Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



FLY through Algebra for FLY Pentop Computer

FLY through Algebra for FLY Pentop Computer

Fall 2006 Software
Ages: 12 - 14 yrs.
Price: $34.99
Platform: FLY Pentop Computer
Review:
Wow! If only I'd had a dynamite handheld pentop computer loaded with this program when Mr. Darnell was torturing me with all that algebra gooblygook back in the day!

Imagine being an algebra beginner stuck on an equation like 3x² x 22 x +117 = 35x. Say what? But thanks to the FLY Pentop Computer and the education-minded folks at LeapFrog, algebra no longer has to be the problem it once was. Just snap the Fly Through Algebra Flyware cartridge onto the back end of the FLY Pentop Computer and you've got an automated algebra coach checking each step of your homework.

Keep in mind that this is not a game. And it's not a full-blown pedantic lesson in how to do algebra. Instead, this computerized pen simply assists students who use it in solving algebra problems they've been assigned in school. Remember the talking car in the TV series "Knight Rider"? Well, this is sort of the talking-pen equivalent for tackling troublesome algebra equations.

Write the equation to be solved on the special FLY paper using the FLY Pentop Computer. As you do, the pen actually reads the problem out loud. If there's something wrong with how you've scribbled it, it says so. And it prompts you on how to take the next step toward solving the problem. Don't know the next step? Tap the pen on the “help” icon for a hint, such as “simplify the problem” or “isolate the variable on one side of the equation.” Tap “help” again and the talking pen clarifies further.

From single variable equations, inequalities and quadratic equations to proportions, linear equations and graphing, this FLY program coaches students without doing their homework for them. Included with the software is an interactive glossary of more than 75 algebra terms and concepts along with explanations—just tap the pen on a term such as “monomial” or “axiom,” and get an audio explanation. Also included is a 50-page packet of specially-designed interactive graph paper that provides assistance in plotting points and lines, finding slopes and intercepts, that sort of thing.

Is it fun? Not really. But by late elementary school and middle school, kids are getting tech savvy. So while this program isn't designed to be a load of laughs, it uses fascinating technology to help kids get their algebra homework done—and done correctly.

NOTE: Requires a FLY Pentop computer.

Don Oldenburg   ©2006 Parents' Choice
A former writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is a freelance writer, editorial consultant and coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The father of three sons, he lives with them and wife, Ann, a writer at USA Today, in McLean, VA.

Look for this product at:
LeapFrog Enterprises
http://www.leapfrog.com
Major, Specialty & Online Retailers
Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000FGCY2G/parentschoice-20

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