Cyberchase

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Cyberchase-Header3

Not exactly the digital equivalent of a Lexus, mind you.

Cyberspace is a children's cartoon created as a last-ditch attempt to catch up American youth in STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Previously, the National Science Foundation wanted to jump the gun and get right into the Science, Technology, and Engineering – basically a cartoon version of Bill Nye: the Science Guy. Not a bad idea, but in the midst of an ADHD epidemic, serious thought was instead put into creating a world rich with detailed landscapes, accumulative curricula, and multidimensional characters. Of course, such radical ideas were met with initial opposition.

edit Initial Opposition

Matt’s Father: Mud-wrestling pigs and playing with his yo-yo[1] while thinking of his Nezzie, that’s all my Matt ever does. Oh, mathematics. The poor lad would get more money step-dancing to a tin whistle in the subway. You are familiar with the notion that all descendants of working-class foreigners are absolutely incapable of learning. It’s true[2]. So good luck trying to teach my Matt your fancy hullabaloo, because I know he’ll be running back to the farm before you know it, and with any luck, he’ll learn his numbers at the checkout counter buying POTATOES for his little Nezzie.

Jackie’s Drama Teacher: I can’t help but feel as if this mathematics program is an extraneous addition to Jackie’s career. She is destined to be a world famous celebrity as soon as she gets out of elementary school [3], and I seriously doubt she’ll need to know how to add fractions once she wins the hearts of America’s youth with her soulful 70s vibe[4]. In fact, I don’t even need to listen to you. I’ve seen her sing, I’ve seen her dance, and she has what it takes to get to the top[5]. Want an autographed scrunchie?

Inez's Accelerated ELA Program: Ostensibly, the particular notion of the extra-dimensional aspect of lower-discipline mathematics may indeed be one worth prospecting, yet I must venture a premonition of the foreboding physical detail into this assignment. It strikes me of great concern that Inez, a young prepubescent with a uniquely gifted specialization in the intelligence quotient as compared to that of her peers, may find some lack of mental stimulation in lieu of the intensive physical exertions. As such, I strongly discourage her participation in said event.

ESL Teacher Against Hurtful Stereotypes Involving Children of Hispanic/Latino Descent (Having Herself Struggled to Learn English From a French Background, Contrary to Initial Assumptions Regarding an ESL Teacher that She Would Have Come From a Spanish Background): Si vous plaît, ne l’appelez pas “Nezzie”.

edit Rocky Start

Day 50: For some bizarre reason, Cyberspace is not listed as a valid location for foreign immersion programs. Apparently, Mount Olympus doesn’t have mythological deities roaming about, and real aquariums aren’t made out of food. Like it matters - kids saved an entire alternate universe from an evil cyborg and they can’t even put it on their college app.

3234543

Me, Word Girl? My large vocabulary is solely for the purpose of characterization, thank you very much.

Taught the kids “algebra”[6] and “combinatorial theory”[7] in hopes of getting more funding. However, parents also think children are ready for calculus after five shows. Worst case scenario, we have this: “Calculus – Sometimes you can solve problems by thinking of the answer as a very accurate estimate.” Hopefully, this lesson can be tied in to a robot dinosaur planet or something.

Must introduce new villains every now and then, starting with Wicked, a generic evil love interest for the generic evil cyborg. In retrospect, if Hacker wasn't so evil, there wouldn't be a need for so many excuse plots. For that matter, if Motherboard wasn't so creepy-looking, the world might be a better place.

edit Footnotes

  1. Body Math – Some parts of a body are proportional to others – the length of one part is always the same multiple of another – so by measuring one part, you can predict the lengths of others, or even the size of the whole creature!
  2. Counter Examples – When people use words like always, never, all or none to claim that something is true, be suspicious! Such claims are often false, and you need only a single counterexample to disprove them.
  3. Ballpark Estimation – To be confident about your solution to a problem, make sure the answer is reasonable — that it's "in the ballpark."
  4. Line Graphs – You can use a line graph to tell a story about how things change, and to make predictions.
  5. Point of View – Because what you see depends on your point of view, different people looking at the same objects can see them differently and disagree about what they are seeing.
  6. Algebra – When you use a letter to stand in for a number that repeats or changes in a problem, you can simplify the arithmetic and make the problem easier to solve.
  7. Combinations – Overwhelmed by choices? Lists, tables and tree diagrams help you master the combinations.
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