Magazine article MultiMedia Schools

The Clue Finders 5th Grade Adventures

Magazine article MultiMedia Schools

The Clue Finders 5th Grade Adventures

Article excerpt

Company: The Learning Company, 6493 Kaiser Drive, Fremont, CA 94555; Phone: 510/792-2101; Fax: 510/713-- 6072; http://www.learningco.com/.

Price: $30-Windows/Mac hybrid CD-- ROM two-disc set, The first CD contains the program and assessment; the second CD is a Personal Learning Center with tips, tools for parents, printable workbooks, and activities.

Audience: Publisher recommends ages 9-11+. There is a 6th grade version recommended for ages 10-12+.

Format: CD-ROM: text, graphics, sound, animation.

System Requirements: Both Macintosh and Windows versions require 22 MB free hard drive space, 16 MB RAM, 4x CD-ROM drive, speakers, and mouse. Windows systems require a Pentium processor, Windows 95 or higher, 256-color SVGA display, and Windows-compatible digitized sound card. The Macintosh version requires a Power PC, 180 MHz, System 7.1 or later, and a 256-color monitor.

Description: The Clue Finders 5th Grade Adventures is one of a series of CD-ROMs that offers 3rd through 6th grade students an adventure in which they can practice a variety of gradelevel subject skills while trying to solve a mystery. Each CD in the series presents a different adventure.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: I installed the program on a Gateway 2000, Pentium 200 MHz processor with 32 NO RAM, 12x/16x CD-ROM drive, running Windows 95. The CD-ROM guided the installation, which went smoothly. Installation Rating. A

Content/Features: A ClueFinders team made up four students is investigating the mysterious disappearance of ships in the South Pacific. Atsunami shipwrecks the team on a volcanic island. Two of the team members and others have disappeared and must be found before the volcano erupts.

The program provides students with a plethora of curricular skill practice opportunities woven into the adventure story. Students can obtain clues to solve the mystery in 10 curricular area activities while working at four levels of difficulty. The segments of covered curriculum are quite extensive, including practice in the skills of mathematics, science, geography and maps, reading comprehension, spelling and vocabulary, and language arts.

The mathematics activities are Shark's Crossing (working whole number operations), Sulfur River (matching geometric shapes and using logic), Faces Within a Face (generating mathematical rules and logical reasoning), and Tube Cavern (fraction addition). The language arts challenges include Spelling Catwalks (correctly spelling words), CrypTile Stories (placing story segments in proper order for a given title), and Fish Within A Fish (working with prefix, suffix, parts of speech, and synonyms/antonyms).

The geography activity is titled Poison Garden (practicing map reading, including longitude and latitude).

Science activities include Biosphere Chambers (identifying predator/prey simulations) and In the Minisub (building closed circuits).

The reviewer and her students found some of the challenges quite difficult. For example, the spelling words do not focus on high-frequency words that 5th grade students use in their writing.

Students who used the program tended to flit from one activity to the next when the challenges got too difficult. They never seemed to complete an entire activity.

In addition, the reviewer and her students could never seem to bring closure to a section. When working to create closed circuits, for example, the same sets of circuits came up repeatedly for connection.

The second CD-ROM, the Personalized Learning Center, offers printable activities that accompany the challenges, printable workbooks, and a way to monitor student progress. …

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