Iowa Public Television


Math + Problem Solving = Cyberchase

posted on March 2, 2012

Math + Problem Solving = Cyberchase

How do you help your students develop stronger math and problem solving skills? How do you create a positive environment about math? And how can you make math fun?

Cyberchase can help. If you haven’t heard of or used Cyberchase before, it is a research-based adventure series and website that helps kids develop their problem solving skills around a huge variety of mathematical concepts. The series is designed for kids ages eight to twelve and delivers a positive message about math by teaching concepts in an engaging way that kids can understand.

Every episode introduces a mystery and takes the protagonists on an adventure driven by a mathematical concept. For example, in one episode, viewers are asked to calculate the areas of polygonal figures. But to understand this concept in a meaningful way, it is applied to a real-world situation based on whether or not the villain, Hacker, belongs in jail for staking a land claim that is larger than that of another character. The CyberSquad helps him prove that the two claims are equal in area. Each episode is like this: introduce a problem, find a mathematical concept that can be applied to that problem, and go through the specific steps to understand how the problem is solved.

Aside from the TV episodes, students can go to the interactive website to explore the mathematical concepts and problem solving skills.

The full episodes are beneficial for students to watch at home or online, but using full-length programs in the classroom is not always the most effective way for students to learn a concept you're introducing. Research has shown that students learn best when media (like a video clip) is used as a supplement to a teacher's lesson. That is the basis for PBS LearningMedia: offering short, purpose-built learning objects that teachers adapt to their lessons. LearningMedia offers offers hundreds of Cyberchase video clips that are specifically designed for classroom use and are all aligned to the Common Core in Mathematics and The Principals and Standards for School Mathematics.

Using Cyberchase with the Frame, Focus, and Follow-up Method

The frame, focus and follow-up approach supports students' negotiation of a rich understanding of digital video.

Frame: The first step asks the teacher to provide a context that helps students make connections to the main content of the video. To activate prior knowledge, ask students questions about the topic to be explored.

Focus: Help students notice the important moments in a video by providing them with something specific to look for while they watch.

Follow-up: Give your students an opportunity to discuss what they viewed. By answering questions and describing elements of the video, students consolidate their understanding and have a chance to reflect on their viewing experience.

Cyberchase Supplementary Resources

Finally, Cyberchase offers classrooms and after-school programs lesson plans and activity kits. You can find lesson plans to suit your classroom and an after-school program needs.

play spacePlaySpace
Reinforce and assess students' math learning with this mixed-media storytelling tool. Select from prompts covering different math topics or create prompts tailored to the math you're teaching now.


ipad gameMath Match
Download Cyberchase's first app for the iPhone and iPod Touch - an irresistible and fun way for kids ages eight and older to practice basic math facts. There is a small fee for the download.


lucky starLucky Star
An interactive whiteboard game that will hallenge your students to compete for top scores while building important math skills in algebraic thinking, geometry, measurement, and more.

Tags: education educators elementary teachers interactive math online PBS Kids teachers

Subjects: Math


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