CDTitle: Mad About Science - Life (Disc 2)

Software Title : Mad About Science Disc 2 - Life
Publisher : Dorling Kindersley
Year of publication: 1998
PC Minimum system requirements: Win 3.1/95/98 on 486 33MHz
Age Group : 7 -11

Contents of CD Rom

Section 1 - Humans

1. Your brain , muscles and skeleton
2. Your skeleton
3. Moving your bones
4. Healthy teeth
5. Eating different foods
6. Whats in food
7. Your heart, lungs and stomach
8. Moving your bones

 

Section 2 - Animals

9. A world of animals
10. Wings, legs or fins
11. Whats the key
12. How animals grow
13. Biting, gripping and grinding
14. What is a mammal
15. What is a fish
16. What is a bird
17. What is a reptile
18. What is an amphibian
19. What is an insect
20. Does it have a backbone


Section 3
- Plants

21. A world of plants
22. The parts of a plant
23. What a plant needs
24. Where do plants grow best
25. Plants with flowers
26. Fruit and vegetables
27. Making new plants

 

Section 4 - Environments

28. Where is your habitat
29. Hiding away
30. Comparing habitats
31. Who eats what
32. Food webs

 

Content:

The content is accurate, reliable and up to date. It is culturally, gender and racially balanced. The language and product style is appropriate for 7 to 11 year olds. There are multiple levels of difficulty and challenge incorporated into the program. The activities in each chapter start with a simple introduction and progress to more difficult concepts. The disk includes several useful reference resources. You can find:
A simple introduction to each topic on the book pages
Topic notes for each activity in the activities section
More detailed teaching notes in the teaching section

The disk also includes several resources and ideas for further activities. The options section on the disk gives the user control over the rate of delivery and level of difficulty

Using this product in a classroom setting

This program is probably best used initially in a whole class teaching session involving individual children operating the mouse. Each main activity starts with an introduction to the main science ideas behind the activity. In a whole class setting, it works well having it read by the class, by groups and by individuals while one child follows the text with the mouse pointer. Every activity also has a question and answer session with a 'host' Rosie which encourages the child to observe carefully and draw conclusions from the activity. The children particularly enjoy this if it is presented as a group competition.

In each full game, there are 2 further activities; - a science vocabulary game called 'Word Attack', and a reinforcement game called 'Catch the Crow'. Both games focus on the information already covered and are excellent for testing and reinforcing what the children have learned. These 2 games are suitable for giving opportunities for individual children to operate the mouse. Useful ideas for extension work are given in the help section for teachers.

As a follow up to the whole class session, this CD could be used as a revision tool with individuals/pairs as it is easily used with only minimum help from the teacher. This program certainly contributes to the learning scenario in ways that other non-computer resources cannot do as well. There is instant feedback to answers and correct answers are met with praise from the host. The child is encouraged to keep working and gets a great sense of achievement as each correct answer is recorded with a discovery star on the programs book page. At the end of every full game, the child receives a certificate which shows how many stars have been won. The child can also earn real experiments to print out and try.

I used this program as an introduction or as a follow up to topics in the children's science and nature book (Look Around 2nd class).


This CD would be very useful for use with special needs pupils for several reasons.

Difficulty level:

If the child finds the activities too hard then he/she may change the speed of timed games and the way the mouse pointer works by using the options help section. This would be particularly useful for the physically challenged child

The work is well graded. Each activity starts with a simple introduction and progresses to more advanced science work

If you set the 'Let Rosie choose' option , Rosie will select 3 easier topics that the child has not seen. Once the child has seen most of the topics, Rosie will select the easier topics that the child needs to practice.

The software is designed to tap a variety of learning modes e.g. visual, aural and linguistic

This CD is an excellent teaching resource. The only potential weakness is that the games cannot be repeated without leaving the treehouse and going through the introduction section of the activity again. Because of the time involved, very often the children don't get the opportunity to compete against each other in the games.

Summary

This program teaches 32 life science topics from the science curriculum. The 32 main activities include experiments, demonstrations, sorting exercises and charts and diagrams for the pupil to complete. A standard full game includes 3 main activities each with question and answer session and 2 reinforcement games. In a whole class setting, one main activity followed by the question and answer session, and 2 reinforcement games takes about 30 minutes. It is a good idea to follow this with a discussion session "Brainstorming" for main ideas which can then be noted in a topic web for a follow up writing up session.

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