Cyberchase: The Quest (www.pbskids.org/cyberchase) teaches kids how to earn, spend, and trade with money to accomplish a goal. It offers kids sophisticated animation, an engaging storyline with integrated math games, and over 20 characters with which to interact.
Developed by Thirteen/WNET as part of the Cyberchase: Know Your Own Dough financial literacy campaign, this online adventure extends the universe of the Cyberchase television show to the web. In The Quest, kids become part of Cyberchase’s Cybersquad—a group of kids that protect Motherboard and all of Cyberspace from the evil antics of Hacker. This storyline parallels what happens in the TV show, but kids do not need to be familiar with the show to enjoy The Quest.
In The Quest, kids create a cyber character who must find objects for Motherboard (a character from the TV show) so she can upgrade her operating system. Players travel through Cyberspace by using a subway train. After purchasing subway tickets, they can travel to three different cybersites: Aquari-Yum, Castleblanca, and R-Fair City. They can also ride to the Cybermall to shop in four different stores that sell and trade goods.
Kids move around this universe of over 50 screens by clicking green arrows found at the edges of the screens. As they search for the items that Motherboard needs, they will meet characters who engage them in games or offer them jobs. The games and jobs provide a way to earn snelfus—the currency of this universe. With snelfus, kids can buy or trade to get items they need.
Most of the games and jobs teach math or logic concepts. For example, when hired by the Logic Zoo in the R-Fair City cybersite, kids will sort the zoo animals by using Venn diagrams.
The Quest does a nice job of balancing the need to earn money with the need to spend money to acquire the objects. The end result is that kids enthusiastically play the math games to earn money.
This is the first in a series of interactive quests planned for the Internet, with the next installment coming in April. ???Each time we add a new quest, the Cyberchase universe will grow,” explains David Hirmes, Senior Web Producer for Thirteen/WNET. “That way the players will be able to go back to the sites they have already visited, although there will be more characters and additional places. And with each quest, we will be adding one entirely new cybersite.”
Compatible with most browsers, The Quest requires the free Macromedia Flash plug-in (version 6.0 or higher), and it plays best on a high-speed connection.
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