Magazine article Multimedia & Internet@Schools

Straight Curve Mathematics Series 2

Magazine article Multimedia & Internet@Schools

Straight Curve Mathematics Series 2

Article excerpt

Company: PLATO Learning, Inc., 10801 Nesbitt Avenue South, Bloomington, MN 55437; Phone: 800/447-5286; Internet: http://www.

Price: $20 per student.

Audience: Grades 3-5, students and teachers.


Installation                              A

Content/Features                          A

Ease of Use                               A

Product Support                           A

Format: Web-based program: graphics, text, audio.

Minimum System Requirements: Computer with browser and Internet access.

Description: Straight Curve Mathematics Series 2 provides supplemental material designed to enrich core elementary mathematics curriculum for students and teachers. The program focuses on the concepts that students in grades 3-5 find most challenging: decimals, fractions, measurement, probability, and problem solving.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: I reviewed Straight Curve Mathematics Series 2 on a Dell Dimension 4400 desktop computer with a Pentium 4 processor (1.60 GHz) and Windows XP.

The installation of specific plug-ins is required. The latest version of Adobe Reader should be installed to view user guides, the learner guide, and curriculum guides.

Access to the PLATO Web Learning Network is easily accomplished by following the links provided in the section titled "Installing Courseware Plug-ins." Installation is easy; well-written instructions are included, and hotlinks direct users to specific URLs (e.g., Macromedia Shockwave). Pop-up blockers must be turned off or disabled. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: Straight Curve Mathematics teaches concepts and strategies through a series of instructional blocks, minilessons, investigations, workshops, games, and quizzes. Each activity is designed to fit in a 20-minute period. The format easily permits teachers to integrate Straight Curve activities into any portion of a standard 60-minute mathematics block.

Suggestions are provided regarding the intended audience and setting for each activity. The primary delivery method for each activity (online or offline) may be found in the Teacher Support Materials section.

The minilessons initially introduce concepts and principles; these are also found in the Investigation and Workshop instructional blocks.

Students solve problems and activities through a Warm-up and Challenge within the Investigation Instructional block. Teacher Support Materials within this block include worksheets, journal-based activities, and suggestions for students that may require help completing the Challenge.

The Math Workshop allows students to come together to form a math community. Workshops are teacher-led; however, the teacher is expected to guide group dynamics and not to teach content.

The Games block provides games designed to be completed in 20 minutes, although replay is permitted and students may wish to spend more time on this activity. Online games may have offline equivalents, but not the reverse. I played several of the games and found each challenging and interesting. I am confident that students of any level will reach the same conclusion.

The quiz material is primarily available online, comes in a multiple-choice format, and provides practice for standardized tests. …

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