Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Spring 2010 Television
Ages: 8 - 11 yrs.
Producer: Thirteen/ WNET
Network: PBS
Cyberchase is an animated half-hour from PBS Kids, aimed at viewers aged 8-12 although its creative treatment is more likely to appeal to the younger end of that spectrum. In this fun and colorful world, three kids battle the evil villain Hacker, who is on a mission to take over Cyberspace. Their weapon of choice? Math!

Each episode spotlights a different math concept, neatly woven into the storyline, as heroes Inez, Jackie, and Matt put classroom math into action to beat the bad guy. From measuring to making bar graphs, using logic to solving number puzzles, Cyberchase reinforces that math is essential to problem-solving in real life. Each episode concludes with a live-action segment suggesting a project that requires real-world math applications.

One of the program's goals stated on the PBS website is to "inspire all children to approach math with confidence and a 'can-do' attitude;" the perky and positive kids on Cyberchase model that message. For kids who aren't very big fans of math, it's likely the lessons taught here will resonate better than ones contained in the pages of a math textbook. The PBS website even offers Cyberchase companion lesson plans for teachers or homeschoolers hoping to engage kids in mathematics in more palatable ways.

Overall, the program is likely to find eager fans in kids who already have some natural aptitude in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics); and, it can give a helpful nudge to the math-phobic who may require more creative approaches to develop their abilities.

Gina Catanzarite   ©2010 Parents' Choice
Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster's Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.

Look for this product at:
Thirteen/ WNET

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