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Buoyed by how well Dawn's Typing Machine went down with my daughter, and noticing that she was showing signs of being numerate, I decided to put together a little program to help her grasp arithmetic.
It thinks up sums and displays them on the screen, and then waits for you to type the answer. If you get it right, you hear a gentle chord on a harp. If you get it wrong, you hear a cymbal clash, and the chance to have another crack.
You get to control which of the four main arithmetical operations (+ - × and ÷) are used by switching them on or off in the panel at the top of the screen. You can also adjust the range of numbers used, by fixing the maximum number allowed (which is the sum of an addition, the product of a multiplication, or the first operand for subtractions and divisions).
First, you need to make sure your computer runs Java programs, as Dawn's Maths Machine is written in Java.
Then, you need to click here to launch the program, or to download it onto your computer to run later. Save it to somewhere handy (for example the desktop on Windows).
To run the program on Windows or Mac, just double click on its icon. On Linux you'll need to run it from the command line. A window should come up that's large enough to fill the screen.
By default, Dawn's Maths Machine starts with addition enabled, and everything else disabled. It will allow numbers up to 10, including zero. In the middle of the screen you should see the first sum. All you do is type the answer. If you're right, you hear harp music, and if you're wrong, you hear a cymbal & get to have another go.
You don't need to press the return key when you've entered your number. The program knows how many digits it's expecting for the answer, and will decide you've finished typing when you've entered the right number of digits. You can use the backspace key if you need to.
If you want to allow other operations, to switch the sounds on and off, or to change the highest number involved, you have to click the continue button afterwards before you can carry on.
V1.04 - Menu options for about and website added
V1.03 - Launches through Java Web Start
V1.02 - Both sounds can now be switched on and off
V1.00 - Initial release