Editor's Note: A viable solution for school districts and teachers who want math software that matches their math curriculum and is easy to use is to purchase one of the comprehensive packages that were released this year. Both the Mighty Math Series (Edmark) and MathKeys (MECC) address the "How & Why" of math through activities in academic skills and thinking skills and also provide practice in computation skills. All of the titles in the series follow the same format so that once students become familiar with the format in the early grades, they will be comfortable using the later programs.


by Gerald Quinn

SUBJECT AREA: Math: Problem Solving, Number Lines, Counting Money and Making Change, Addition and Subtraction, Word Problems (+,-, x, ÷), Counting Forward and Backward by 2's, 5's, and 10's, Spatial Awareness


COST: $59.95 School Version


NOTABLE HARDWARE REQUIREMENTS: IBM: Windows 3.1 or Windows 95, 486/Pentium/33MHz or better, 8 MB RAM, 2x CD-ROM drive. Mac: System 7.0.1 or higher, 8MB RAM recommended, 2x CD-ROM drive

SPECIAL FEATURES: TouchWindow compatible; three activities have built-in scanning for single-switch users.

DESCRIPTION: Students visit a friendly, animated zoo that's full of math fun and discovery. The Otter Twins, Ryan the Lion, and other playful animals guide students on a numerical adventure of five activities:

1. Number Line Express - Students play train engineer and help their animal friends reach stops throughout the zoo by correctly locating numbers on the number line. Add numbers to move forward, subtract to go back, etc.

2. Jungle Trail - Students practice basic math skills. As they solve problems such as addition, subtraction, and rounding, students get to spin the spinner to move along the trail where they encounter surprises.

3. Fish Stories - Students move fish in and out of tanks to practice addition, subtraction, early multiplication, and division. As students manipulate fish or numerals, the results are reflected on the screen in pictures, spoken words, written words, numbers, and mathematical equations simultaneously. Fish Stories challenges students to create pictures to match the words and to create mathematical equations to match the pictures.

4. Gnu Ewe Boutique - Students learn about money by helping Allison, the shop owner, assist zoo animals create new wardrobes. As students progress they help animals make purchases and determine the correct change. This activity gives students the opportunity to work with money in a meaningful way. They learn such important concepts as "larger coins are not necessarily worth more" and that the same amount of money can be shown with different combinations of coins.

5. 3D Gallery - Students sharpen spatial skills and build math vocabulary as they learn to identify 3D geometric solids. An enhancement is the use of everyday objects such as balls, cans, and boxes. As students explore the shapes they begin to learn their properties such as the number of sides.

STRENGTHS: Zoo Zillions is a fun learning experience that combines captivating graphics, animated characters and sound. The educational strategies are sound, yet remain transparent to the learner. The activities have both Explore and Question and Answer Modes. Students can either experiment within an activity or answer questions posed by the Mighty Math characters.

Edmark's Grow Slides are a particularly nice feature. The skill level can be preset for a student within each activity, or as students successfully answer questions, the difficulty level automatically increases.

SUMMARY: Zoo Zillions is one of EdmarkÕs six comprehensive math titles for grades K to 10. This program specifically addresses skills for grades K-2. In this and the other 5 titles, Edmark uses what they call Virtual Manipulatives that allow students to use the computer to make the connection between concrete and abstract mathematics. In Zoo Zillions, for example, as students solve an equation by placing fish in a tank, they see the equation on the screen and hear the written equation. Thus, students learn the basics and understand the concepts behind the facts through problem solving.


Carnival Countdown (K-2): one-two digit "+" and "-", 2D geometry, patterns, number symbols, early "x" and "÷."

Number Heroes (3-6): fractions, 2D geometry, probability, shape and number patterns, +,-,x,÷, and decimals.

Calculating Crew (3-6): "x" and "÷" of whole numbers and decimals, number lines, 2D and 3D shapes, money transactions.

Cosmic Geometry (7-10): shapes, solids, constructions, transformations, 2D and 3D coordinates, length, perimeter, area, volume.

Astro Algebra (7-9): variables, expressions, equations and inequalities, functions and graphing, ratios and proportions, fractions, decimals, and percents.

Gerald Quinn is a graduate student in the Department of Special Education at The College of New Jersey.

Back to index...


Click here for copyright info.