Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Going for a ride with Math Rider!

Ready for another Math program review? Math Rider is a very well thought out and developed program for those who are working to learn and memorize their basic math facts~ addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division from 0-12.  Each operation includes an Easy, Medium, Advanced level, with a MASTER level that must be unlocked. 

This program really does turn "math drills" into a game that is goal oriented. It is a story-based program (The horse rider is sent on various quests) intended for students at 2nd - 6th grade levels, so it it might not be as attractive to a remedial learner, but really, anyone who is learning those facts could use this program. 

To get a quick overview of the program, you can watch this video, which shows some of the highlights:

Here is an example of one of the quest maps. The red line shows the progress that is attained during each "Ride" which consists of 30 math problems. The distance traveled depends on the number of correct answers given, as well as the speed with which they were given. Although the program does compensate for slightly slower answers, when my littlest was playing, I would type the answers in for him as he would get flustered and hit the wrong keys even though he knew the answers.

At the end of each ride there is the opportunity to either continue on to another ride, or go check out your statistics. A huge amount of information can be found in this frame.   
  • Top Challenges show the problems that have either been missed altogether, or have taken a little while longer than normal to answer. 
  • Mastery Level shows. . . the level of mastery for the entire chart 0-12~ a nice low-stress goal for the student to work towards. 
  • Improvement Since You Started takes into consideration both the speed and the accuracy of the student's current "Ride" compared with the very first ride and shows the improvement. Pretty nice bit of encouragement there. :)  

The chart on the left shows the math problems attempted so far, and the competency with which the problems were answered (Bright Green is good, Orange is problematic, and if there is a Red block, you might want to practice those facts before taking another ride!). I wanted to show you two charts from two different riders so that you could see how they start "Small" (In the first overall screen shot above)and increase in difficulty till every fact is being practiced.
There are some more nifty little statistic options that can be found in this section. If you click on one of the colored squares in the chart you can hear and see that particular problem being answered. In this case the question was found by clicking on the "49" square. 

You can also check out your response time for each problem, and whether you have improved your speed or not. The chart on the left reflects the time improvement from a single completed ride. The chart on the right includes data from 5 rides by another rider.

I think these are cool tools, perhaps not as necessary for homeschoolers, but fun to look at none-the-less (I have the suspicion that they would be more useful for a family with more than a couple of children to keep track of, and extremely useful in a classroom situation). 

The first day my Youngest tried the game he wanted to complete the entire quest! He didn't know all of the facts that were given to him, but at any "Gate" where he "missed" the problem, it was both shown and spoken. With that help, he was able to learn a few of the facts that he didn't already know, and without even realizing that he was learning them. :) Win/Win! Note: Although he completed the quest, he didn't gain mastery of the "Easy Addition Quest" until he had done it a couple more times.

On subsequent days, as the math problems became a little harder, he decided that only 2 or 3 rides/day  was enough. It was interesting to watch... if he became flustered at all, his thinking process went right out the window, and he wildly hit numbers and "enter" without even thinking about them... He is not a fan of "timed" games anywhere, and it showed with that reaction(which is why I started typing his answers in for him as I mentioned above).

One of the things I like is that the game isn't exactly "Timed" as in there is no "time count-down" ~ it's more a matter of not answering the question in time~ a minor differentiation, but it can be a big deal to some children not to see the "Clock" running down, mine being one of them. :) 

My Middlest created a rider so that he could run through his multiplication problems, and enjoyed the "Quest" as a review and a challenge. 

I even signed my Eldest on to run her through her division. Discovered that she didn't have her x12's down pat all the way (But then again, mine aren't instantaneous beyond 7x12 anymore either...), so we might use this for the occasional review/speed challenge with everyone

In general, I am quite happy with Math Rider as a math practice/drill program. If you are interested, you can sign up for the 7 day free trial and see what you think!

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
  • Company/Product: Math Rider
  • Ages: Grade 2-6 or ages 6-12 are the recommended ages
  • Price: $47 lifetime access  (With free updates) 
  • Multiple riders allowed
  • MAC and PC compatible
Please click the banner below to visit the TOS Review Crew and see what others had to say. As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where best to spend your homeschool budget.


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