Engaging new characters and innovative bilingual texting initiative deepen reach and impact on families nationwide
NEW YORK, April 18, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Cyberchase, the multiple Emmy-winning math and environmental literacy series for kids ages 6-8, returns for a new season beginning Friday, April 21 during “PBS KIDS Family Night” at 7 p.m. ET and streaming free on PBS KIDS in honor of Earth Day (April 22). Season 14 will feature four fresh environment-themed adventures and free interactive STEM resources for families, all available in English and Spanish.
The action-packed new episodes find the intrepid heroes, Jackie, Matt, Inez, and Digit, exploring timely environmental topics – recycling and trash cleanup, tree planting, weather and climate – using their math and problem-solving skills. The new season premieres with “Clean-Up on Isle 8,” where Inez grapples with giving her beloved stuffie heirloom to her little brother León while Delete corrals the CyberSquad into helping him clean up the lake. In “Trees, Please,” viewers will meet Inez’s Colombian and Mexican American family and discover how reimagining a community courtyard unites their family. Then, “Weather or Not,” a special one-hour Earth Day “movie,” will introduce Jackie’s Jamaican American family on Earth, as the CyberSquad tackles an odd haze threatening Stellandia. The young characters explore positive solutions to environmental problems – sending viewers the message that taking small actions can lead to big solutions. Each episode will also include live-action “Cyberchase: For Real” epilogues that link the math and environmental concepts shown in the animation to the real world.
With a grant from the National Science Foundation, Season 14 of Cyberchase also focuses on reaching low-income and Latino communities with Cyberchase: Mobile Adventures in STEM, a free, national bilingual family texting program. Families who sign up will receive weekly text messages in English or Spanish with links to Cyberchase media and a choice of two related hands-on STEM activities to complete together. Viewers can sign up by texting the word CYBER to 30644. As part of the grant, Education Development Center, Inc. is conducting formative and summative research with families and kids around the country on the appeal and effectiveness of the Cyberchase episodes and family resources.
“Our Cyberchase work is grounded in reaching kids and families across the country. This season, we continued that work by bringing on writers and advisors to further reflect the diversity of stories we’re telling,” said Sandra Sheppard, executive producer of Cyberchase and Kids’ Media & Education for The WNET Group. “Through introducing viewers to the families of Jackie and Inez, we’re excited to celebrate their unique backgrounds and cultural heritage while also sharing opportunities for joyful STEM learning with both English and Spanish speaking families nationwide.”
“Cyberchase: Mobile Adventures in STEM is rooted in research on the role that mobile devices can play in facilitating parent-child conversation and, in turn, deepening children’s learning,” said Lori Takeuchi, program officer at the National Science Foundation. “This project will advance the field’s understanding of the potential of these everyday devices to cultivate family learning, specifically on the urgent topic of environmental science.”
In fall 2023, the series will debut a new digital-exclusive shorts series, The Belly Bowl. In this serialized story, the CyberSquad will trek through the snowy landscape of Penguia to track down a device the dastardly Hacker has hidden, while trying to make it back in time for their penguin friend’s racing championship. Along the way, they find innovative ways to use different forms of renewable energy—solar, wind, wave, and kinetic energy from gravity—to save the day.
Cyberchase also reaches kids, parents, caregivers, and teachers through interactive learning games, classroom and bilingual family activities, apps, text messaging, and community outreach. Cyberchase offers digital games for children with a wide range of abilities, including Cyber Fashion Challenge, in which children use math skills to create fun upcycled clothing designs. Visit pbskids.org to explore the full range of offerings.
Cyberchase began in 2002 with a mathematics focus and quickly became one of the leading math-related brands in children’s media. More than 30 independent research studies have shown that Cyberchase viewers understand and remember the math content of the episodes they watch—plus they have a more positive attitude, more self-confidence, and more motivation towards mathematics and problem-solving than non-viewers.
Cyberchase is produced by The WNET Group. Sandra Sheppard is Executive Producer. Melinda Toporoff is Co-Executive Producer.
Funding for Season 14 episodes, Cyberchase: Mobile Adventures in STEM family engagement project, research, and evaluation is provided by the National Science Foundation under Award No. 2115669. Series funding for Cyberchase is provided by The JPB Foundation, Overdeck Family Foundation, and Ernst & Young LLP. Additional funding is provided by Epstein Teicher Philanthropies, the Tiger Baron Foundation, Inc., Lemberg Foundation, Inc. and Dr. Shailaja & Umesh Nagarkatte.
About The WNET Group
The WNET Group creates inspiring media content and meaningful experiences for diverse audiences nationwide. It is the community-supported home of New York’s THIRTEEN – America’s flagship PBS station – WLIW21, THIRTEEN PBSKids, WLIW World and Create; NJ PBS, New Jersey’s statewide public television network; Long Island’s only NPR station WLIW-FM; ALL ARTS, the arts and culture media provider; newsroom NJ Spotlight News; and FAST channel PBS Nature. Through these channels and streaming platforms, The WNET Group brings arts, culture, education, news, documentary, entertainment and DIY programming to more than five million viewers each month. The WNET Group’s award-winning productions include signature PBS series Nature, Great Performances, American Masters and Amanpour and Company and trusted local news programs MetroFocus and NJ Spotlight News with Briana Vannozzi. Inspiring curiosity and nurturing dreams, The WNET Group’s award-winning Kids’ Media and Education team produces the PBS KIDS series Cyberchase, interactive Mission US history games, and resources for families, teachers and caregivers. A leading nonprofit public media producer for more than 60 years, The WNET Group presents and distributes content that fosters lifelong learning, including multiplatform initiatives addressing poverty, jobs, economic opportunity, social justice, understanding and the environment. Through Passport, station members can stream new and archival programming anytime, anywhere. The WNET Group represents the best in public media. Join us.
About PBS KIDS
PBS KIDS believes the world is full of possibilities, and so is every child. As the number one educational media brand for kids, PBS KIDS helps children ages 2-8 learn lessons that last a lifetime. Through media and community-based programs, PBS KIDS wants children to see themselves uniquely reflected and celebrated in lovable, diverse characters who serve as positive role models, and to explore their feelings and discover new adventures along the way. Families can stream PBS KIDS for free anytime, no subscription required. A large collection of mobile apps and pbskids.org provide accessible content that spark kids’ curiosity. PBS KIDS and local stations across the country support the entire ecosystem in which children learn and grow – including their teachers and caregivers, parents, and community – providing resources accessible anytime and anywhere. For more information, visit pbs.org/pressroom, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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