Friday, February 3, 2012

TOS Review: Math Rider

The Math Rider Intelligent Math Facts Game was created by a dad who found out his daughter's were struggling in math. He realized that he needed a fun and creative way to encourage his children to practice their basic math facts. Failing to find a good and innovative way to do that through other games and programs he decided to make his own and thus created the Math Rider Intelligent Math Facts Game.

Math Rider takes you on a magical quest through math lands where you ride your horse over obstacles along the way until you reach your goal and earn awards. To jump over each obstacle you must answer the math question correctly.

But don't worry, if you can not answer the question correctly or quickly enough, it will give the answer and let you move on.

Not only that, but two questions later you will get a chance to retry the problem again until you start to get it right.

At the end of the course you are shown a graph of how well you did on each problem and told how many points you have earned.

If you did well enough you can move on to the next level of your quest. Once you have completed a quest you receive a reward to place out in front of your castle. Here is a courtyard scattered with all the rewards. Now that's something fun to work for!

The neatest part about this game is that parents will be able to see the progress their children are making. If you scroll on each bar in the graph at the end of each level it tells you exactly how long you took to answer each problem. It also has a section which lets you view your entire progress. For each operation you can find out which problems you struggle with and which ones you are doing correctly. It also shows the amount of progress you have made for each individual problem as well as on average for each area of operation. Below is an example of a chart showing how fast a particular problem was answered over the course of the game.

I think you will discover that most kids will find that Math Rider is one of the funnest ways to practice math facts. My favorite part of the program is that it focuses on success and not failure. I love how it handles it when you get a problem wrong. There is no "crash" or any kind of "big" deal made out of the "failure" but instead it just corrects you and moves on. The reports are also extremely helpful for parents as well as fun for kids to see the progress they have made. In fact, each reward becomes more beautifully animated with each level of improvement so even after you get a reward you are rewarded by it!

Of course, I have a daughter with Down syndrome so the game really didn't work well for us, and I knew going into the review that might be the case. Math is where many kids who have DS really struggle and my daughter is no exception. Math Rider does decrease and increase the speed of the game in correspondence to how quickly your child answers questions, but unfortunately for us there is just no speed that was slow enough for Gess.

Even when I sat at the keyboard and typed for Gess when she answered, she just gets confused and frustrated when similar problems come at her too quickly. Since they didn't focus on her failures she at least did not become frustrated when she got a problem wrong or not in time, but neither did she seem to learn the answer even after they told her. This is just not a good learning style for her, but that is no fault of the game itself. We actually had a friend of hers play the game one day and she really enjoyed it and did rather well with it. I truly think Math Rider is a great game for a typical child, even one that struggles with math and it might even be helpful for kids with other kinds of special needs, it just did not work for us. If you think it might be a good fit for you I think you will really enjoy it. After all, even though Gess didn't do well learning the math, she still had fun playing.

Math Rider will soon be selling for $47.00 but if you purchase it before February 15 you can buy it for $37.00, so if you are interested in this game, now would be a good time to buy it. To learn more about Math Rider visit their website or see what other members of the TOS Crew thought about it.

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received temporary access to the Math Rider game for giving my honest opinion and assessment of this product in my review.

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