“ Website for children to develope their maths skills „
Mathblaster started out in 1987 as a maths game for the new family toy - the home computer. It was created by Davidson software, but later taken over by Knowledge Adventure. Throughout the years they have made a number of programmes which all have the basic premise of video game in which you need to very quickly answer maths problems to progress, while you blast your way through alien worlds.
Mathblaster.com is a sister site to Knowledge Adventures, Jumpstart.com, which I have reviewed here some time ago. Both sites are included in one membership, so if you subscribe to one - you get the other. Both sites also users to play some of the games for free but registration is required. You just fill in a few details and down load the unity media player. They generally offer free trails for the whole site if you want to give it a try. Because I have a lifetime membership though, I can not tell you which areas can be accessed free as anytime I click on the site I go straight to my children's accounts. I paid £100 for a lifetime membership, I believe yearly membership is nearly £50, and monthly was £7 , including international currency transactions at the time when I had it, but because you are charged in US dollars this does vary a bit. The monthly membership is $9.99 US. Up to six children can sign on for one membership price. But if this is anything like Jumpstart world, there will be a fair amount to do in the free section, so it is certainly worth a try.
This site is aimed at children form about age 5-11, and primarily teaches basic maths equations addition, subtraction, multiplication or division, fractions, decimals, place value and geometry.
The full paid version which we use has a good number of games to choose from and more are being added regularly. You play as a space cadet which you customise to suit your own tastes. My sons character is a green alien with a Mohawk style hair or fin - I'm not sure which - a rather fish like face and two eyes on tentacles.
The games we currently have are. Each has a wide range of difficulty settings to suit most players own ability levels.
A space motorbike type vehicle which you fly through a tunnel zapping targets. You must defeat multi armed robots to progress and earn blasts by answering questions correctly in your choice of addition, subtraction, multiplication or division. This is a quick fun game that my son especially enjoys one, and even my two year old has fun blasting away but I must answer the equations for him.
Our rating 5 out of 5 fun and educational.
This can be played single player or you can challenge other space cadets to a duel. It is just a shoot em up, but as far as I can see, has no educational aspects, or maths equations. Still it's good fun, even I can enjoy it, in spite of the fact that I am rubbish.
Our rating 3 out 5 Good fun but no educational value.
You quickly aim to shoot the correct answer to the equation on the top of the screen in your choice of addition, subtraction, multiplication or division or a combination of these. You can play this in training mode, or man battle stations when the space station is under attack. My son finds this difficult to aim though, and I am even worse then he is when I tried it.
Our rating 4 out 5 - Very educational, a fun idea, but looses one star for difficulty.
Bolt Cruncher -
Choose the correct battery to power up the robots by selecting teh correct geometric shape, fractions decimals and percentages. You must act quickly to power up the robots before they reach the bolt cruncher and are smashed.
Our rating 5 out of 5 fun and educational.
You jump up different ledges and moving platforms to find the correct numbers learning place value tenths and money, but unfortunately the money is American Currency.
Our rating 4 out 5 - fun and educational, but losing one star for only offering US currency.
Galaxy Grand Prix
Build your own tracks or race on the preconfigured tracks. Single or multi player, good fun and does have some educational value in building the tracks.
Our rating 4 out of 5 - Would have gone higher if some equations had been included.
Ride a giant bucking snail by quickly typing in the correct answer to equations in your choice of addition, subtraction, multiplication or division. Fun and educational, this is another of my son's favourites and gets the full 5 stars from us.
My sons opinion - My son enjoys these games and is waiting for a turn now after seeing me playing a few before writing this. This is something he will choose to play in his free time, as well as doing as part of school. The graphics are brilliant, the games fun and he is learning as he plays.
My opinion - I think this programme is brilliant. It teaches maths facts through speed and repetition, much as flash cards would, but it is ever so much more fun. I do think children learn more when they are having fun, and I am absolutely delighted with this programme. There is already a fair variety of games,and I expect more to be added as this started with only 2 games not so long ago.
But the real question is it worth the money? If this was all you got for the membership fee, I would have to say no. I would say perhaps £30 would be fair for unlimited access to this as it stands now. I would certainly not have paid £100, nor would I pay £7 every month. But considering the fact that this comes packaged with Jumpstart.com, which I would easily consider worth several times the price, I think this is an absolutely brilliant deal. But even for those who would not consider membership, the free games are well worth a try. Overall, I consider the whole package like having a fun online tutor for primary education.