Knowledge Adventure's Jump Start Math for Kindergartners
##AUTHORSPLIT##<--->As a kindergarten teacher, I am most impressed with Jump Start Math for Kindergartners. The program comes on a hybrid CD and will run on Windows 95+ or a Macintosh Power PC.
The program uses a birthday theme, inviting children to help the people of Cloud Town prepare a birthday party surprise for Guthry the Giant. When magic beans are planted, a giant beanstalk grows and takes the classroom to Cloud Town, reminding one of Jack and the Beanstalk. However, Guthry the Giant is a very gentle and benevolent fellow, not the bloodthirsty type of fairy-tale fame. The guide throughout the program, as in all of the Jump Start series, is Hopsalot the Rabbit. This is a plus with small children, as a familiar character can ease their transition into a new program.
The program covers important and essential kindergarten math skills:
Writing Numbers: The child flies a plane to sky-write numbers and shapes. Children can also hear songs about shapes and numbers after they finish skywriting.
Sorting: The graphic organizer, Venn Diagram, is used most effectively in this part of the program as the child must help the Popsalot family blow up and sort balloons for Guthrys party.
Problem Solving/Following Directions: Snow cones must be prepared by following the recipes.
Also comprehensively covered are skills such as counting, addition, subtraction, sequences and patterns, and measurement.
The program is easy for young children to navigate and operate. Audible directions and a vivid graphical interface help the children through the program. The software allows children to make decisions as they explore and complete activities according to their own desires. However, in order to attend the giants birthday party, they must earn 100 candles for the birthday cake. The program allows them to work any activity at any time, but in order to earn the 100 candles they must complete activities throughout the program, and are only allowed to earn a certain number of candles for each activity. The activities increase in difficulty as the child shows skill mastery.
Kindergartners will find this program very engaging and entertaining. They will have fun while learning essential math skills. The animation is colorful and very well done, sing-along songs are incorporated throughout the program, and the characters will keep the childs interest. This program d'es a good job of incorporating all of the Multiple Intelligences: verbal/linguistic, logical/mathematical, visual/spatial, musical, bodily/kinesthetic, interpersonal, intra-personal, and naturalist.
The program allows for multiple users. The child must select or type his or her name on the birthday invitation and then click on the magic bean to enter the program. Upon first entering the program, the children are asked to click on their birth months. For use at home, this would present no problem, but in a busy classroom, the teacher would have to be prepared to help each child click on the correct month, and this could be an inconvenience. For the teacher entering multiple users, it would be nice to have a way to import a class list entirely instead of having to go through several time-consuming steps to enter each child individually. But this is a minor difficulty compared to the overall excellence of this program.
An Activity and Discovery Workbook is available on the CD. They are designed for the parent and child to work through together, and are helpful in application and reinforcement of the concepts learned in the program. The Workbook and program are covered by copyright and limited to use on one computer. Knowledge Adventures products are available in Teachers Editions, Lab Packs, Site Licenses and Network.
Each users progress is tracked and can be viewed by the parent or teacher. You can look at one user or multiple users and print out the report. The parent or teacher can set the levels of difficulty for activities such as Sorting & Data Analysis, Patterns and Sequences, and Logic and Problem Solving. Other activities skill levels are preset. When a child logs off the program and then logs back on, the program continues from the point at which it was last used. The Kids Tutor Technology helps teach skills and reinforce learning in any activity where the child is having difficulty.
Web site assistance is available, as is a toll-free number for technical support. Help files are available throughout the program. This adventure in Cloud Town will help Kindergartners build a good math foundation. It is an excellent program and well worth the purchase price of $19.95.
Osceola Elementary School
St. Johns Co. School District
St. Augustine, FL
This article originally appeared in the 05/01/2000 issue of THE Journal.