If you’re looking for a fun, engaging way to frame mathematics for primary students, look no further than Cyberchase, an Emmy Award-winning educational series from PBS.
Geared to children ages 8-12 (grades 3-5), Cyberchase depicts a colorfully animated fantasy world wherein young heroes (and their cyberpal, Digit) must protect cyberspace from a hilariously villainous troublemaker named Hacker. Less a battle of good against evil than a match between mischief and intellect, each episode finds the kids using math concepts to thwart Hacker’s latest scheme. It’s all in good fun, and very funny, especially scenes involving Hacker’s somewhat less capable henchmen, Buzz and Delete.
Each episode concludes with a live-action segment entitled “For Real,” wherein young people use math to figure out solutions to everyday problems.
The show’s stated philosophy includes a mission statement comprising four basic goals: To foster enthusiasm for math in the critical years when too many children decide they do not like or are not good at the subject; to model math reasoning and help children improve their problem-solving skills; to demonstrate the usefulness of math; and to inspire all children to approach math with confidence and a “can-do” attitude.
With that in mind, it’s worth noting that Cyberchase has been found via independent researchers to have a very positive impact on young math students. You can download and review those studies here.
There’s also an extensive Teacher’s Guide available for free on the PBS Kids GO! web site, chock full of activities and lesson plans which coincide with specific episodes.
Cyberchase airs weekday mornings on PBS (check local listings).
NOTE: Episodes may be recorded and archived for classroom use for up to one year.
—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio
© DIRECTV 2017.