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

Trickomatics Multiplication & Problem Solving Program

Trickomatics Multiplication & Problem Solving Program

Spring 2012 Software
Ages: 7 - 11 yrs.
Price: $129.99
Platform: Windows

First things first: Trickomatics is not for kids who are just starting to learn their times tables. It is for those who have mastered them, and who want to use them to become mental math experts. What's most promising about Trickomatics is its underlying principle that anyone, even elementary school kids, can learn "tricks" to make complex multiplication problems easier. That kind of thinking is a good approach, and the skills developed in this program will be valuable later in the student's life (think SATs).

This mathematical problem-solving program teaches five basic elementary-level, multiplication-problem tricks, such as "the 5 trick" and "the 11 trick." The "11 trick" is to add together the two digits in the tens and ones places of the number that you're multiplying by 11, then insert the answer between those two digits, and voila! So, if you're multiplying 11 x 33, add 3 plus 3 to get 6, then insert the 6 between the threes in 33. Answer: 11 x 33 = 363.

The program comes with two discs. One is an animated story starring Trickomatics characters Moey, Joey, Shmoey and Chloe, who predictably head off on an adventure that involves all sorts of math and numbers everywhere. It gives a preview of the tricks that are practiced in the accompanying DVD. The animation style is hip, minimal, and charming. The pace of the movie is quick, and demonstrates real life situations where mental math prowess might come in handy. Consider the video an introduction rather than an instruction.

The instructional software disc offers 14 sections that teach the five tricks and provide nine series of problems. Though the math tricks may seem daunting at first, the exercises allow kids (and parents) to learn mental math by doing. If you stick with it, anyone versed in their times tables will get it, because the tricks aren't that complicated. Kids and parents can track their progress too, which adds to the fun.

Don Oldenburg   ©2012 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

Look for this product at:
TrickStar Innovations LLC

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