Magazine article Technology & Learning

The Graph Club

Magazine article Technology & Learning

The Graph Club

Article excerpt

The Graph Club uses playful characters; simple screens with vivid, appealing symbols; and a variety of activities to introduce math concepts and graphing skills to young children. As with many other Tom Snyder titles, the software is just one component of a much larger package that also includes an extensive set of print materials to comprise an integrated, in-depth curriculum. Both on- and off-line activities do a good job of reinforcing reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills while encouraging teamwork and cooperative problem-solving

Colorful opening screens feature Fizz and Martina in their treehouse, inviting students to join them in their adventures in the Student Book Activities or Playground section of the program.

The Student Book Activities portion contains a series of exercises directly linked to print materials such as Fizz and Martina's Incredible Not-For-Profit Pet Resort Mystery. Designed to be read aloud, this delightful story introduces characters and events that will appear in the software and provides a motivating context for online graphing activities. Students might collect and graph data on favorite pets, and then compare their handmade graphs to those on the computer, for example. Graphs are available in five easy-to-read formats including table, picture, bar, pie, and line graphs, and include several options to help even the youngest kids manipulate screen elements. Bunnies, ice cream cones, faces, and other symbols with lots of kid-appeal can be selected from "bins" to drag and drop onto the graph. Highlighted columns and special sound effects reinforce correct placement of objects, and pre-readers receive additional assistance from an audio feature that reads numbers and identifies the different graph types.

The Playground section of the program lets kids browse and experiment with graphs in four interactive modes: Match, Guess, Create, and Explore. In Match, students create and match different types of graphs that show the same data. Side-by-side screens allow them to see and compare the information in horizontal or vertical graph displays. The Guess section encourages students to practice brainstorming and critical thinking skills as they hypothesize about what the data in a given graph might represent. …

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