Software

2nd February 2001 at 00:00
THE HOUSE THAT YOU BUILT. Ages four to 10. Make-believer pound;49.99. Fundraiser versions cost pound;39.99. School site versions cost pound;200 and consist of eight sets of CD-Roms and flatpack houses.

Make-believer, 1 Telford Court, Morpeth, Northumberland NE61 2DB Tel: 01670 512064. www.make-believer.com

The House That YOU Built is a foolproof way to make an open-fronted dolls house.

The pre-cut card is put together using easy-to-follow, instructions on the leaflet. Animated instructions are also available on the CD-Rom (PC amp; MAC compatible), but video footage of someone making a house would have been better as the written CD instructions add nothing to the leaflet.

Once you've got your frame (which measures 52cm x 50cm x 19cm), you can choose a style of house: baronial, Georgian, Fifties UK, New England, or thatched cottage. You pick one of 12 textures for the roof and walls, then paint your house using the fill-tool. Print it out and stick it on.

You get the same basic layout for all interiors: a playroom, bedroom, study, bathroom, kitchen, dining-room and lounge. Each comes with a window nd a door, and a selection of tabs and tools allowing you to carpet, tile, wallpaper and paint.

Next you must add furniture, which can be painted and printed out. There are a range of styles and you're offered a set for each room, although you can add pieces of furniture from any of the rooms or change a room's purpose.

You can test your decisions before printing, although positioning furniture can be a little tricky for younger users.

An additional feature is a free online club, where children can play games or get more furniture. There are even people to live in the homes. This is a nice way to add longevity to the package, but at present the main part of this software is in the box.

As well as being great fun, this has a range of uses in school, from ICT simulations to craft design and technology principles. It also involves using maths, through dealing with sets and dimensions and costings for your home.

Additional resource packs along these lines would be very welcome.

Pam Turnbull is science co-ordinator at The Heys primary school in Ashton-under-Lyne, Tameside


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