Magazine article Multimedia & Internet@Schools

Fractions with Professor Von Strudel

Magazine article Multimedia & Internet@Schools

Fractions with Professor Von Strudel

Article excerpt

Company: Micrograms Software, 9934 NorthAlpine Rd., #108, Machesney Park,IL 61115; Phone: 800/ 338-4726; Internet: http://www. micrograms.com/.

Price: $30--individual titles. $42--school pack of two licenses. $110--lab pack. $695--network/site license. At the time of this review, the company was offering a free Micrograms Software Showcase CD or a free 2-month network/site license preview of most of its titles.

Audience: The publisher recommends grades 2-6.

The reviewer finds that parts of the program are probably too difficult for 2nd and 3rd grade, and the animation may not work as well with 6th grade.

Format: CD-ROM (Win/Mac): multimedia, animation, sound.

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows systems: Pentium level, Windows 95/98/NT/2000/ME/XP.

The network Windows version runs on 95/98/ME and NT/2000/XP.

Macintosh systems: Macintosh Power Macs, iMacs, eMacs, and other G3s and G4s using OS 8 through OS X Native.

Both platforms require appropriate standard sound cards and CD-ROM drives. Good headphones are necessary in classroom or lab settings, as sound is crucial to successful use of the program.

Description: Fractions with Professor Von Strudel provides a tutorial approach and a basic introduction to fractions.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: The single station version I used was easy to install and involved simply clicking "Install Program" after the Autostart function had opened the CD-ROM. After installation, the CD-ROM is required to run the program. Note that network versions are available. Installation Rating:A

Content/Features: I've used Micrograms software for a number of years for reading and math drill and practice. Fractions with Professor Von Strudel is intended to be more of a systematic tutorial program than some Micrograms software, but it has the same pleasant quality, look, and sound.

The program gives students a basic introduction to fractions and builds on what they learn--from recognizing 1/4 to dividing with mixed numerals. Professor Von Strudel offers carefully guided practice; most activities offer tutorial help in which the professor clearly explains the concept or method needed in the selected activity.

Topics include an introduction; equivalent fractions; greatest common factor; prime and composite; reduce to lowest terms; improper fractions; mixed numbers; least common multiple; adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions; decimals and percents; and word problems. The word problems are intended for use after all of the other sections of the program have been successfully completed.

Professor Von Strudel is a balding individual with a wild fringe of white hair and a lab coat. He appears in a futuristic-looking laboratory with a blackboard and a cat and uses a clear and pleasant voice as he works with students. He is rendered in animation with a kind of claymation look to it; the animation is very nicely done.

In general, students are guided through the program in a linear fashion as concepts build on one another. However, teacher options enable the selection of activities targeting specific objectives for specific students or classes, as needed. The program includes a total of 12 activities with multiple levels and 30 tutorials.

While the professor is explaining an activity, students have access to some of the tutorials through the Review function. Students also have access to the Review function if they make too many errors while practicing. …

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