Spark Island

Key Stage 1 Maths (ages 5 -7)

Reviewed by Betty Lumley

This CD Rom has lots of activities for children, many ideas for teachers and is easy to navigate. The graphics are good and the settings for practising the calculations are inventive and colourful. The printed instructions are clear and come with audio prompts making it easy for every child to operate the games.

The teacher resources are good; they include hints on how to get the most from the games, printables, extension activities to do away from the computer and helpful references to the NNS.

However there is one glaring omission - there is no help for the pupil on any of the activities so many incorrect answers could be entered before the pupil stumbled on the correct response.

Childrens' activities include :-
Practise telling the time at three levels of difficulty. The hands of the clock move correctly, i.e. the minute hand revolves in 'sync' with the hour hand, and this will help with appreciation of the passage of time.

Fraction bubbles worked well and the collected shapes could be viewed at the end for discussion.
The beach activity scoring goals when calculation was correct would certainly hold the attention of the pupil as would the second activity of steering a submarine through the correct answers to simple calculations. Personally I was unable to steer the submarine through the correct shell but that may be a function of age or lack of practice.

The number machine was less attractive. The child was asked, "Can you make the machine work?" when in fact the machine worked continuously and the answering of the calculations was a completely separate activity in a text box below the whirling machine.

The game to sort numbers by factors checked when a number was put in the correct set-ring and removed it if incorrect. At the end when only non-factor numbers were left there was no end statement and the pupil would only realise when having tried to drag the remaining numbers a few times that "quit" was the only way to get out.

These activities would be so much more valuable with some HELP.

The CDs cost from 39.99 for a single user licence. They can be ordered by phone 0207 659 5458
or via the website http://www.sparkisland.com

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