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Free Resources: THIRTEEN, WNET.ORG's Multimedia Project "Get the Math"

Posted Feb 16, 2011
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THIRTEEN and WNET.ORG have announced a new multimedia project entitled Get the Math. Airing nationwide on public television, Get the Math combines entertaining reality-style TV and online challenges to help middle and high school students see the relevance of math in exciting careers and develop algebraic thinking skills. The website, accessible at, features streaming video, interactive challenges, and materials for educators. Get the Math is a production of THIRTEEN in association with public media provider WNET.ORG, with funding by the Moody's Foundation.

THIRTEEN designed Get the Math to help increase student interest in learning algebra, promote an understanding of its usefulness and importance, and raise students' awareness of careers using algebra. On the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment math test, high school sophomores in the United States scored 25th among 30 industrialized nations. Furthermore, a 2006 study at Florida International University found that students who failed Algebra 1 were four times more likely to drop out of high school than those who passed the course.

The integrated broadcast and web materials are designed to engage and motivate students by making algebra concrete. Drawing on conventions of popular reality shows, Get the Math features profiles of dynamic young professionals working in fashion, video game development, and music production. Season two Project Runway winner Chloe Dao, video game developer Julia Detar, and hip-hop duo DobleFlo (Manny Dominguez and Luis Lopez) share how they regularly use algebra in their work and then pose challenges connected to their jobs to two teams of teens.

Online viewers have the opportunity to tackle the challenges using interactive tools and hints; they can compare their strategies to solutions used by student teams in the video. Viewers can then deepen their understanding of the algebra concepts explored through additional interactive challenges.

The Get the Math website also features streaming video of segments from the half-hour broadcast program and resources for teachers, including a training video showing how to use the materials in the classroom, and a teacher's guide with lesson plans. In addition, the site features an animated music video starring DobleFlo, downloadable MP3s of their music, including a math-themed rap they wrote for the project, and Q & A's with the professionals and teens.

The Get the Math program is divided into three segments:

* FASHION: Chloe Dao, Vietnamese refugee and FIT graduate who became a household name in 2006, and whose designs have been featured at the Smithsonian, has parlayed her Project Runway win into successful high-end and mass-market fashion collections. Chloe challenges the teams of teens to use both proportional reasoning and their sense of style to modify a design in order to get the retail price below a target of thirty-five dollars.

* VIDEO GAMES: Julia Detar, a videogame developer at the New York City-based company Arkadium, uses math when she develops online and Facebook games, such as Mahjongg Dimensions. Julia presents a challenge around a simplified "Asteroids"-type game that introduces basic concepts behind programming. Students use coordinate graphing and linear equations to plot the path of a spaceship and avoid a collision with an oncoming asteroid.

* MUSIC: Manny Dominguez and Luis Lopez, who perform as the hip-hop duo DobleFlo, write and produce music in collaboration with The Brooklyn Label, an independent music label. Independent Media Magazine says of the Brooklyn-based duo, "If you're looking for some substance, style, and originality you might want to look into DobleFlo. They display a passion and grittiness in their voice and vocals that the rap game is sorely missing." Manny and Luis draw on their math skills regularly, particularly when using music production software. They ask the students to calculate the tempo of an instrumental sample so they can adjust the tempo of an electronic drum track to match it.

 To launch Get the Math into communities nationwide, WNET.ORG, along with public television stations who received outreach grants, will partner with local organizations with a vested interest in math education and conduct professional development workshops for teachers. This program, with its broadcast, digital, and outreach components, takes the math education that Cyberchase has been so successful in driving forward for younger kids to the next age group of students as they face higher-level math challenges.

Source: WNET.ORG,

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