Math Rider is a downloadable math facts game that is aimed at children working at around a second grade level with a solid grasp of addition concepts and on up. The founder of the company reports that he came up with the idea of a math practice game when his own daughter was struggling in school. He points out that being comfortable with math facts in all 4 operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) is the solid foundation that is needed for higher level math. Math Rider is based on the principle of self retrieval, meaning that the student is self-testing and that the program adapts to their needs so that they practice retrieving the information that they are weakest on, leading to mastery.
The Math Rider program itself is a download, that includes free updates for life. Downloading the program and validating the registration key was very easy and straightforward on my Windows based system (Mac OS is supported as well). You then set up accounts for the child(ren) that will be using the program and up to 8 children are allowed on a single license.
Before each new quest begins you have two choices to make: which operation to practice and the level of difficulty. Each operation has 4 difficulty levels. Depending on your selections the story line changes and the rewards for completing a quest are different as well, hopefully providing your child an incentive to keep on playing and practicing their math facts. After the selections are made your child then sets out on their quest and is introduced to the story line which explains the “why” behind the quest. Following this short story your child begins their “ride” that consists of 30 math factsand is generally completed in less than 3 minutes time. After their ride is over they can see how many points they have earned in their quest (a time bonus may be given) and they can view a map that show how far they have ridden, how many points are still needed before the quest is finished, and their mastery level.
My daughter is currently working at about a second grade level and we began with easy addition and then moved on to easy subtraction. Each day I would have her do two or three runs on her quest. I found that if I asked her to do more than that then she would begin to make more mistakes than usual. When she was doing well (as with easy addition) then she loved the game and happily kept playing until she achieved 100% mastery. However, we just began easy subtraction and it is clear that she only has a little more than half of her math facts down. Now she is somewhat hesitant to play the game and I need to always encourage her and point out the incremental gains that she is making.
There are also several tools that the parent and the child can use to see what facts need to be worked on. Immediately after every run there is a bar graph showing in color-coded fashion which equations were correct, which were missed, and those that were not quickly answered. If you hover yois ur mouse over the bar then you can see what the equation was and by clicking on that bar the child is shown a pictorial representation (using colored spheres) of the equation. You can also pull up a grid (shown in the YouTube video below) that shows all of the math facts that your child has attempted. These facts are also color coded depending on how well your child has handled them and each operation displays the top 5 facts that are causing your child problems.
Overall,I believe that my daughter really enjoys this game and we plan to continue using it on a daily basis. The game is certainly more enjoyable then timing her with math fact drill sheets, and I have certainly seen her ability to recall addition facts improve tremendously in the few weeks that we have reviewed this program.