Carmen Sandiego Adventures in Math: The Great Gateway Grab
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Carmen Sandiego Adventures in Math: The Great Gateway Grab is a short but fun educational game that will help kids practice math skills they're likely studying in school. Players will learn the basics about different kinds of angles, work on a couple of shape symmetry puzzles, and organize mixed decimals and fractions. They'll also learn a few essential facts about the landmarks and cultures of India, Brazil, and Greece, and eventually use logic to determine the identity of the game's villain. There is no offensive or contentious content.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- reading comprehension
- cultural understanding
Thinking & Reasoning
- making conclusions
Engagement, Approach, Support
The story has some interesting twists and turns, and the core mystery is compelling. The production values are pretty low, but Carmen fans probably won't mind.
Players will get to practice their middle school math skills while exploring interesting cities, landmarks, and cultures around the world.
Instructions precede each of the mini-games, but some of the narrative puzzles are a bit tricky to figure out. And with little in the way of external support, some kids are bound to be left frustrated.
What's it about?
Carmen Sandiego's crew of V.I.L.E. villains are at it again in CARMEN SANDIEGO ADVENTURES IN MATH: THE GREAT GATEWAY GRAB. One of her henchmen (or henchwomen) has masterminded the theft of the Gateway of India, a 100-year-old monument in Mumbai, and it's up to the player to find out who. Kids start by selecting a one of the game's stock detectives (there are a few men and women of different ethnicities from which to choose), then head to India to begin questioning people and looking for clues. They'll encounter and solve ten contextual math problems -- connecting wires, bypassing fingerprint readers, weighing pineapples -- as they collect information that will eventually allow them to identify the culprit. Expect the whole adventure to last about an hour. A practice mode lets kids go back and retry the math problems again and again, with different numeric values inserted each time.
Is it any good?
The Great Gateway Grab is a fine learning game for kids. Its math problems are well balanced, suitable for its target age group (middle-elementary school kids), and make sense within the context of the investigation. Plus, its story has some interesting twists and turns, not least of which is a dilemma concerning the containment of a solvent that can dissolve any container. (We'd still like to know whether the novel solution used in the game has any basis in reality!)
You get what you pay for -- the production values are decidedly low, and it's no longer than an after-school special -- but the educational value is good and the mystery is compelling. The math problems are fun, and kids can replay them over and over again.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about how we use math in everyday situations. Try getting kids to do simple calculations for you when it comes to calculating tax or a tip at a restaurant. Ask them whether they prefer using fractions or decimals, and why.
Families can also discuss foreign cultures. Do you want to visit any of the countries in this game? Which country would you most like to see? What is it about different places that interests you? The food? The people and customs? The climate? The sports?