Math Rider Review

My kids LOVE games, and I’m always excited to see a new educational game that will have them working on skills that are not so popular during schoolwork.  I recently had the privilege of sampling Math Rider – the new computer game that helps kids master math facts.

Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division – those are the building blocks of mathematical operations and concepts.  We aren’t really the “drill and kill” kind of family, so any excuse to have fun with math is good to us!

From the Website…

Your child is taken into a land of fantasy and quests. Living in the Land of Ray and riding a horse called Shadow, he or she will set out on various noble adventures. Riding across amazing, digitally matte-painted moving backdrops of distinct fantastic lands, they will accomplish their quest, be it finding magical flowers, returning gems to the elves or even rescuing a princess!

The graphics are good quality, with a story text at the bottom of the screen to set the scene.  The narrator speaks very slowly, which may be good for emerging readers following the text, but was annoying for older kids.  The speaker is easily turned off with a click, allowing the very pleasant background music to play.

The horse and rider gallop along the bottom of the screen as various hurdles appear.  A math equation must be solved to jump the hurdles.  Riders get extra bonus points for faster solving times, and each level completes another section of the quest (documented on a nifty map of the kingdom).  You can set the difficulty levels from easy to hard, and choose which area of math facts you’d like to practice.  While tons more fun than a sheet of math problems, it is still computation practice.  There are many online games that do similar jobs, but for a family that has multiple children, limited internet access, or wants to keep individualized records of progress, Math Rider can be a nice supplement to any math curriculum.

This is an ideal tool for daily math practice, and my students enjoyed using it during waiting periods between subjects, or as a warm-up for the day.
Math Rider uses the Adobe® AIR™ runtime, so the game operates on Windows and Mac. The Math Rider website has download links for both of these applications, and it took me less than 4 minutes to be up and playing.

Just a few of the highlights of Math Rider:

  • Leveled practice in mathematical operations
  • Choose from addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division
  • Complete “quests”, follow a story, and earn bonus points and rewards
  • Free 7-day trial
  • Complete program is $47.00 (includes free updates for life)
  • Up to 8 players are allowed, and each player can have their own login and “personal rider”
  • Requires 80MB of  hard disk space.
  • Requires a screen resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels.

You can read more experiences right HERE,at, and in the words of Reading Rainbow’s Levar Burton, “Don’t just take my word for it!”  Read these other great reviews by parent educators like me!


Why I Hate JANO…

We’re halfway through JANO 2012 – January Novel Writing Month (based on the well-known, but unfortunately timed NANO, or NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month in November).

I started this month with high hopes of writing massive amounts of words on my chosen book project, 50,000 words being the ultimate goal.  However, the experience of JANO has taught me a few things…

1)  The creators of JANO have mistakenly placed the event during an actual month on my calendar, rather than a fictional, faraway time of year that I can continue to schedule my writing for.

2)  The desire to add words to my daily count has an inverse relationship to my desire to wash dishes, fold laundry, cook meals, and do the work I actually get paid for.  This has had a negative effect on my ability to have guests in my home or receive a full paycheck.

3)  Participation in JANO requires specialized equipment.  Since the average person “thinks” approximately 15,000 words per day, I could complete my novel in less than four days if I only had a mind transcription machine.

4) Write-In events are far too restrictive. There is insufficient time scheduled for writing after catching up with friends, exchanging gossip, reading everyone else’s work to date, sipping a grande chai tea latte, and speculating on the circumference of construction workers’ biceps across the street.

5)  While JANO champions tout the “inspiration” that concentrated writing brings, I feel there needs to be an addendum to that sentiment.  Although I have been inspired to write blog posts, send messages to friends, plot three new novels, start a book discussion group, sign up for an Analysis of English literature course, and re-read “Elements of Style”, I have NOT been inspired to finish this @!*&% book!

6) The contests are elitest and unfair.  Requiring participants to produce a “first line”, “first page”, and “final count” makes the competition accessible only to those who start or finish a project.  There is no category for those who procrastinate, speculate, or marinate on an idea.

7)  No health risks were posted upon sign-up.  I have developed left-eye-muscle strain from continual glances at the corner of my screen to ascertain word count, and no warnings were given regarding possible hair loss, nail biting, or eye gouging.

8)  There is no exit program or halfway house in place for the end of the event.  How am I expected to continue in the months to come without daily updates from the competition and the lure of gift baskets and goodie bags?

9)  Information sharing leads to genre confusion.  After hearing other writers’ ideas and plot summaries, I am no longer content with my chosen category of writing, and feel an uncontrollable urge to pen a gothic-sci-fi-romance-steampunk-children’s poem about the apocalypse.

10)  None of my writing about writing goes towards my word count – including this 453-word post!

That being said, let’s carry on.  There are words to be written, and I need to get busy planning for next year’s JANO event!