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Write-on, wipe-off mats appeal to learners of various ages. Children can practice skills, fill in calendars, play some popular games, and more. These full-color mats are laminated on both sides.
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Grade 3 Up–This drill program for learning times tables, 0 through 12, and the reciprocal division facts offers several options for students. They can either play the game by answering a set of 25 problems within a given time, alone or with a competitor, or opt to take a test, which sets a variable number of problems for solution. After taking the test, players are given the results as percentage correct, with an option to printout those problems missed. The game tells competitors their bonus points (for completion within the time frame) and percentage correct. Another option is a number chart, which can also be printed out, showing multiplication and division facts from 0 x 0 through 12 x 12. The printed products are clear, attractive, and easy to understand. When the CD is loaded, the first screen shows a black space with a start button at the bottom. The instructions do not indicate that in order to enter the program a name must be entered in the space before clicking the start button. Once past this hurdle, there is one basic screen in bright colors, shaped like an artist's palette. At the top is a button for selecting language, either English or Spanish. When using the Spanish mode, the button says English, though the rest of the command buttons are in Spanish. The reverse is true in the English mode. A number line along the bottom of the screen runs 0 through 9. Problems are shown, in both horizontal and vertical forms, in the center of the screen. Users must click on the numbers to answer the problem. A relatively pleasant computer voice says the numbers and repeats the label on each key. When a test or round of the game is finished, a celebratory graphic appears–for example, a shaggy dog romping wildly–before statistics and printout options are given. Instructions are both printed and spoken, and are clear and easy to understand in both English and Spanish. A set button allows students to pick one number to drill, and three other buttons allow for play or testing on multiplication, division, or a mix. The exit/salida button does not merely exit from a game, but from the entire CD, a slight inconvenience. The graphics are simple but attractive, response time is excellent on both platforms, and the auditory components are clear (though the repeating tinkling background tune becomes a bit annoying). This is a good basic program for drilling number facts, and most useful for computation support in the classroom or for practice at home.–Ann Welton, Grant Elementary School, Tacoma, WA
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