The Gazette's staff is pleased to select software and/or websites for review from among winners of our awards.

PLATO Straight Curve Mathematics
[PLATO Learning (952) 832-1000; Grades 3-5]

          PLATO's subscription-based courses on the web consistently offer outstanding graphics, content and design. Lessons are interactive and easy to use, and are vastly enhanced by state-of-the-art multimedia technology.
     Straight Curve Mathematics provides an invaluable supplement to any existing math curriculum and emphasizes those areas that NCTM identifies as the most difficult: Decimals, fractions, measurement, probability and problem solving. While learning important concepts, students have fun with activities such as Minilesson, Investigation, Workshop, Game and Quiz, and 'Mentors' are available to offer hints.
     Teacher support materials are abundant, and include lesson plans, objectives, State standards, tests and more.

Science Bulletins (Grades 6/up)
[American Museum of Natural History (212) 496-3553]

     Science Bulletins is a free Internet resource designed to educate the public, with cutting-edge science information targeting Astrophysics, Earth Sciences and Biodiversity. The multi-faceted website uses links to Astro, Earth and Bio to feature ongoing research and discoveries.
     Some of the highlights (at the time of this review) include "Explore the Natural World," "The Contents of Comets," "Congo River," and "Cosmic Collisions," and there is a
Science Bulletins Educators' Guide available on each story's home page.
     The graphics used on the website are compelling--Data Visualizations offer animations which simulate large-scale natural phenomena; Weekly Updates or Snapshots are annotated images taken by satellites, space probes and observatories.
     Science Bulletins is designed to communicate the process of science, promote science literacy, and raise awareness of science as a career. Science teachers are encourged to augment their curriculum with this exciting resource.

Academy of Math 5.1
[Autoskill International (800) 288-6754; Grades 4-8]

     Academy of Math uses stunning graphics and multimedia to motivate children to learn. It is designed as a supplement to existing curriculum, and focuses on literacy intervention, i.e., developing mathematical proficiency in struggling students. Building foundation skills in at least 8 areas that align to NCTM standards, the program allows a wide range of students with varying skills to advance at their own pace.
     The three steps to proficiency are: (1) Prescribe - An automated placement test which provides a snapshot of each student's math skills relative to their grade, and prescribes an individualized training program. (2) Monitor - For each skill area and level, Academy of Math's management system monitors and identifies common errors, areas of weakness and total time on task, generating reports to educators and administrators. (3) Intervene - The program uses monitoring information to dynamically modify training as required for each student.
     Children will have fun with the interface, as cartoon characters explain sequential lessons and help them navigate to their Locker, Trophy Case and Classroom. Positive reinforcement and rewards are abundant, and keep children motivated and engaged.

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