. I was not compensated, and my opinions are my own.