Forecast: Cyberchase's 'Weather Watchers'

April 17th, 2009

from: Frances Nankin, Executive Producer & Editorial Director, Cyberchase

This week, Cyberchase takes center stage on air and online with an all-new week long Weather Watchers mini series. The featured attractions? Math and weather-based, action-packed adventures with the CyberSquad and their newest friend, NBC meteorologist Janice Huff.

Janice guest stars in the first two Weather Watchers episodes – airing Monday and Tuesday (4/20-21) – as the voice of cyber-meteorologist Stormy Gale. She also appears as her personable self in two Cyberchase For Real segments, filmed in NBC4 studios at 30 Rock. (sneak peek here) Her enthusiasm for meteorology is contagious! You can read Neal Shapiro’s account of her visit to the THIRTEEN studios a year ago when we recorded her voice-over.

Why Janice? Well, in her words:

“You can’t understand the weather without using math – it’s a big part of my job every day. After watching these Cyberchase episodes, young viewers will never look at the weather report the same way again – and they may even want to go test out those forecasts for themselves!”

Given all our present concerns with climate and the need for worldwide sustainable development, we wanted to launch an initiative that would engage kids 8 to 11 with age-appropriate, math-based weather topics. By nurturing kids’ interest in math and weather science early on, our goal is to make them better prepared to seek answers to environmental problems later. And of course, we thought the week of Earth Day was the perfect time to do this.

Math wasn’t exactly one of Janice’s favorite subjects. “I have to be honest—math was never really ‘fun’ for me! Actually, my favorite subjects were English and geography and science, but when I decided I wanted to study meteorology, I realized that math explains motion, and the atmosphere is in constant motion, so it started to make more sense to me! Once I was able to relate the math to the weather, it was a lot easier to understand.” You can read more from Janice about her experience with Cyberchase in her recent answers to “5 Good Questions” on PBS Engage.

Cyberchase Weather Watchers features five episodes this week that help kids use math to understand how fog forms, how to track a storm, how to solve a pollution problem using the power of multiplication, how to measure and compare wind speeds, and how evaporation can be used to cool things down. (See clips from the episodes, downloadable activities, and more.) And coming next month, we’re adding an all-new weather-based immersive Quest game where players use what they learn from the episodes to thwart Hacker yet again in “Stop the Stormerator!” For a preview of the game, kids can play Hacker’s Secret Word Game now.

Ready to DO something about the weather outside? Grab your favorite kids and check out the fun and engaging activities at Cyberchase Online and our additional math and weather tips for parents(pdf).

Cyberchase Weather Watchers week premieres Monday, April 20 at 5:00pm with all-new episodes airing through Thursday April 24 at 5:00pm.
See Cyberchase Weather Watchers site.