MathBOTs is an arcade style computer program that
turns MATH into a game. You are an intergalactic spaceship
commander defending your ship against attacks that come at you in
the form of simple math equations. You destroy these attackers by
solving the equations, in a fun, fast paced math drill format
complete with 3-D color graphics and an assortment of
battle-related sounds. The full version of MathBOTs allows the
student to customize the program to their own preferences
including name, spacesuit color and choice of six accompanying
music soundtracks, which may be toggled off for classroom play.
These preferences can be saved with the student profile on a
floppy disk which also keeps track of performance scores.
Suitable for grades K-6, MathBOTs covers addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The trial version is an interactive demo which only allows equations based on the number 3. The registered version gives you access to 130 missions, customizable equation sets, and a student-placement pre-test which lets the program evaluate the user's skills and start them at an appropriate level. The full version also keeps track of each individual user's scores and progress, and adjusts itself to the individual user's learning needs, repeating problem equations until learned, and rewarding the student by promoting them and increasing in the level of difficulty when the problems are solved quickly and correctly.
As a big fan of Space Invaders when it first came out in the late 70's, I really liked the color graphics and the shoot-em-up space action which made the program was fun to play in spite of the thinking involved. MathBOTs provides an entertaining and interactive way for your child to practice the multiplication tables and other math drills. I can see where this program would be useful for improving your child's math skills.
I encountered a little difficulty getting the program downloaded and installed properly (primarily sound card issues), but their technical support was very responsive. The installation is a two step process, requiring a reboot if you want a program icon added to your Start Menu. Once installed, the program is fairly easy to learn and use. There is a bit of a challenge distinguishing some of the numbers and math signs from a distance, but as the equations approach your ship they are quite readable. An added bonus is the Hints section of the program, which is a cartoon animation that helps the student figure out the answer to a particular equation by graphically illustrating the counting or logic required.
The newest release of MathBOTs is Version 2.2, which includes additional warp speeds (40 instead of 20), new drills and graphic enhancements. The demo version may be downloaded from http://www.frontiernet.net/~astrobot/. For the $24 registration fee, you get an unlock code to enable the fully functional version of MathBOTs. To order with a credit card or to get information on academic site licenses, call Astrobot Academy at 1-800-238-3062.
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