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

Cyberchase For Real

Cyberchase For Real

Spring 2014 Television
Ages: 8 - 11 yrs.
Producer: Thirteen/ WNET
Rating: TVY

Cyberchase, the award-winning children's program now in its ninth season on PBS, follows a band of pre-teens as they use math to battle an evil villain trying to take over a virtual world called Cyberspace. They use logic and mathematical reasoning to foil the bad guy and each animated episode ends with a live-action sequence titled For Real, demonstrating more equations in action.

These For Real segments are short live-action vignettes that reinforce science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts and they usually include an original game or prop manipulation to engage kids. An environment-themed sequence teaches kids a game called "Trash Dash," adding a fun physical element to the familiar "reduce, reuse, recycle" rule. Another sequence uses balls and a hula hoop to demonstrate the workings of a healthy ecosystem; and one For Real sequence even uses a card game to explain how solar power works. On-screen text drives viewers to PBS's Cyberchase website for more detailed directions about the For Real games.

According to the PBS website, Cyberchase program content and the website's activities reflect curriculum standards set by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Activities are appropriate for children ages 8 to 11 and the online material offers resources for educators, including games, videos and printable activities, although the games could easily be played at home, too. Math-phobic youngsters may be more inclined to participate in these games rather than traditional skill-and-drill book-based math lessons, making Cyberchase's For Real sequences a fun way to kick-start math skill-building.

Gina Catanzarite   ©2014 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.

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Thirteen/ WNET

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