Carmen Sandiego Adventures in Math: The Great Gateway Grab

(i)

 

Learning(i)

Short, fun game has kids practicing fractions and symmetry.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game makes math fun by challenging kids with problems that fit within the context of the adventure. It shows kids how math can be useful in real life situations.

Positive role models

Kids listen to and read dialogue from several helpful game characters, including ACME agents, subject matter experts, and civilians. The player's character, a male or female detective, focuses on chasing after his or her suspect and ensuring justice is served. Many different ethnicities are represented in the game.

Ease of play

All of the puzzles are suitable for the game's intended audience of middle-elementary school kids. Instructions are clear, and hints offer guidance rather than just giving answers away. The investigation, meanwhile, is linear and without any significant obstacles that could lead to kids getting stuck.

Violence
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

This game is a part of an educational media franchise that includes books, games, television series, and films.

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

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading comprehension

Math

  • arithmetic
  • geometry
  • sequences

Social Studies

  • cultural understanding
  • geography
  • history

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • deduction
  • investigation
  • making conclusions

Self-Direction

  • goal-setting
  • motivation

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

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.

Learning Approach

Players will get to practice their middle school math skills while exploring interesting cities, landmarks, and cultures around the world.

Support

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 kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading comprehension

Math

  • arithmetic
  • geometry
  • sequences

Social Studies

  • cultural understanding
  • geography
  • history

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • deduction
  • investigation
  • making conclusions

Self-Direction

  • goal-setting
  • motivation

Kids can learn about math and explore the world in this entertaining adventure game, which features number problems suitable for middle-school students. Players get to practice their skills recognizing numerical patterns, calculating weight, and carrying out basic mathematical operations ranging from addition and subtraction to multiplication and division. In addition to playing mini-games that use middle school math, kids also visit locations ranging from the United States to India and absorb a bit about local cultures and landmarks. Like all Carmen Sandiego products, this game delivers on being educational -- and fun. 

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

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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?

QUALITY

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.

Families can talk about...

  • 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?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo Wii
Price:$6.00
Available online?Not available online
Developer:The Learning Company
Release date:February 5, 2012
Genre:Edutainment
Topics:Adventures, Great boy role models, Great girl role models, History
ESRB rating:E for (No Descriptors)

This review of Carmen Sandiego Adventures in Math: The Great Gateway Grab was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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