Get the Math combines video and web interactivity to help middle and high school students develop algebraic thinking skills for solving real-world problems. 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. Viewers are encouraged to try 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 same, as well as extended, algebraic concepts through additional interactive challenges on the website.
Video segments and interactive challenges focus on the math in:
- 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 record company. They draw on their math skills regularly, particularly when using music production software. The challenge prompts students to calculate the tempo (beats per minute) of an instrumental sample, so they can adjust the tempo of an electronic drum track to match it. (Algebra I concept: Proportional reasoning)
- Fashion: Chloe Dao, a Texas-based fashion designer and the season two winner of Project Runway, uses math on a day-to-day basis. She asks students to use both algebra and their sense of style to modify a design in order to get the retail price below a target of $35. (Algebra I concepts: percent markup; writing and solving linear inequalities; cost analysis)
- Videogames: Julia Detar, a videogame developer at the New York City-based company Arkadium, uses math when she develops online and Facebook games. Julia presents a challenge around a simplified “Asteroids”-type game that introduces basic concepts behind programming. Students use algebraic thinking to plot the path of a spaceship and avoid collision with an oncoming asteroid. (Algebra I concepts: Coordinate graphing; rate of change; linear equations; distance formula; Pythagorean Theorem)
- Restaurants: Sue Torres, chef/owner of the restaurant Sueños, talks about the challenge of keeping prices on her menu affordable as prices rice. The 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. (Algebra I concept: Line of best fit)
- Basketball: NBA player Elton Brand 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. (Algebra I concept: Quadratic functions)
- Special Effects: Jeremy Chernick from J&M Special Effects 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 shot – light intensity and distance from the light source. (Algebra I concepts: Inverse relationships; inverse square law)
On this website you will find:
- THE CHALLENGES: video segments presenting the career profiles and related algebra challenges; interactive tools to help students solve the challenges; video clips showing how the teams solved each challenge; and extensions of the challenges using similar interactive tools to further explore the same, and extended, math concepts.
- VIDEO: a collection of all the challenge-related video segments along with an animated “Get the Math” music video and the Get the Math half-hour broadcast program.
- ABOUT: Q&As with the professionals and the teams, answers to frequently asked questions, and production credits.
- TEACHERS: online resources for teachers, including a training video showing how to use project materials in the classroom, a teacher’s guide with lesson plans and student handouts aligned with the Common Core Content and Mathematical Practices Standards.
- Plus: downloadable MP3s on the homepage of music by DobleFlo.
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. The executive summary of the study is available here.
Awards and honors for Get the Math:
- 2014 Parents Choice Award (Gold)
- 2013 Daytime Emmy Nominee – Outstanding New Approaches
- 2012 New York Emmy Award – Outstanding Informational/Educational Program
- 2012 NETA Award for Instructional Media
- 2012 Webby Awards – Honoree (Education)
- 2012 Japan Prize International Contest for Educational Media – Finalist (Youth)
- 2011 Gold Parents’ Choice Award (TV Programs – Children)
- 2011 CINE Golden Eagle Award
- 2011 Silver HUGO – Chicago International Film and Video Festival
- 2011 US International Film and Video Festival Certificate for Creative Excellence
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