Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 34 / MARCH 1983 / PAGE 108

Mathematics Action Games For TI

C. Regena

Parents and teachers — can you imagine a situation where you do not have to nag your students to practice their math? In our high tech society what could be more motivating than computer games? Scott, Foresman and Company has developed three command modules for the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A computer that combine color, graphics, animation, and music with educational concepts for some fun Mathematics Action Games.

Each module consists of two major games, and each game has three levels of difficulty, so the modules are versatile enough for a wide range of students. You may choose a one-player or a two-player game. The series supplements any major basal mathematics program. Each module is packaged in a durable vinyl album with a Teacher's Guide. The Teacher's Guide includes reproducible worksheets and record sheets.

Hard, Harder, Hardest

The modules are an intriguing way to practice fundamental math skills. A student interacts with the game after a correct response. If the student answers incorrectly, the correct response is supplied. There is a time element, so the more quickly the student answers, the higher the score will be (or more jumps or more bowling pins, etc.). Scott, Foresman produces the Mathematics Courseware Series to teach and to give tutorial and remedial help. The Mathematics Action Games provide the practice.

Module A is for kindergarten through third grade and has difficulty levels of Hard, Harder, and Hardest. Frog Jump at the Hard level is a game involving identifying one greater than or one less than a given number. The Harder level employs the concept of the next number in a series counting by twos, fives, and tens. The Hardest level involves order multiples of 10, 100, and 1000. A sample problem is "Give 100 more than 8396." Depending on your answer, your frog jumps a certain number of lilly pads.

The second game in Module A is Picture Parts, which gives practice in the basic mathematical operations. For the Hard section, you give answers to basic addition and subtraction questions such as 9 + 3 = ?. In the Harder level, you give the missing number in basic addition and subtraction equations, such as 12 - ? = 5. The Hardest level requires answers to basic multiplication questions.

Module B is designed for grades three through six and provides practice with multiplication and division. Pyramid Puzzler is the game for multiplication. The Standard level involves giving missing multiplication factors. The Advanced level involves multiplying by multiples of 10 and 100. A sample problem is to multiply 7 × 400.

Ready to practice division? Try the game of Star Maze. All the problems are written in standard division form (long division). The Standard level requests answers to basic division problems. The problems for the Advanced level involve dividing by a one-digit divisor to get a one-digit quotient with a remainder. The Master level problems ask you to divide a three-digit dividend by a one-digit divisor.

From Amateur To Champion

Module C of the Math Action Games, one of my favorite modules, is for 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. The graphics for Number Bowling are really good. To get a strike, you must give the correct response almost immediately. The longer it takes to answer, the fewer pins you'll hit — and an incorrect answer is a gutter ball. Number Bowling has problems involving decimals and fractions. The Amateur level has two types of problems. One type asks you to compare and order decimals (Which is greater? 3.0254 3.3025). The second type of problem asks you to write decimals, such as "Give as a decimal: fifty-one ten-thousandths." The Pro level requires you to write a fraction given a mixed number or to write a mixed number given an improper fraction. The Champion level involves writing a decimal equivalent of a given fraction.

Space Journey gives practice with decimals and percents and at the same time satisfies anyone's urge for a space game. Using the arrow keys, you can land on asteroids or planets, answer a certain number of questions, and try to get to your destination as soon as possible. The Amateur level asks you to give decimal equivalents for percents greater than one and less than 100. The Pro level involves writing decimal equivalents for percents greater than 100 or less than one (Example: Give as a decimal .7%). The Champion level requires you to write percent equivalents for decimals, fractions, or whole numbers.

The Math Action Games are highly motivational, and, in the competitive formats, encourage quick thinking. Students will enjoy playing the games over and over to try to improve scores. It's practice at basic math concepts disguised as fun.

I highly recommend these modules for all classrooms up to 8th grade and for families with children under the age of 14.

Mathematics Action Games
Scott, Foresman and Company
1900 East Lake Avenue
Glenview, IL 60025
$75.95 per module