Learning Village Reviews > Educational Software >Science> Science Matrix


Educational: 5.0
Overall Design: 4.5
Ease of Use: 4.5

(4.0 = good, 4.5 = very
good, 5.0 = excellent)

Cell Structure & Function

Publisher:  Digital Frog International

Learning Areas: Plant, animal, and prokaryotic cell types and the 20 substructure component parts of cells. Cell composition and an understanding of the varied nature of different cell types.

Age Range: 13 -16  Grades: 8 & 11

Minimum Reqs: Windows Pentium II or Mac G3. Delivered on line after initial download. ScienceMatrix is currently in pre release and is available free during this period. Click here

Program Description    What The Kids Said    Who Is This Program For
Why We Selected This Program
   Computer Requirements

Digital Frog's ScienceMatrix is a comprehensive information and interactive learning resource that explores prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell structure and function.

This program is designed primarily for students who are involved in learning the nature of cell structure and function in Grades 8 and 11, in their biology stream. (It is being used from grade 6 and up as well, where appropriate)

When used as a self directed program,
ScienceMatrix assumes that the student is already well immersed in the topic area, has a fundamental understanding of cell structure and function, and is now looking for ways to deepen their understanding and test themselves on their exisiting knowledge in a variety of interactive activities and knowledge Q & As.

From the main menu, students can access one of five areas: Build a Cell (constructing different cell models), Cell Structures (information on organelles and other structures), Linking Structure and Function (matching organelles to their job), Cell Specialization (analyzing data and relating it to specific cells) and Comparing Cell Types. Quizzes help students to test their understanding of the material as they proceed.

In Building A Cell, the student is presented with the three basic cell types - Prokaryote, Animal, and Plant - and is asked to identify the specific elements comprised in each of the cell types. As you chose the specific elements, you submit your responses and find out what you have correctly identified (or not) as you go. There is also lots of specific information available around each of the elements, so you can deepen your understanding of the various component parts of the cell.

In Cell Structures, there is information on 22 different cell structures accompanied by rich graphics and diagrams covering function, location, and their overall role in the functioning of the human body. Again, there is an exercise that has you constructing cell component parts to ensure that the learner understands the various elements, and how they appear in the different cells types.

Throughout the various learning modules, there are slide shows that provide detailed graphic representation of all the elements of the cell, how each component part appears under a microscope, and how the specific parts appear in the larger cell structure.

Click Images To Enlarge

Home Page & Major Learning Modules

Introduction to cell membrane

Detailed graphics and sub elements of cell membrane

Learning cell structures through interactive exercise called "Build A Cell"

"I think this is a very good program in that it has a lot of good graphics and the user can interact with the program through quizzes and other activities like cell building. I also like how it defines all the words used in the program. One thing they can add to this program is some animations such as endocytosis and exocytosis so the user can get a better understanding of how they work."

William C. (Crescent School)

"The program is great and has lots of information on the cell structure and it's organelles. It would be beneficial in cases for studying the cell structure and has many different activities that allow the user to develop a better understanding, rather than straight text. There is no real further need for development in the program. I hope that the company has more programs for other areas in the biology field.

Harrison F. (Crescent School)

From the brief look I had at this program, I would have to say that I'm very impressed. The program is very aesthetically pleasing, and it is relatively easy to navigate. I liked the fact that there were defintions for each term. These definitions were easy to understand too. I could see this program being used as an excellent study tool for biology students. I really enjoyed the "quiz" option. This option gives the student great questions, and I found that I answered questions correctly that I hadn't known before I started playing. I really did learn something from this program. Overall, I am very impressed.

Ryan B. (Crescent School)

I would give the program a 9/10. I especially liked the detail in describing the cell structures and their functions. I would recommend it for class use and for home use (i.e., study purposes). It took me a while to get a feel for the program but once I got the hang of how things worked I thoroughly enjoyed exploring and doing the activities. I also thought the quiz was a good idea, in terms of testing the user's knowledge. Overall I thought the program was very educational and useful for reinforcing my knowledge about cells.

David M. (Crescent School)

ScienceMatrix is designed for the classroom environment as a supporting learning tool to in class instruction. Cell structure is taught with increasing levels of knowledge in Grades 8, and then again in grade 11. We have also heard that teachers in grades 6 & 7, as well, have used the program as a teaching tool. ScienceMatrix's first module Cell Structure and Function is designed for the student who has a fundamental grasp of this area, and is looking for an engaging way to really deepen his or her knowledge of this area of biology. With the extensive high quality graphics and interactive exercises, Science Matrix can also be used as an in-class instructional tool.

ScienceMatrix - Cell Structure and Function takes on a fundamental area of biology and finds engaging ways, through interactive learning modules, to help students grasp Cell Biology concepts. The graphics are very good, the text is clear, and the program is straightforward to navigate. There is a good deal of opportunity for students to critically think as opposed to being fed the material. The information is sound and the whole package has a very professional look.

My students enjoyed trying out ScienceMatrix. We felt it could be used in the classroom as part of a teacher-directed lesson but would be most useful when used on an individual basis. It could be used to introduce the topic or as a review. It is ideally suited to grade 11 Biology but would also work at the grade 8 or 9 level too.
The information on cell organelles is quite detailed covering the topic in more depth than many grade 11 texts. The various interactive activities provide reinforcement around the central theme.

- Stuart Cumner - Head of Science and Biology at Crescent School, Toronto, Canada

Editor's Note: ScienceMatrix's Cell Structure and Function was named one of the world's forty best multimedia products by the United Nation's World Summit Award Grand Jury in Febuary 2004.The jury lauded the program for its multiple strengths—with one jury member noting that the program could have easily won in any of three categories: eEducation, eScience or eInclusion.

“Often students are turned off a career in the sciences because they find the materials in school difficult to understand or boring. ScienceMatrix presents difficult to understand concepts in a captivating and engaging way,” the jury evaluation stated. “Interactivity sets this project apart. The outstanding visual elements easily draw the user into active participation in all processes and bring out inquisitiveness in the search for the unknown.”


  Windows Pentium II (500 MHz), 64 MB RAM, Windows 98 or later, SAPI 4 or 5 (for text-to-speech) Macintosh: Macintosh G3, Mac OS 9.1 or later, or OS X 10.2 or later
Internet Connection: 128 kps or faster. Sciencematrix is delivered on line after initial download (no computer platform constraints) . Sciencematrix is currently in pre release and is available free during this period.
Click here

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