Friday, February 25, 2011

TOS Review: Math Rider


Math Rider is a computer game designed to help your student master their math facts.  From the Math Rider site:

Ride your horse on noble quests through the magical MathLands. Math Rider combines fun game play with a highly sophisticated question engine that adapts to your child. The game propels your child to mastery of all four math operations using numbers 0 to 12.

Basically, after you set your child up with a name and password, you choose a math operation for them master (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division.)  They watch a brief animated story explaining their mission (they need to rescue a princess or return a magical gem to elf land) and then they ride their horse through an obstacle course filled with math questions.  As they answer correctly the horse jumps the obstacle and earns the rider points.  After earning enough points the student gets to see another animated scene showing that they successfully completed their mission.


Here is a screen shot of a level I set up for myself.  It shows a player’s progress at the top.  On the field you can choose a practice run (where your results won’t affect your mission progress) see detailed statistics and start a new quest.  The book icon will show the animated stories and the map shows where you are in MathLands.  The horseshoe at the top right of the screen takes you to a page that shows high scores in the game.  The question mark on the horse leads you to in-game help.

mr Here is the horse and rider making their way to the first obstacle.  The game gauges how quickly and accurately a student answers questions and the horse gallops accordingly.  The rider gets bonus points for answering quickly.


Here is a shot of the statistics screen.  I was impressed with how detailed this information is.  Every math question that is answered during the game is recorded in the Math Rider database and the statistics page shows a player’s strengths and weakness based on that data.  The chart has a color grid to show progress in mastering the facts:

    • green – question poses no problem for the rider
    • yellow/orange – rider still needs to practice this question more
    • red – the rider finds this question very difficult
    • grey – this question has not been tried yet

When a student left clicks on any block in the chart they get that popup you see in the box to visually help them understand the problem.


A parent can right-click on a box in the chart and get very detailed info on how well the student has done on questions with that specific math problem. 

Ds3 and ds4 both tested this product for me.  Ds3 is 10yo and in the 4th grade.  He definitely benefitted from the math drills but was not too thrilled with the whole horse riding and magical quests theme.  Ds4 is 6yo and in the first grade.  He was thrilled with the theming, loved the horse riding and going on the quest, but the game just seemed to be a bit above his abilities at this moment.  He just isn’t coordinated enough yet to see the problem, solve it, find the numbers, and punch in the answer.  I would help him with the typing sometimes, but it’s not a game he could really do well with on his own.

Overall I am impressed with this game.  The download was quick and easy, setup was painless and the in-game help was thorough and well, helpful.  Both boys’ math fact retention did improve as was evident in both their progress in the game and from the detailed statistics screen.  This is most definitely not just another math game but a serious resource that will enhance any math curriculum.

That said, I will mention a few issues.  I don’t understand why each player needs a password.  It’s not that big a deal, but we are using the computer much more in our schooling this year and I really don’t need another password (or 3 in our case) to keep track of.  It also hindered ds4’s ability to play the game on his own.  While I applaud the theme used to appeal to students, I think some of it is lost in the actual playing of the game.  How are the students supposed to enjoy the scenery and details of MathLands when they are concentrating on answering the questions?  And if they are focusing on the scenery then it affects their game results.  None of these observations really impact my opinion of the usefulness of this product, I am still impressed with it otherwise.

Math Rider is available as an instant download for $37.  There is a 30 day money back guarantee.

I was given a trial download of Math Rider to facilitate this review.  I received no other compensation.  To see other TOS Crewmember reviews, please click on the banner below.


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