Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quarter Mile Math Computer Software

"The Quarter Mile is dedicated to you! We believe that you are capable of incredible personal improvement and that you will have great fun blowing the "limits" away!"

Positive reinforcement is the name of this math based game produced by Barnum Software from the moment of signing on. Quarter Mile Math is designed to aid students with increasing their ability to quickly recall basic math facts through the use of timed drills. Traditional time tests are brought to the 21st century by taking full advantage of computer generated racing games which are powered by students correctly answering math facts based on a specific math topic. Topics include math concepts traditionally taught in grades K-pre-Algebra (8/9th grade) based on State standards. Students race against the clock solving math problems in an effort to move either a race car or wild horse toward a finish line. Correctly answering the math facts moves the car or horse faster. Scores are recorded as the number of seconds required to complete the race.

According to the producers of Quarter Mile Math this computer resource is "designed to increase your skill level through self-competition". As students begin playing Quarter Mile Math they will race against "Fast Eddy", a computer generated racer designed to lose by staying at the starting line a bit too long. Fast Eddy competes with cars or horses in five of the six lanes shown on the computer screen, but his racers will slowly be replaced by replayed versions of the student's fastest times. This method allows students to always compete against themselves, building confidence as they build speed.

Self-competition is friendly and confidence building but lets face it some kids want more. Quarter Mile Math Deluxe offers those wishing to flex their math muscles an opportunity to participate in tournaments with other users. Students have the opportunity to compete in tournaments with other users across the room or across the globe. The tournaments make this math drill product unique and are designed to keep energy and excitement alive for kids as they study their math facts. The software offers suggestions for up to 12 different types of tournaments including "Round Robin", "Individual Tournament" and "School Tournaments" cleverly created to multi-function as a fundraiser.

Upon completing a race students have two options for recording their scores. Option 1: "Race with Everyone" allows the student to continue to compete with himself by keeping track of the top five average times completed successfully and if participating in a tournament with other Quarter Mile Math Deluxe version users, access to check their score for ranking against other students.

The second option, "Track Your Progress Over Time" simply allows students an opportunity to keep record of their top five scores. If the new race falls short of these times it remains unrecorded.

I must admit I used very little of Quarter Mile Math Deluxe version, but three of my kids used it a lot. I didn't have to play the game, however, to see evidence of progress for as a parent/teacher I have access to each of my registered student's scores by logging into the review screen during sign in. I can check to see a list of every topic in which a particular student has raced, how many races they have run and their scores. The program monitors progress for me acting as my personal assistant in math instruction.

When asked for her opinion of the product 12 year old Micah, ready for grade 7, had this to say, "I think it is fun, but if you pick the wrong topic it might be too hard for you. I don't like it more than time tests on paper".

Micah thought it unusual that all students, no matter what grade level, had access to the same math topics. For instance, her 2nd grade sister could easily attempt a fractions race if desired. Personally, as a teacher, I thought this option a good one allowing gifted students to soar ahead and math strugglers time to get there without pressure.

Second grade Sierra was less critical and said, "I thought it was fun. I liked learning while watching my horses run".

Quarter Mile Math Levels 1, 2, 3 bundle Deluxe version is available in Windows or MacIntosh versions. Customers can subscribe at Barnum software's website for $2.95 per family per month, $19.95 per family per year or $34.95 per family for two years. The program is instantly downloaded to your computer, but an optional CD backup can be ordered for $5.00. A standard CD version of the program, which does not include tournament play, can be purchased for $39.95-$89.95 depending on range of grade level.

Barnum Software is offering TOS Review Crew members and their blog readers a special $5.00 off Deluxe or Standard versions by mentioning referral code 7D7H7. This special offer is good until September 30, 2009.

Make math drill time play time this year with Quarter Mile Math. It is one race everyone will want to win.

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