THIRTEEN launches new video and interactive content for Get the Math, the award-winning, free online tool engaging students in real-world applications of algebra

Air date: 10/30/2012

THIRTEEN launches new video and interactive content for Get the Math, the award-winning, free online tool engaging students in real-world applications of algebra

NBA basketball star, top chef and special effects designer challenge students to Get the Math


 NCTM and THIRTEEN to offer free webinar on reasoning and sense making October 30


Ever wonder how restaurant chefs decide how to set menu prices? Or how NBA superstars improve their free throw shots? Or how special effects designers create an explosion in slow motion?


The answer? They use math!


Get the Math is a public television show and interactive online tool that uses real-world scenarios to help middle and high school students develop algebraic thinking skills with a focus on reasoning and sense making. By engaging students in algebra’s connection to a variety of careers, Get the Math answers the age-old question, “How is this ever going to help me in the real world?”


Produced by THIRTEEN for WNET, New York’s flagship public media provider, Get the Math motivates students with interactive challenges and performance tasks presented by young, relatable professionals. Easily accessible video and interactive modules focus on the math used in music, fashion, videogames, restaurants, basketball and special effects. The Get the Math website includes educator-developed lesson plans aligned with the Common Core Content Standards and Math Practices. It also includes a professional development video designed to help teachers use the multimedia resource effectively to supplement or serve as core algebra curriculum. Get the Math is available online to schools and students at no charge at


NBA Star, Restaurant Chef & Special Effects Designer Get the Math in 3 New Modules


Following a soft launch in the spring of 2012, Get the Math has added three new video and interactive modules — Restaurants, Basketball, and Special Effects — expanding the project’s award-winning lineup. Drawing on conventions of popular reality TV shows, video segments begin with profiles of young professionals who then pose challenges connected to their jobs to two teams of teens. Students then take the challenges themselves using interactive tools provided on the Get the Math website before returning to the video to see the teams’ solutions. Students can further explore the similar and extended algebraic concepts through additional interactive challenges. 


The restaurants module introduces Sue Torres, chef/owner of the New York City restaurant Sueños, who has appeared on Top Chef Masters, Chopped, and Iron Chef. Sue talks about the challenge of keeping prices on her menu affordable as ingredient prices rise.  The teen teams analyze past avocado prices to predict prices for the next 14 months and use this prediction to recommend a menu price for guacamole for the coming year.


The basketball module stars NBA player Elton Brand, who describes his path to a career in the NBA before posing a challenge related to free throw shooting. The teams use three key variables – release height, initial vertical velocity and acceleration of gravity – to calculate the maximum height the ball will reach on its way into the basket.


The special effects module profiles designer Jeremy Chernick from J&M Special Effects. After talking about his personal struggles with math because of a learning disability, he discusses the process of creating special effects for film and video, including one effect created for a music video by the band Freelance Whales. The teams are challenged to figure out the mathematical relationship between two important variables that affect the look of a camera shot – light intensity and distance from the light source.


Other modules in the collection focus on music with hip-hop duo DobleFlo, fashion with Project Runway winner Chloe Dao, and videogames with designer and programmer Julia Detar.


Results from New Efficacy Study for Get the Math Released


In August 2012, MediaKidz Research & Consulting conducted an independent study to assess the effectiveness of Get the Math. Results showed that the program succeeded in prompting more sophisticated algebraic reasoning performance than the students had shown previously. Also, the majority of students asserted they could now name ways that algebra was beneficial in the “real world.” Most teachers rated Get the Math positively in terms of its educational value, appeal/engagement for students, and value/usefulness for teachers.


NCTM and THIRTEEN Offer Free Webinar on Reasoning and Sense Making


On Tuesday October 30th at 4:00 p.m. EST and 7:00 p.m. EST, Get the Math will be featured in a free webinar – Reasoning and Sense Making in Context: Algebra Resources that Support Common Core Standards – for math educators and curriculum leaders presented jointly by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and THIRTEEN. The webinar will focus on the reasoning and sense making components of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, and provide guidance on how educators can use Get the Math to support their students’ engagement in key Mathematical Practices.


Webinar registration is now open and information is available online at The presenters will be David Barnes, Ph.D., Associate Executive Director for Research, Learning, and Development, NCTM, and Deborah Ives, Ed.D., Lead Content Advisor for Get the Math.


Get the Math was recently nominated for the prestigious Japan Prize, an international contest for educational media, focused on improving the quality of educational programs around the world. Get the Math has also received the 2012 New York Emmy for Outstanding Informational/Educational Program, a 2011 Gold Parents’ Choice Award (TV Programs – Children), and was named as an Honoree in the 2012 Webby Awards.


For THIRTEEN, Jill Peters is the executive producer and Michelle Chen is the producer. Deborah L. Ives, Ed.D., is the Lead Content Advisor. Funding for Get the Math is provided by Next Generation Learning Challenges and The Moody’s Foundation.


For more information, contact Linda Winter, Winter Group,, 303.778.0866, ext. 12



About WNET
In 2012, WNET is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THIRTEEN, New York’s flagship public media provider. As the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Need to Know, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah!  and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJ Today and the new online newsmagazine MetroFocus.





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