It’s the end of another Successfully Learning series, with mathematics reaching the end of its syllabus. Successfully Learning Mathematics: Year 5 is a logical continuation of its predecessors, with Freddy the Vampire appearing for one last time before hanging up his cape. By continuation we mean, of course, more of exactly the same.
As with those that have come before, the edutainment structure is functional and as expected: work through exercises to earn gold stars and earn time in the Bonus Game. With this being year five, there’s more challenge and tougher mathematical problems to solve, so youngsters will need to engage their brains to earn their rewards.
The difficulty of the exercises themselves is a significant progression on the previous years, almost to the point that the format is no longer suitable. The usual categories of multiplication, addition, mental arithmetic and geometry show an extra required range of calculation and understanding, sure to challenge pupils. As before, however, this title doesn’t help pupils with wrong answers by showing workings or an explanation of the right answer, but simply shows the correct answer and moves on.
Another fundamental issue is that there’s no notepad option to allow scribbled notes for workings. Although questions are generally structured to assist with this, the inability to scribble notes off-hand is an oversight, with consideration for the level of calculations being made without any assistance from a calculator. There’s also the issue that some questions aren’t clearly worded or structured, so assistance from an adult is absolutely required.
Despite these issues, there are plenty of exercises across ten sections to keep pupils busy for a long time. The bonus game reward for those gold stars, meanwhile, is a modest, mediocre effort. Once again it’s a grid-based affair, where one line of coloured blocks is complemented by additional lines at short intervals. The only requirement is to look for groups of three or more blocks of the same colour that are together, and tap the group to clear them away. Tapping the blocks to clear lines is all there is to do, meaning that it serves as more of an eye test than a genuine puzzle game.
Once again, the visual and audio presentation is bland and unappealing. It’s been the same template throughout the entire series, and it continues to be lacking. A more vibrant display would serve to encourage young pupils more, but the lack of aesthetic flourish is still a disappointment.
Successfully Learning Mathematics: Year 5 continues the trends of the earlier entries, without any much-needed improvements. It’s functional and challenges pupils with a wide-range of questions, though the lack of a notepad function for workings is a disappointment. The bonus game is also unimaginative, but overall it’s a competent ending to the series.