Magazine article Teaching Children Mathematics

Fizz and Martina's Math Adventures: Blue Falls Elementary

Magazine article Teaching Children Mathematics

Fizz and Martina's Math Adventures: Blue Falls Elementary

Article excerpt

Gr. 3-4, CD-ROM, software and electronic teacher's guide with reproducible worksheets, $79.95. Requirements: Macintosh: System 7.1 or later, 8 MB of RAM or 16 MB of RAM with Macintosh Power PC. IBM compatible: 486 or higher with sound card; Windows 3.1 or 95, 16 MB of RAM. Tom Snyder Productions, 80 Coolidge Hill Rd., Watertown, MA 02172-2817, (800) 342-0236.

Six titles comprise the Fizz and Martina's Math Adventures series. Each title is geared to different elementary grade levels. The software is part of a genre called Interactive Group Software. This series is designed to encourage teamwork and interaction among students but also helps develop listening skills and note taking for the individual.

Blue Falls Elementary is an adventure story containing four episodes of two parts each. To play, the class is divided into teams. Each member of each team receives a worksheet, with questions and fill-in-the-blank sentences, on which to record information from the video portion of the adventure. After each individual student records answers on this worksheet, the team members discuss and agree on the notes they have taken. These notes help them answer the questions on the next worksheet, titled Team Questions. Students must first solve the mathematics problem that was posed during the story that they have just watched. Students must work together and help each other to understand the answers that they have found. The third step is the team quiz. The questions are posed to members of the teams, and without consulting the worksheet, the chosen member must answer the questions correctly to receive award cards for her or his team.

Some follow-up activities are provided for each episode. In the first one, Trivial Computes, students answer trivia questions about the episode and then add the numbers in the responses to find a given magic number. This activity contradicts the claim of' the authors that "[u]nlike typical story problems, each math problem emerges naturally within a compelling narrative context and has dramatic consequences" (p. …

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