JumpStart Adventures 5th Grade: Jo Hammet, Kid Detective is a grade-based JumpStart game that was made by Knowledge Adventure in 1997. The game is intended to teach a full fifth grade curriculum.

The game was later re-released as part of JumpStart Advanced 5th & 6th Grade, alongside JumpStart Adventures 6th Grade: Mission EarthQuest.

Throughout the course of the game, which is set in the fictional city of Hooverville, the player assumes the role of a fifth grade detective named Jo Hammet, and thwarts the schemes of the evil Dr. X, who plans to detonate bombs all over the city.



After Jo wakes up from a horrible nightmare, she finds out that her television isn't working. She later learns on the radio that Dr. X blew up the television station, although no one was hurt. She boards the school bus with her skateboard that she keeps with her at all times. She and her class go on a field trip to the local art museum, and while there, the museum janitor's nephew, Martin, bumps into Jo Hammet, drops his glasses, and suddenly gets taken away by some thugs.


After Martin's kidnapping, a talking rat named B. F. Skinny suddenly shows up at the museum, and gives Jo a note from Martin. After decoding the message hidden in the crossword puzzle on the note, Jo discovers Martin's location. After Jo meets up with Martin, he explains that he is being held hostage by Dr. X, a scientist who became malicious after an experiment gone wrong and now seeks to destroy factories and power plants to get revenge on them for cutting his research funding. Martin instructs Jo to use his glasses to read the minds of Dr. X's henchmen. The henchmen have special octopi on their heads that allow to communicate telepathically, and by deciphering the meaning in their telepathic conversations, Jo will be able to figure out which site in Hooverville Dr. X is currently targeting, and how to safely get to the bomb. This begins a series of missions to find out which site in Hooverville is presently being targeted, what items will be needed to get to the bomb, and finally defusing the bomb at the site.


The game's conclusion takes place at the Boulder Canyon Dam. Jo finds out that Dr. X kidnapped Martin and his uncle, and blew up the pumping station, raising the water pressure substantially so that blowing up the dam would result in a huge flood of water that could destroy the entire city. Jo Hammet then travels to the dam, and pulls a lever that controls a gate which will divert the water away from the city. As she rescues Martin and his uncle, Dr. X reveals himself and claims that he is victorious, unaware of Jo's interception of his plan. After freeing Martin and his uncle, Jo makes her escape as the bomb detonates, and the water is diverted away from the city just in time. In the game's epilogue, Jo Hammet becomes famous for her valiant efforts, and Dr. X is not seen or heard from again, leaving it unknown as to when he will strike next.


Game Play

JumpStart 5th Grade is set up as a series of missions (similar to JumpStart Adventures 3rd Grade: Mystery Mountain and JumpStart Adventures 4th Grade: Haunted Island); however, unlike the aforementioned games, it has a relatively small amount of missions (only 6). Also, unlike most main characters in JumpStart games, Jo Hammet rarely mentions the player's existence, making it seem as if, unlike most other games, in which the player seems to be guided through the game by a virtual host, the player is actually playing Jo Hammet rather than merely "working" with her.

Course of a Mission

  1. The Hooverville Museum of Art and Geography: When Jo Hammet was on a field trip with her class, she literally bumped into someone here and he was carried away by a bunch of thugs. However, he left a mysterious pair of glasses behind. Later a talking rat named B. F. Skinny (after B. F. Skinner) shows up with a crossword. The player helps Jo Hammet crack the secret code in this puzzle.
  2. First Visit to the Sabotaged Site: It turns out the crossword reveals the address of a place that has been sabotaged. After Jo uses her trusty skateboard to get there, it turns out that, naturally, the door is locked. After the player cracks the code on the door to unlock it, the sabotaged site can be entered. At the first sabotaged site, Jo meets Martin. He explains that his glasses can be used to read the minds of the thugs. The player must then figure out the correct words to complete the thugs' internal dialogue. Their thoughts reveal the way to get to the bomb.
  3. Searching for Clues: It turns out that Jo Hammet needs three items in order to get to the bomb. She must visit three different places in town to get them: The Squishy Juice Bar, The Junkyard and the Boulder Canyon Mine Shaft. (These locations can be visited in any order.)
  4. Second Visit to the Sabotaged Site: Upon the second visit to sabotaged site, Jo Hammet uses the items to get to the bomb without getting hurt. Then the player must disable the bomb by adjusting the voltage of the batteries that power it.

Once the bomb has been successfully disarmed, Jo Hammet returns to the museum and gets a new crossword from B.F. Skinny, and these steps repeat in the next mission.

Educational Concepts

  • Fractions and Decimals
  • Equations
  • Addition and Subtraction
  • Multiplication and Long Division
  • Geometry
  • Ratios
  • Compound Words
  • Prepositions
  • Pronouns
  • Verb Tenses
  • Prefixes and Suffixes
  • Earth Science
  • Physical Science
  • Geography
  • Map Reading
  • U.S. History
  • Art History
  • Logic
  • Problem Solving
  • Deductive Reasoning


See JumpStart Adventures 5th Grade: Jo Hammet, Kid Detective/Transcript


See JumpStart Adventures 5th Grade: Jo Hammet, Kid Detective/Credits

Associated Books

The JumpStart Summer Vacation Activity Book for 5th Grade is inspired by this game, and mainly uses artwork from it. The book also contains a short story called Jo Hammet, Kid Detective, Solves the Great Jewel Robbery, which draws on some aspects of this game.


  • It is likely that Hooverville was inspired by Boulder City, Nevada and Hoover Dam. When the names are switched, "Boulder City" becomes "Hooverville" and "Hoover Dam" becomes "Boulder Canyon Dam."
    • Also, Maggie Mead may be named after Lake Mead or possibly Margaret Mead.




See the backgrounds gallery subpage



External Links


  1. Knowlede Adventure. What's New. Archived on February 4, 1998. Retrieved on September 17, 2019.
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