Mathletics

www.mathletics.com

Math can be a pretty dull subject around my house. So far I haven't had a child who is overly enthusiastic about the subject. I welcome anything that lights a fire under my kids academically, particularly when it comes to math. Mathletics is just the fire-starter we needed this fall. To begin with, the site is immediately appealing to the target ages: kindergarten through 8th grade. Students create an avatar complete with hairstyles, glasses, hats, and backgrounds. As they work through Mathletics, they can track their progress in their own student center.

Each section contains ten problems to solve, and as students answer each problem, they see immediately whether they answered correctly. Points are earned based on the number of problems answered correctly, and a student can then use his points to add other features to his avatar. This fun feature was definitely appealing to my students, a 10-year-old girl and an 8-year-old girl.

Step-by-step animated instructions are provided in case a student gets stuck and needs a little help. Once a section is completed, the student moves on to another. The games are fun and funny; one of my daughters spent quite a bit of time on a game featuring Roman numerals because she thought the characters were amusing. In the process, she mastered those Roman numerals!

One of the really great features of Mathletics is that students can challenge each other in real-time games with the over 500,000 Mathletics users from all over the world. As games are completed, problems solved, and points collected, the student can watch as his or her worldwide ranking moves up or down. What a motivator for a child who finds competition fun!

You may be wondering about the content and concepts covered by Mathletics. Here's the breakdown by grade level:

• Kindergarten: 19 activities--sorting, naming objects, shapes, knowing numbers and patterns, measurement and money, addition and subtraction preparation
• 1st Grade: 20 activities--addition and subtraction, geometry and measurement, time, numbers to 100, money, fractions
• 2nd Grade: 26 activities--modeling numbers, addition and subtraction, measurement and money, geometry, fractions, multiplication and division
• 3rd Grade: 86 activities--addition and subtraction of whole numbers, multiplication and division of whole numbers, decimals, fractions, data, probability, statistics, geometry, measurement
• 4th Grade: 104 activities--addition and subtraction of whole numbers, multiplication and division of whole numbers, decimals, number theory, fractions and percents, data analysis, measurement, geometry
• 5th Grade: 108 activities- addition and subtraction of whole numbers and decimals, multiplication and division of whole numbers and decimals, number theory, adding and subtracting fractions, percents, graphing and data analysis, geometry, measurement
• 6th Grade: 100 activities--decimals, number theory, adding and subtracting fractions, multiplying and dividing fractions, ratios, proportions, percents, geometry, measurement, data analysis, probability, statistics, pre-algebra, integers
• 7th Grade: 106 activities--decimals, number theory, integers, adding and subtracting fractions, multiplying and dividing fractions, pre-algebra, geometry, measurement, ratios, proportions, percents, data analysis, probability, statistics
• 8th Grade: 93 activities--integers, rational numbers, exponents and square roots, ratios, proportions, percents, data analysis, probability, statistics, expressions and equations, geometry, measurement, coordinate geometry, inequalities

In addition to the online games, Mathletics offers printable workbooks, answers, and assessments (numbers, skip counting, place value, ordinal numbers, fractions), all of which are currently available only for 1st grade and 5th-12th grades.

You'll also have an online "Parent's Toolkit" (a searchable database of modulated math instructional videos, animated dictionary, workbooks, and support) and Task Manager, the latest innovation from Mathletics that allows parents to assign a specific activity that their child must complete before gaining access to other features of Mathletics. And in case your math skills are a little rusty, the Animated Math Dictionary defines mathematical terms with computer animation.

Initially, I found Mathletics a lot to take in. It is quite a wealth of resources and options. You should plan to spend some time familiarizing yourself with the site and set-up, but once you get your kids involved, you'll see that they can move around and acclimate themselves quickly.

You will be glad to know that the site is child-friendly; there is no communication with or between children. The cost is \$59 per child per year, and there is a 10-day money-back guarantee.

Minimum system requirements are as follows:

• Windows XP/Vista or Mac OS 10.4 and above
• 512MB of RAM
• Screen Resolution of 1024 x 768
• Internet Explorer (7 and above) or Mozilla Firefox (2 and above)