Saturday, March 27, 2010

Galaxy of Education Math Programs

As part of the TOS Crew "Math Immersion Experience" this year(smile), we were given the opportunity to try out the math packages offered by Galaxy of Education's Math Galaxy.

Math Galaxy offers K-12 :
  • Interactive "tutorial" math programs, with topically complimentary "motivating" games,
  • Worksheet Generators with unlimited problems, and the option to add "Riddles" to the worksheets (Over 500 Riddles available... if your worksheet has one you've seen before, you can ask it to choose another one before you print the page!)
  • 2 "Ebook" versions of the riddle worksheets for Fractions and Whole Numbers that include 130 of the 500 available riddles, for those who prefer that format.
The math programs range from basic math (Adding and subtracting, telling time, etc...) all the way up to algebraic equations. You can get a feel for how the programs work (and their "Teaching style") by checking out some of the limited free features available on the website.

The "interactive"/tutorial portion is like a textbook program, that explains the given mathematical operation, and gives examples, then lets the student solve the problems.

There are two options for solving the problems
  • "Step-by-step", where each numeral in the answer is keyed in a separate step, or the
  • "Final Answer only" option, where the student can choose to solve mentally, or on paper, and then key in the final answer.
I found that my 9 year old benefited from the step-by-step option when working on 2 or more digit multiplication problems. It helped him to figure out the process by prompting him to remember to carry, and later on to add. I can imagine that it will also be useful when we start long division, with the multiple steps required there as well.

On to the "Motivation" aspect of the program, the games... The labyrynth maze kind of reminds me of vintage computer games.... and my boyo "goes" for that sort of thing, so that's good. If your kids are more into glitz and glam, and outrageous graphics, they might be quite as inspired.....

The Word Jumble is kind of a "Wheel of Fortune" type game, with a scrambled word, and math problems for each letter~ Here's a partial game screenshot:

Math Galaxy Word Jumble

The Riddles require you to do a math problem for each letter also~ Here's another screen shot;

Math Galaxy Riddles

In Bridge the Swamp, you are trying to get from the top of the mountain, across the swamp to your respective color, by selecting the numbers that work with the operation to give the answers in an adjoining space~ I'll show you the game just starting, and then almost finished:

I would be remiss if I didn't mention a few other things:
  • I did find the program, and the "Vintage" look to be a little difficult to "navigate"
  • It took a little getting used to the way the "Step-by-step" answers were to be filled in (although once we "Got it", it made perfect sense, and I appreciated the way it worked...)
  • My "older" attempted to do some of the Algebra problems, but was having a hard time "interfacing" with the product....Maybe she just wasn't ready? I'm not sure~ It could be that the "Text-book" wasn't as clear as it could be...
  • My monitor is an old 15 inch, so on the rare occasion, there may have been a line of "tutorial" cut off~ I didn't run into anything that would cause us significant trouble, tho'.
  • While the labyrinth game is "Self-limiting" because the kids have to earn robots in order to play, once they become adept at the game, one robot life (Which means one math problem....) can last FAR too long! Need a timer on that thing!
  • The "Tutorial" aspect is a little dry on its own, but with a parent/teacher overseeing the first bit of screen time, I think it works out fairly well.
I really like the worksheet generator (For when my kids WANT worksheets... because regardless of MY preferences, sometimes that is their desire...), and the riddles make it more fun!

The "Math Galaxy Word Problems" program has a nifty feature, in that it can be a "game" for up to 4 players. Each player's math problems can be chosen, individualized for their ability and the topics they are studying, so that the 7th grader can play the 4th grader, and it's "equitable". :) I like it! (The game follows a board, with "caves" that are similar to the Labyrinth mazes, but the "play time" is limited, in that there is only one cave available per turn. This might be a good idea for the regular labyrinth maze as well.... one maze per problem. :) )

Math Galaxy System Requirements: Windows 98 or later or Mac OS X.
  • The ______ Fun programs are $29.95
  • The Worksheet generators are $29.95
  • The Riddles e books are $14.95
All have free shipping

If you are interested in a different math program with a lot of potential, and don't mind working with a "Vintage feel" in both style and graphics, this might be just what you (or your child) are looking for! Moral of this story in MY family~ 9 yo who didn't care for other programs seems to really enjoy this one, 12 yo who LOVES other programs wasn't all that enthralled....

For other views and experiences, please visit the TOS Crew, and see what other families thought.
As always, I hope that this helps you spend your homeschooling dollars wisely. If you have any questions about our experience, feel free to comment. :)


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the TOS Crew Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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