PBS has launched a new “experimental web series” intended to make “make math interesting” to middle school students. The series, called PBS Math Club, features short videos designed to connect math to students’ lives and interests. For instance, when discussing positive and negative integers, the all teenage girl cast uses YouTube’s rating system as an example. Another video makes an analogy between adding negative numbers and the popular movies Mean Girls and Star Wars.
The program “was designed from the ground up for blended learning, using Common Core Standards and focusing on the struggles that teenage girls experience in the subject,” according to a PBS release.
The videos, which are available on YouTube and pbslearningmedia.org, conclude short interactive quizzes to test a student’s grasp of the topic. This means that students can get immediate feedback for wrong answers—and immediate gratification for right ones.
When students get the answer right, they are directed away from the quiz to a entertainment video. Some teachers may feel that the reward videos may be a little too distracting: After all, it’s tough for another question on integers to compete with a video of a baby elephant being scared by its own sneeze. But maybe they’ll be just the thing to help some kids keep going.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.