Space Academy GX-1

Article excerpt

Space Academy GX-1

Company: Edmark Corporation, 6727 185th Ave. N.E., P.O. Box 97021, Redmond, WA 98073; Phone: 800/426-0856; Fax: 425/556-8998; Web site: http://www.edmark.com/.

Price: $60--school version, Mac/Win hybrid, two computers. $160--lab pack, six computers. $600--site license, 30 computers.

Audience: Recommended for grades 3-6.

Format: CD-ROM: text, graphics, audio.

REPORT CARD

Overall Rating *****

Installation       A
Content/Features   A
Ease of use        A
Product Support    A

Maximum rating: 5 stars

System Requirements: Macintosh version requires system 7.5.6 or higher, Power PC (604e or better recommended); 16 MB RAM, 7000 K free disk space, 640x480, thousands of colors; 2x CD-ROM drive.

PC-compatible: Windows 95/98 or later, Pentium or better, 90 MHz or faster, 16 MB RAM, 12 MB hard disk space, 640x480, high color; 2x CD-ROM drive.

Description: As crew members of the Space Academy, students investigate space science concepts through interactive missions and experiments related to understanding the solar system.

Reviewer Comments: Installation: I used this program on a Power Mac G3 computer running system 8.5.1. Installation was simple and quick. An Easy Install (standard program--3.8 MB) or Custom Install (high performance--26.2 MB) option is available, based on available memory. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: Space Academy GX-1 features scientific investigations correlated to National Science Education Standards. Through simulated space missions, students work to understand abstract concepts by completing interactive experiments while practicing making observations, assessing data, and testing hypotheses.

The program's content covers the Earth, sun, and moon as they affect night, day, and the seasons; solar system facts, comparisons, and the position of the planets; orbit trajectories, inertia, and Newton's Laws of Motion.

The main menu screen offers a choice of four learning opportunities:

* Interplanetary Relationships covers the relative sizes of planets and moons.

* The Planetary Data Center uses pictures, bar graphs, and charts to help students complete hypotheses about the solar system.

* A Gravity Pilot Trainer guides students through gravity wells of planets, moons, and the sun.

* Explore Models recreate solar eclipses, phases of the moon, and other astronomical events.

The program's special features include record-keeping tools to track student accomplishments, a multimedia Reference Guide providing in-depth research tools, and Virtual Manipulatives that serve as realistic models that can be maneuvered to conduct experiments.

As students succeed, Grow Slides adjust activities automatically. …