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THIRTEEN Inspires Students to Solve Real-World Problems With Algebra

Hip-hop duo DobleFlo, season two Project Runway winner Chloe Dao, and Julia Detar, developer of popular video games played on Facebook, inspire teens to solve real-world problems using algebra in Get the Math, a new multimedia project from THIRTEEN and the team behind the hit PBS series Cyberchase.

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New York (January 10, 2011)- Hip-hop duo DobleFlo, season two Project Runway winner Chloe Dao, and Julia Detar, developer of popular video games played on Facebook, inspire teens to solve real-world problems using algebra in Get the Math, a new multimedia project from THIRTEEN and the team behind the hit PBS series Cyberchase. Premiering on THIRTEEN Sunday, February 20, from 11:30 AM- Noon and airing nationwide on public television (check local listings), Get the Math combines entertaining reality-style TV and online challenges to help middle and high school students see the relevance of math in exciting careers and develop algebraic thinking skills.  The website, accessible at, features streaming video, interactive challenges, and materials for educators. Get the Math is a production of THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG-one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers-with funding by the Moody’s Foundation.

THIRTEEN designed Get the Math to help increase student interest in learning algebra, promote an understanding of its usefulness and importance, and raise students’ awareness of careers using algebra.  On the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment math test, high school sophomores in the United States scored 25th among 30 industrialized nations.  Furthermore, a 2006 study at Florida International University found that students who failed Algebra 1 were four times more likely to drop out of high school than those who passed the course. 

The integrated broadcast and Web materials engage and motivate students by making algebra concrete.  Drawing on conventions of popular reality shows, Get the Math features profiles of dynamic young professionals working in fashion, video game development, and music production.  Chloe Dao, Julia Detar, and DobleFlo (Manny Dominguez and Luis Lopez) share how they regularly use algebra in their work and then pose challenges connected to their jobs to two teams of teens. 

Online viewers have the opportunity to tackle the challenges using interactive tools and hints; they can compare their strategies to solutions used by student teams in the video.  Viewers can then deepen their understanding of the algebra concepts explored through additional interactive challenges.

The Get the Math website also features streaming video of segments from the half-hour broadcast program and resources for teachers, including a training video showing how to use the materials in the classroom, and a teacher’s guide with lesson plans. In addition, the site features an animated music video starring DobleFlo, downloadable MP3s of their music, including a math-themed rap they wrote for the project, and Q & A’s with the professionals and teens.

The Get the Math program is divided into three segments:

  • FASHION: Chloe Dao, Vietnamese refugee and FIT graduate who became a household name in 2006, and whose designs have been featured at the Smithsonian, has parlayed her Project Runway win into successful high-end and mass-market fashion collections.  Chloe challenges the teams of teens to use both proportional reasoning and their sense of style to modify a design in order to get the retail price below a target of thirty-five dollars.
  • VIDEO GAMES: Julia Detar, a videogame developer at the New York City-based company Arkadium, uses math when she develops online and Facebook games, such as Mahjongg Dimensions.  Julia presents a challenge around a simplified “Asteroids”-type game that introduces basic concepts behind programming. Students use coordinate graphing and linear equations to plot the path of a spaceship and avoid a collision with an oncoming asteroid.
  • 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 music label. Independent Media Magazine says of the Brooklyn-based duo, "If you’re looking for some substance, style, and originality you might want to look into DobleFlo. They display a passion and grittiness in their voice and vocals that the rap game is sorely missing."   Manny and Luis draw on their math skills regularly, particularly when using music production software.  They ask the students to calculate the tempo of an instrumental sample so they can adjust the tempo of an electronic drum track to match it.

To launch Get the Math into communities nationwide, WNET.ORG, along with public television stations who received outreach grants, will partner with local organizations with a vested interest in math education and conduct professional development workshops for teachers.   This program, with its broadcast, digital, and outreach components, takes the math education that Cyberchase has been so successful in driving forward for younger kids to the next age group of students as they face higher-level math challenges.

Get the Math, a production of  THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG,  is funded by the Moody’s Foundation and distributed to public television stations nationwide by American Public Television.   Jill Peters is executive producer, Michelle Chen is producer,  and  Sandra Sheppard is the project executive. Keith Devlin, Ph.D., and Deborah L. Ives, Ed.D., are advisors.


New York public media company WNET.ORG is a pioneering provider of television and web content.  The parent of THIRTEEN, WLIW21 and Creative News Group, WNET.ORG brings such acclaimed broadcast series and websites as Need To Know, Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Charlie Rose, Secrets of the Dead, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, Visions, Consuelo Mack WealthTrack, Miffy and Friends, Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps and Cyberchase to national and international audiences.  Through its wide range of channels and platforms, WNET.ORG serves the entire New York City metro area with unique local productions, broadcasts and innovative educational and cultural projects.  In all that it does, WNET.ORG pursues a single, overarching goal – to create media experiences of lasting significance for New York, America and the world.  For more information, visit

About the Moody’s Foundation

The Moody's Foundation is a charitable foundation established by Moody's Corporation. Moody's Corporation (NYSE: MCO) is the parent company of Moody's Investors Service, which provides credit ratings and research covering debt instruments and securities, and Moody's Analytics, which offers leading-edge software, advisory services and research for credit and economic analysis and financial risk management. The Corporation, which reported revenue of $1.8 billion in 2009, employs approximately 4,300 people worldwide and maintains a presence in 26 countries.

About American Public Television

American Public Television (APT) has been a leading distributor of high-quality, top-rated programming to America’s public television stations since 1961. In 2010, APT distributed nearly half of the top 100 highest-rated public television titles. Among its 300 new titles per year are prominent documentaries, news and current affairs programs, dramatic series, how-to programs, children’s series and classic movies, including For Love of Liberty: The Story of America’s Black Patriots, A Ripple of Hope, Rick Steves' Europe, Newsline, Globe Trekker, Simply Ming, America's Test Kitchen From Cook’s Illustrated, Lidia's Italy, P. Allen Smith's Garden Home, Murdoch Mysteries, Doc Martin, Rosemary & Thyme, The Rat Pack: Live and Swingin’, Johnny Mathis: Wonderful, Wonderful! and John Denver: The Wildlife Concert. APT also licenses programs internationally through its APT Worldwide service. In 2006, APT launched Create® – the TV channel featuring the best of public television's lifestyle programming. APT is also a partner in the WORLD™ channel expansion project.