(photo credit: Courtesy)
Mamlechet Hakefel (Multiplication Kingdom), a CD-ROM in Hebrew by Goldis, requires Windows 98 and above, for children aged five to 12, NIS 58 at Tower Records and other software shops.
Multiply children's math skills
There aren't many software games whose companies ask that they not be played on Shabbat or Jewish festivals, but this delightful one - developed by a 30-year-old hassidic woman teacher - has such a request printed along with installation instructions. Goldie Ferman, who has just flown with her husband Elimelech to set up a Chabad House in Chile, has left behind a wonderful game that teaches kids the multiplication tables in a very imaginative way.
A green-eyed boy with red hair and a red cap is joined by Kef-Li, an animated multiplication symbol. When Kef-Li is multiplied by a zero who visits the kingdom, the monarch is turned into a 0, and a new king is needed. To receive his scepter, royal cape and crown, the player must go through three stages of learning how to multiply numbers 1 to 10. The numbers are depicted in the form of animals: One appears in the shape of a parrot, two a snake, three a sea horse, four a clown fish and through to 10, which is represented by a snail. They are introduced by a short video film with text giving background on the creature, including some biblical material such as the fact that the owl (eight) is not kosher because it's a predator, and that liquid produced by a kind of snail was used to color the priestly tribe's garments. However, secular families should not fear; there is absolutely no "missionizing."
After learning to multiply one number by others, you must quickly click on the correct number - among several floating on the screen - to answer a multiplication problem. At the end of each of the three adventures - situated in a forest, under a lake and in a street in the kingdom - you are presented with a "pocket calculator" to click out answers to 20 multiplication problems as a clock ticks. If at least 15 are correct, you are presented with a symbol of kingship and go on to the next level.
The graphics are pleasant; the cursor is a butterfly, fish or dragonfly, depending on the environments; the narration is very professional. This is a welcome educational game for children, and it should be translated into English and other languages.
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