Educational: 4.5
Overall Design: 4.8
Ease of Use: 4.6
(4.0 = good, 4.5 = very good, 5.0 = excellent)

Program Description Commentary Who Is This Program For
Why We Selected This Program Computer Requirements


The Carmen Sandiego series are spy adventure programs. Carmen devises an evil plot and you are challenged to stop her. In Math Detective, she shrinks many of the world's famous sites such as the Great Wall of China, Grand Canyon, Mount Everest and Ayers Rock. Your challenge is to restore these famous places to their rightful size, deactivate her nefarious Quantum Crystalizer machine (see middle right) and bring an end to her nasty plan.
As a secret agent you travel to 12 different enemy hideouts scouting around for clues. Each hideout conceals one of the 12 shrunken landmarks. A "high tech" math machine (see bottom right) appears each time you discover a clue in the hideout you are in. Each time you solve the math questions you are given a password. When you get two passwords from a hideout you can get the crystal that contains one of the sites that Carmen has shrunk. Then you are off to the next hideout to get the next set of clues.
You can choose from 3 levels of difficulty to find the best match for your skill level. There are 5 different high tech math machines within the program each designed to challenge you with different types of math problems . The 5 math machines have thousands of exercises and over 400 word based math problems, which allow the user to practice and build their core math and geometry skills.
The program meaningfully challenges kids from the ages of 8 to 14 because it has 3 completely different operating levels of difficulty in all the math skill activity areas. You choose the appropriate level for your child or student. Many of the exercises require the user to do the math calculations in one's head. A practice area will show you 34 different strategies helpful in completing the exercises. There is also a page that tracks very specific performance information on each player.
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Carmen at her headquarters
What she did to the Roman coliseum
Determining angles on a math machine



"They wouldn't put it down. I couldn't get them to bed."  Dad with two kids 9 and 12
"Loved trying to get the clue before the thief came back to the hideout." Peter, age 10
" I don't really like math much but I really liked playing this game." Catherine, age 11
This program as with all Carmen Sandiego programs, will attract the child who loves mystery, intrigue and most importantly a challenge of being able to conquer (not unlike Nintendo). This program is wellsuited for the child who is determined, who enjoys math and who likes to have a competitive challenge. This program is principally designed to reinforce existing skills, as well as build your speed and accuracy of doing math in one's head.
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Some programs are high on entertainment and less on learning. This program is extremely thorough on the learning front and has an engaging story line and a challenging mission. Many of the kids played it right to the end and would not put it down.
Carmen Sandiego Math Detective offers depth in problem solving exercises, good supplementary resources in the form of a math glossary, a practice mode and also a strategy guide on how to solve different types of math problems. What very uniquely stands out in this program is the strategy guide. You will actually learn ways to do some of the math challenges that you are presented with. There were some techniques to mentally solving different types of math calculations that I had never encountered ("old dog  new tricks"). These math strategies are a valuable supplement to what they learn in class.
We encourage any user of this program to start off with the practice mode and access the strategy guide. It not only allows you to perform better in the game but also shows you some very neat ways for doing math in your head.
If you are a parent or a teacher who wants to know how well a child is doing the progress tracker provides very detailed information on the child's performance by skill area. This is a very useful measurement tool if you are using the program in a school or as a parent, wanting to know exactly where your child is strong, or not. Carmen has won lots of awards and with good reason. This is an excellent program for those who like a challenge
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Platform: PowerMac™ :, RAM : 16MB, Hard Drive: 20MB, Video : 256 colour or better, CDROM: 4X or better, Other: Requires a 100 Mhz PowerPC or better
Platform: Windows® 3.1,: CPU : 486/66Mhz or better, RAM : 8MB, Hard Drive: 80MB, Video : 256 colour or better, CDROM: 2X or better, Sound : Windows compliant sound device Mouse :
Platform: Windows® 95/98 CPU : 486/66Mhz or better, RAM : 16MB, Hard Drive: 80MB, Video : Super VGA (640x480x256 colour), CDROM: 4X or better, Sound : Windows compliant sound device
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or to see other math programs
Disney Ready For Math with Pooh  ages 36
On Track Math Series  ages 3 9
Reader Rabbit's Math  ages 69
Math Workshop Deluxe  ages 612
Mia  Just In Time  ages 8  12
Neufeld  Understanding Math  ages 1016
MathTrek Grades 7 & 8  ages 1214



