Learning Village Reviews > Educational Software > Reading > Carmen Sandiego Word

Educational: 4.8
Overall Design: 4.5
Ease of Use: 4.0

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

Carmen Sandiego Word Detective

Publisher:  Broderbund

Learning Areas: Exercises and reinforces knowledge of spelling and spelling rules, punctuation, grammar rules involving sentence structure, punctuation, subject verb agreement, parts of speech, vocabulary (10,000 words), prefixes, suffixes, and using words in context.

Age Range: 8 - 14  Grades: 3 - 8

Minimum Reqs: Win 3.1, 95, 98, Me or Mac 9.1 & OS X (Classic mode) (see below for detail)
Pricing and Online Ordering
(or call toll free -1-800-250-9229 )

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

Carmen Sandiego Word Detective is a spy adventure. Carmen has invented a "Babble On" machine that can turn a well spoken person into a "babbling idiot". She has kidnapped twelve of your agents and put them into her "Babble On" machine . (See top right) Your job in this program, is to free all twelve agents in order to stop her grand plan to achieve world illiteracy.

As agent 13 you travel to the 12 enemy hideouts where you find clues hidden. (See second right) In order to get a clue, you have to answer a series of questions from one of the five "language machines" that present a range of language base exercises. Here are some of the "language machines you will work with.

In "Code Breaker" you have to find words hidden in the visual puzzle (see third right). This tests your ability to spot real words in the maze of letters as well as break down the puzzle in a way that there are no letters left on the screen when you have finished. A real thinkers puzzle that tests your vocabulary and observation skills.

In "Fusion Maker" you fuse the correct suffixes and prefixes to words and match the right word with a definition. (See bottom right) In "Micropix" you have to find the correct missing words in a story - an exercise in subject, verb and object identification.

Once you have successfully answered the questions and puzzles in the hideout you will then search and be able to find a key that you can take back to Carmen's hideout and free one of your agents. By freeing all 12 agents you will have won the game and defeated Carmen.

There is a training area where you can familiarize yourself with how the program works. If you leave the program your progress is saved so you can return again and pick up where you left off. The program has built in progress tracking that shows you how you performed on each skill area.

A note to teachers... the program can track the specific performance of 99 players across 40 specific language skills tested in the program. Carmen Sandiego Word Detective operates with 3 levels of challenge built into the program, providing a significant range of language arts skill level testing for children between 8 and 14 years of age.

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The "Babble-On" Machine

An Enemy Hideout

The "Code Breaker"

The "Fusion Maker"

"Really liked trying to break the word code puzzles. There were different ways you could find the solution" - Annabelle, age 11

" I really liked the word machines. There was always something happening. It is sort of hard to describe. Sort of high tech. I liked it." Jeremy, age 11

"I liked being able to choose where I wanted to go next and looking for the clues in the hideouts. You really had to look around to find them. " Henry, age 10

" This game has a real spooky feel to it. Neat " Jason, age 13

Carmen Sandiego Word Detective will engage the child who loves mystery, dark intrigue and the excitement of a competitive challenge. If you have a child who likes books like Clue Junior or mission type video games like Nintendo's Zelda, this is a good fit. For the child who may not have a high level of natural interest in developing their writing or language skills, this program can provide the motivational stimulus to get them practicing and developing their capabilities in the fundamentals of language literacy.

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For those who enjoy a good sleuthing experience and a good chase, the program's story line is very engaging. The questions and problems presented in the 5 high tech language machines provide practice covering an excellent range of basic and important skills in language arts.

The way in which the "high tech" language machines actually work is visually engaging with all the mechanical activity that occurs as you work the machine. From a learning point of view, we especially liked the Code Breaker exercise that works like a 3 dimensional crossword puzzle. It is a very well designed thinking challenge that very creatively exercises the user's spelling skills and tests their vocabulary knowledge. Across all the activities in the program, we also liked the way the challenge level increases, as you progress.

We also liked having a vocabulary dictionary built into the program as a readily accessible resource to help the user. The program has a practice mode, that allows the user to work on all the language skill exercises available within the program separately from the game, making it very usable for straight drill work that can be delivered in an engaging way.

From an engagement point of view, what the program does extremely well is provide a ton of language arts practice activity in a way that will hold the interest of many kids who like challenging mission activities. With twelve agents to find, this program has significant content both in terms of the duration of the pursuit as well as practice time in the various areas of language arts

Pricing and Online Ordering
(or call toll free -1-800-250-9229 )

Platform: Macintosh®, 9.1 & OS X (Classic mode), RAM : 6MB, Hard Drive: 20MB, Video : Super VGA (640x480x256color) CD-ROM: 2X or better,

Platform: Windows® 3.1, 95, 98, Me CPU : 486/66Mhz or better, RAM : 16MB, Hard Drive: 80MB, Video : Super VGA (640x480x256 colour) CD-ROM: 2X or better, Sound : Windows compliant sound device

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