## Cyberchase Games

This page give a brief description of each Cyberchase Game (from http://pbskids.org/cyberchase/games.html) and my evaluation. My purpose is to answer the following questions:

• is the game any good?
• would I use these programs during math or computer time?
• what is the purpose of the game?
• what is the general grade level of game?

Three lists follow: (1) Games for Math Classroom Use, (2) Games I'd Use for Fun, but not during class time, (3) Games I Probably Would Not Use.

### Games for Math Classroom Use (roughly ordered by grade level from kindergarten up)

Pattern Player - patterns of sounds and colors on the screen. No particular goal to achieve. Good. K-2.

Poddle Weigh In - Concept of a balance scale. Adding. Easy problem solving. Less than, greater than, equal, unequal. Grade 1-2. Pretty good.

Tangram Game - Online tangrams. Some of the other Tangram representations on the web may be better (e.g. at fwend.com). Good.

Send in the Trolls - Sequencing. Concept of median (middle height). Fair. A lot of talking/sound. Grade 2.

Stop That Creature - easy functions. One operation (+ - * /). Third grade.

Point of View - 3D visualization. Fourth grade and higher. Very Good.

Jellybean Jostle - Estimation by sampling activity. Requires printouts and cutting with scissors. Not rated, because I don't know how well it would work with students. Not an interactive applet.

Star Gazing - Angle of rotation (0° to 180°). On the third level it does not show the angles on the protractor. Pretty good. Grades 4-7.

13 Ways of Looking at a Half - geometric, "half," and combinatorial reasoning (counting). Middle school. Good.

Cyberspaceship Builder - geometric reasoning. Building various shapes from horizontal and vertical sticks. Very Good.

Pour the Score - Liquid pouring problem solving. Very good.

Cyberchase Squares - logic. Find the counter-example. Very good.

Logic Zoo - Venn diagram with two intersecting sets. Fair to good.

2D and 3D Morphing - Nets for pyramid, cube, and octahedron. Note: Print out, cut out, fold, and glue/tape. Fair to Good.

Disguise Combos - Make disguises. Combinatorial reasoning. Combinations model of multiplication. Good.

Crack Hacker's Safe - Patterns. Excellent representation and concept, but there are only three problems, so it rates a Good. Grades 2-5.

Pattern Quest - This is like MasterMind. There is an easy version and a hard version. I liked the easy version (very good). The hard version is different ("real" MasterMind), but the visual similarities to the easy version I think could make it confusing. I'd use the easy version with kids as a warm-up and then go to another site for full-blown MasterMind. Grade 5-8

Wacky Ruler - Problem solving and measurement. The ruler is 8 units long. Note: This one is done on paper and you have to cut our the wacky ruler with scissors. Grades 3-6. Quite Good.

Space Coupe - Use positive and negative numbers to move the ship up and down, respectively. Fair.

Crossing the River - Classic river crossing problem. Good.

Make a Match - Equivalent fractions, including shaded regions. Has six levels! Grades 4-8. Excellent.

Estimation Contraption - Estimating sums. Mainly uses the rounding strategy. Good.

Jigsaw Puzzle - Need to make pieces bigger (magnify) or smaller (fraction of the original). Concept of multiply by a number or fraction. Quite good. Top level is tough.

Number Sense - Find a number thats bigger than Hacker's number. Understanding place value. Fair. Grades K-1.

Mission Magnetite - Percent, fraction, and fraction model equivalence. Practice. Middle school. Fair.

Disguise Combos - Count the number of combinations. Helps understanding of the Fundamental Counting Principle. Pretty good. Grades 1-4.

Where is Digit Game (Lost in the Northern Frontier) - Use the power of circles to find Digit the Bird. Mathematically, this does require advance explanation. Follow the easy-to-understand, on-screen directions. Middle school, junior high. Very good.

This demonstrates how an unknown location can be found using known distances from three points. This process is called triangulation. Triangulationcan is used in surveying, building construction, GPS (Global Positioning System), navigation, astronomy, binocular vision, and the military. Triangulation is sometimes used in cellular communications to pinpoint the geographic position of a user (e.g., when someone calls 911 but does not know where they are)

Sleuths on the Loose - Use Proportional Reasoning to find sizes of objects. Middle school, junior high. Very good.

### Games I'd Use for Fun, but not during class time

Invertor's Workshop - This is quite different from many of the other games on Cyberchase. Student uses logic to invent machines that will carry out tasks. Multiple levels. You do need to establish a passwork (fairly painless) to play this. Grades 4-8.

Quest - This one is also quite different from many of the other games on Cyberchase. Student has a character in an environment in which they are trying to complete a task. Thred games. This takes a long time to solve. Uses problem solving and logic, but not much math. Grades 4-6. I'd use it for indoor recess, but wouldn't take math time for it.

Bugs in the System - sorting and graphing. Do have to adjust the graph scale. There are graph interpretation questions (which require reading). Fair.

Bike Route - Help Inez find the shortest route from home to the library. There is only one level and then you are done. Fair.

Symmetrizer - I love symmetry, but this doesn't have a goal to achieve, so the question is "what is the point of the game?" It is good for fun exploration.

Crack the Code - This was hard for me. I did solve it after reading all the clues.

Eye of Rom - Mazes. Questionable.

Virus Hunt - Video Game (use arrows to solve a problem). Does use N-S-E-W on compass.

### Games I Probably Would Not Use

Double the Donuts - Double 20 times. Exponential growth. Just average quality. The fact that the donuts get smaller in the pictures, takes away from the concept that is being taught.

Can you Fill It? - Too much random guess and check without a strategy. (Good basic concept, but poorly represented.)

Maze and Marbles - Just a video game.

Vortex! - (just) visual perception.

Number Machine - Directions are too wordy. (Good basic concept, but poorly represented.)

Bike Route - Basic concept of finding a "traveling salesman-type" route is very good. However, there are two problems. It was unclear if the errand had to be done in order or not (you don't have to do them in order). The bigger problem is that there is only one puzzle. The time it takes to learn the rules and how to play is not worth it because you can only play once.

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James R. Olsen, Western Illinois University
E-mail: jr-olsen@wiu.edu
Page last updated: February 23, 2007