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Descartes' Cove Math Series

Descartes' Cove logo

Use promo code "YJUL" to receive a 50 percent discount on the Descartes' Cove CD set!

Help your child master problem solving with CTY's innovative math adventures for middle school and early high school students! Created with generous funding from the AT&T Foundation and Toyota USA Foundation, the Cove includes six CD-ROMs, each launching a new island adventure and covering a different area of math.

  • iParenting Media Winner Includes 6 CD adventures, 100+ page Teaching Guide plus detailed solutions to all problems on CD
  • Follows the NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) standards for grades 6 to 8
  • Motivates students with adventure game themes, levels, rewards, and puzzles
  • Contains vivid 3-D graphics, animations, sound effects, and music
  • More Cove features . . .

Descartes' Cove adventures include:

In a leaky lifeboat, students survive an ocean storm, marooned on a deserted island once inhabited by Rene Descartes. They discover his parchment notebook, map and other gear, and begin their journey through island tunnels, volcanoes, and many more surprises! At each step, they solve increasingly difficult puzzles and math challenges, earn gold coins, and make entries in their own journal. As they master each math concept, they prepare to tackle the final quest to build a means to escape from the island.

Other Features:

  • Tracks all aspects of student progress through the programs
  • Contains hundreds of challenging problems with animations, sound effects, and many interactive features such as a geoboard, 3-D rotation, movable ruler and protractor, and others
  • Provides students with a personal journal to record thinking strategies for each problem
  • Generates detailed reports of student performance
  • Provides hints, the notebook Descartes left behind containing lectures and notes, and a secret file of solutions to help students master each problem
  • Leads to the Final Quest, in which students use all the equipment they have collected during their adventure to construct a means of transportation for their breathtaking island escape
  • No Internet access is needed

Is Descartes' Cove Math Series appropriate for your child?

In all modules, students explore mathematical concepts and are challenged to extend their knowledge to become more confident in their abilities, develop problem solving skills, learn to reason mathematically, and apply an understanding of mathematics to real-world problems. Descartes' Cove covers a broad range of topics, and mathematical connections between the modules are a prominent feature of the series.

Find Module Descriptions and Sample Problems Here


Play a movie demonstration of Descartes' Cove

Cove screenshot

System Requirements

  • Microsoft Windows, or older Macs (10.6 or less, does not support Lion or newer)
  • CD drive, sound
  • permission to open & save user files on the hard disk

How To Order

Use promo code "YJUL" to receive a 50 percent discount on the Descartes' Cove CD set!

Descartes' Cove Math Series is $150, plus shipping charge ($5 to US addresses, $10 for all others).

Descartes' Cove Solutions Manual is $30, plus shipping charge ($5 to US addresses, $10 for all others).

You can also order the Descartes' Cove Math Series and the complete Solutions Manual by calling the Johns Hopkins University Press, 1-800-537-5487, and ask for:

  • Descartes' Cove Math Series, ISBN 9781881622185
  • Descartes' Cove Solutions Manual, ISBN 9781881622192

Schools and Descartes' Cove

Special pricing, based on the number of student users, is available for all schools. School orders should not be placed on this website. For information on school pricing and how to obtain a Descartes' Cove Site License for your school or district, contact

Research-Based Development

Download a white paper that describes the research and development that went into the Descartes' Cove project:

Wallace, P. (2005). Blending instructional design principles with computer game design: The development of Descartes' Cove. Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 2005, Proceedings of the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education, Montreal, Canada.

If you have any questions or would like to provide feedback from your experience with the Cove, please contact


Descartes’ Cove, a math puzzle solving game for middle school students

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