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PR: Cyberchase Explores Hands-On Fun in Builders’ Math Initiative Premiering in Feb.

by on February 2, 2008


Miniseries Featuring New Episodes And Fun Web Activities Kicks Off During National Engineering Week

“Come on! Let’s build a tree house!” is a familiar childhood chant. Whether it’s a tree house, deck or bookcase, just about every family has tackled simple construction projects involving measuring, calculating, problem-solving, and geometry. With such real-world concepts in mind, CYBERCHASE is launching a new initiative called Builders’ Math that calls on the CyberSquad to build their way out of jams, rectify their mistakes in calculation and in cutting (mistakes parents will ruefully recognize), and master math ideas. CYBERCHASE Builders’ Math Initiative, which will engage children on air, online and on the ground in communities nationwide, kicks off February 19 on PBS KIDS GO!sm (check local listings).

“For children, building something helps them see math as a useful tool for practical experiences,” says Sandra Sheppard, Thirteen/WNET New York’s director of Children’s and Educational Programming. “Through this multi-faceted initiative, children and adults can share in the hands-on fun while building important math skills.”

The Builders’ Math initiative features five programs, including three new episodes, fun Web activities at CYBERCHASE Online, and more.

The CYBERCHASE episodes are:

“Unhappily Ever After.” (premieres February 19th, check local listings) As Hacker schemes to turn Happily-Ever-Afterville into Unhappily-Ever-Afterville, the CyberSquad must stop him by making precisely fitted lids for three nesting boxes. Math topic: measurement, geometry.

“Escape from Merlin’s Maze.” (premieres February 20th, check local listings) Returning to the famous Frogsnorts School of Sorcery, our cyberheroes race to release Shari Spotter from Hacker’s trap before Hacker wreaks havoc with Stumblesnore’s magic. Math topic: algebraic thinking.

“Step by Step.” (premieres February 21st, check local listings) One step at a time, the kids calculate, measure and build their way across electric eel-infested waters to rescue Doctor Marbles – and Motherboard – from Hacker’s scheming devices. Math topic: multi-step problem solving.

“A Tikiville Turkey Day.” (encore February 22nd, check local listings) Hacker steals the precious egg that keeps Tikiville green and peaceful, and the kids use patterns in nature to restore it. Math topic: patterns in nature.

“Eureeka.” (encore February 25th, check local listings) The CyberSquad explores the third dimension in their search for Archimedes, who has the encryptor chip that can save Motherboard. Math topic: two- and three-dimensional geometry.
CYBERCHASE For Real, a live-action segment found at the end of each animated episode, will feature Bianca using square corners to create the correct shape of a broken table, finding patterns in nature, and using a lever; Harry determining how to erect a fence and make it a rectangle, and making a dollhouse for his sister by figuring out that by joining two-dimensional geometrical shapes together, it is possible to create three-dimensional objects.

“The old adage ‘measure twice, cut once’ is a terrific lesson to learn at a young age. It’s also one of the themes of our new math initiative,” says executive producer Frances Nankin. “There’s really no better way for a parent to help their child tackle all-important math skills than to pull out the measuring tape and carpenter square and work on something together. When they see these same concepts covered at school, they’ll feel a burst of familiarity – and confidence.”

Parents and teachers can find activities at CYBERCHASE Online, which provides award-winning content and multi-level math games that enhance the TV experience. For Builders’ Math, a game set in a 3D environment will challenge players to respond to building emergencies and use measurement and geometry to repair structures damaged by Hacker (voiced by Christopher Lloyd).

To further extend the lessons of these episodes, supplemental Builders’ Math materials will include a CYBERCHASE comic book, poster and hands-on activities to engage children and offer opportunities for parents and children to work together. A CD-Rom featuring the activity handouts and facilitator pages, along with CYBERCHASE graphics, will come with a DVD of the five TV episodes. These resources will also be available to educational and community partners through the CYBERCHASE Outreach Web Portal.

To further add reach to these CYBERCHASE Builders’ Math episodes, Thirteen is conducting a multi-pronged outreach effort that includes appearances at educational conferences, hands-on workshops at Girls Inc. and museum conferences, phone training sessions and material distribution for other partners, including the National Engineers Week Foundation (E-Week, February 17-23). The outreach team will also have a presence at community events, including Sally Ride Science Festivals, Discover Engineering Family Day (February 16), Cyberchase Day at the New York Hall of Science (January 12), and more. In addition, 20 children’s and science museums around the country will be provided with episodes and educational print materials to use with their museum visitors.

CYBERCHASE – the only math series for children on American TV – airs daily on PBS KIDS GO! across the country. Check local listings at CYBERCHASE Online: pbskidsgo.org/cyberchase. In the tri-state area, CYBERCHASE can be seen weekdays at 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. on Thirteen/WNET New York, Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and Sunday at 8 a.m. on V-me and Monday-Friday at 7 a.m. on WLIW21.

CYBERCHASE is produced by Thirteen/WNET New York in association with Title Entertainment Inc. Executive producers are Sandra Sheppard, Thirteen’s director of Children’s and Educational Programming, and Frances Nankin. Ellen Doherty is senior series producer.

Major funding for CYBERCHASE is provided by the National Science Foundation, Ernst & Young LLP, Northrop Grumman Corporation, PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional funding is provided by The Volckhausen Family.


[Full press release and CYBERCHASE images are available in the Thirteen Online Pressroom: http:https://www.thirteen.org/pressroom.]

Thirteen/WNET New York
Thirteen/WNET New York is one of the key program providers for public television, bringing such acclaimed series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Charlie Rose, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, Wide Angle, Secrets of the Dead, NOW With David Brancaccio, and Cyberchase – as well as the work of Bill Moyers – to audiences nationwide. As the flagship public broadcaster in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut metro area, Thirteen reaches millions of viewers each week, airing the best of American public television along with its own local productions such as The Ethnic Heritage Specials, The Thirteen Walking Tours, New York Voices, and Reel New York. Thirteen extends the impact of its television productions through educational and community outreach projects – including the Teaching and Learning Celebration – as well as Web sites and other digital media platforms. More information can be found at: www.thirteen.org.

Title Entertainment Inc.
Title Entertainment Inc. was founded in 2004 by industry veterans Dulcie Clark and Frank Taylor. The company is active in animation, documentaries and drama. Recent productions include the one-hour Celtic music documentary The Exiles Return shot in Ireland for Canada’s Global Television, the popular CBC animated children’s series, The Secret World of Og, and the 26-half-hour Canadian-Australian co-venture Sumo Mouse for Australia’s Ten Network and BBC Kids Canada. Title’s sister company, PIP Animation Services Inc., is now in its 10th year. With a staff of 85, its many credits include Carl Squared (for Portfolio Entertainment), Caillou (for Cookie Jar Entertainment), and John Kricfalusi’s Ren & Stimpy.

PBS KIDS, for preschoolers, and PBS KIDS GO!, for early elementary school kids, are committed to providing the highest quality non-commercial content and learning environment for children across the country. Providing age-appropriate, diverse programming for kids, PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO! programs consistently earn more prestigious awards than any other broadcast or cable network. Only PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO! have earned the unanimous endorsement of parents, children, industry leaders and teachers. With additional PBS resources to complement its programming, including PBS KIDS online (pbskids.org), PBS KIDS GO! online (pbskidsgo.org), PBS Parents (pbsparents.org), PBS Teachers (pbs.org/teachers), PBS Ready To Learn services and literacy events across the country, PBS is providing the tools necessary for positive child development. PBS is a nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation’s 355 public television stations, serving nearly 73 million people each week and reaching 99% of American homes.

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