WHERE IN SPACE IS CARMEN SANDIEGO?
by Niki Marazzo
SUBJECT AREA: Science, with emphasis on Astronomy
INTENDED AUDIENCE: Ages 12 and up
REQUIRED HARDWARE: 8-bit color capability Mac monitor (256 colors or shades
of grey); color or grey-scale monitor; hard disk with 11 MB free space;
4 MB RAM with 2.5 MB available; 1.44 MB ("high-density") 3.5 floppy
disk drive; system 6.0.7 or higher. IBM version also available.
EDUCATIONAL GOALS: To familiarize students with the solar system, while
developing critical thinking and data collection skills.
DESCRIPTION: Following the engaging format of the Carmen Sandiego series,
Where in Space is Carmen Sandiego? takes students on a rocket ride to the
far reaches of the solar system. This time Carmen's colorful gang is made
up of alien beings. In place of the usual reference book, students have
access to an on-screen database which provides historical, scientific, and
mythological information on the planets, their moons, and other bodies in
our Solar System. The "VAL 9000" computer provides facts on constellations,
astronomers and astronauts, and information which is needed to successfully
STRENGTHS: This program provides an excellent format for group work, allowing
students of differing abilities to combine their strengths to capture alien
criminals. Aside from broadening their understanding of the solar system,
students also get a chance to enhance their knowledge of literature, history
and mythology. Students practice research skills when they use the on-screen
database which includes an easy to use "find" feature. The VAL
9000 computer is an in-depth encyclopedia which not only provides users
with textual information, but provides NASA photographs of many of the planets
and their satellites.
With names like "Kit Incaboodle" and "Morton U. Bargandfore,"
and physical characteristics such as scales, multiple limbs and/or eyes,
Carmen's gang members are not only slippery, but they are a clever, entertaining
addition to the series.
WEAKNESSES: Because the program involves a fair amount of reading, students
with visual impairments or learning disabilities may need adaptations such
as screen-reading programs.
SUMMARY: Where in Space is an entertaining and humorous program that will
keep students playing long after the lesson is over. It may even entice
many adults to try their hands at galactic detective work.
Niki Marazzo is a graduate student in the Department of Special Education
at Trenton State College.
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