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



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

The ninth season of this award-winning animated PBS series started in November 2013—and pre-teens Jackie, Inez and Matt continue to fight villainous Hacker as he tries to take over the Motherboard that rules a virtual world known as Cyberspace. Math is the weapon of choice on this mission, and Cyberchase takes great care to make solid educational content the star of its storylines. The kids foil The Hacker using logic and mathematical reasoning that according to the PBS website, reflects curriculum standards set by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

The beauty of this program's premise is that stories can take place anywhere, from ancient Greece to beneath the sea, providing endless opportunities for adventures and for noteworthy ways to demonstrate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills applied in a real-world context. In the episode An Urchin Matter, the cybersquad uses charts to track living creatures in a bay; demonstrates the process for comparing scientific samples; and not only solves the mystery of the bay's missing otters but rescues them from The Hacker and returns them to their habitat. Each episode ends with a live-action sequence called For Real, which reinforces the episode's theme. In this instance, kids use props to demonstrate a healthy ecosystem.

Aimed at children ages 8 to 11, Cyberchase offers the grin-inspiring voice talents of comedian Gilbert Gottfried and enough gags and goofy characters that even the most math-phobic kids will stick with it and build solid skills while enjoying cyber-adventures.

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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