JumpStart 5th Grade

Stop the villainous Dr. X from destroying the City! Pack extreme fun and exciting adventure into learning while you search out the clues, unlock secret codes, and expose the villain’s menacing plan. Master over 25 skills in Math, Reading, History, Science and more.Don’t let the board sports hype on the box fool you–the better part

Stop the villainous Dr. X from destroying the City! Pack extreme fun and exciting adventure into learning while you search out the clues, unlock secret codes, and expose the villain’s menacing plan. Master over 25 skills in Math, Reading, History, Science and more.Don’t let the board sports hype on the box fool you–the better part of this two CD-ROM set is a techno-noir whodunit that has very little to do with extreme sports. We’ll begin with this, since it is the best part of JumpStart 5th Grade.

Dr. X is about to destroy Hooverville’s power plants, unless a fifth grade sleuth named Jo Hammet can stop him. Jo, and players, begin their odyssey in a museum: a distraught father and a chatty rat clue Jo in that all is not well in Hooverville, and before you can say “Bauhaus,” a true sleuthing adventure begins. Players must explore the museum’s art, geography, and cultural exhibits, and use what is learned during that exploration to answer a fairly challenging crossword puzzle (we guarantee parents wouldn’t be able to churn through it–unless they majored in art history). Completion of that, in turn, unlocks further mystery-solving/town-saving adventure. Moving through the rest of the game involves breaking codes, solving complex math problems, understanding word relationships, and dozens of other advanced skills that make up today’s fifth grade curriculums. This game is no cream puff–we found the easiest of the three levels challenging. Also, this program adheres to the “throw ’em in and see what happens” philosophy of gameplay. Just figuring out what Jo must do becomes a lesson in problem solving and logic.

Now, there’s a second CD-ROM in this set that feels like it was created seven years ago by a bunch of X Games fans with no kids of their own. It involves a place called Adventure World, where players engage in “awesome” sports like in-line skating, snowboarding, rock climbing, and mountain biking with the help of a very nondiverse group of teammates with names like Jess and Zack. The games are all standard-issue racing fare. They might be a good diversion from the academic rigors of saving Hooverville, but most fifth graders we know roll their eyes at overuse of words like “excellent” and “rockin'”.

The strength of the first CD outweighs the silliness of the second one. Buy this set and your child will learn that using their brain to save the town is infinitely more fun than using their board to shred the slopes. (Ages 9 to 11) –Anne Erickson