Cindy McCormick, Gifted and Talented Teacher at Arcado Elementary School, uses the Roamer turtle robot and Crystal Rain Forest with her 2nd and 3rd grade students. She begins with the Roamer turtle which, she says, “offers students hands-on experience with the degrees of a circle–they just get it!” From Roamer, students move on to Crystal Rain Forest where they get caught up in the adventure and are proud to be able to navigate the river based on what they learned about degrees with Roamer. She says her students are always excited when they complete one of the activities in Crystal Rain Forest and anxious to move on to the next one. They found the new Engine Immobilizer activity in Version 2 to be particularly challenging and were very proud when they mastered it.
Ms. McCormick uses Crystal Rain Forest with four different classes and credits the program with improving her students' measurement and estimation skills and encouraging logical and convergent thinking. By tying Crystal Rain Forest into more general rain forest studies, she notes it can be linked into social studies and science lessons as well as math.
At Arcado Elementary, Crystal Rain Forest is used during one class period per day for four classes over a nine week period. Ms. McCormick reports that the integrated on-line record-keeping in new Version 2 has made it much easier for her to keep track and evaluate all students' progress by consolidating results on one master record sheet.