THIRTEEN/WNET K-12 Tech Innovation

Get the Math from THIRTEEN/WNET

The Innovation: Get the Math

Get the Math is an award-winning project where middle and high school students learn how algebra is useful in careers they’re interested in—from music and videogames to basketball and restaurants.

Get the Math makes connections between subject matter and personal experience to spark student interest and engagement: abstract concepts take on new relevance when a student learns how to apply them in daily situations.

The project mixes video and web interactivity to help students develop algebraic thinking skills for solving real-world problems. Drawing on conventions of popular reality shows, video segments begin with profiles of charismatic young professionals working in fashion, videogame development, music production, the restaurant industry, the NBA, and special effects. They pose challenges connected to their jobs to two teams of teens.

Viewers can tackle the challenges themselves using interactive tools and hints before watching a video that shows the teams’ solutions. Students then can deepen their understanding of the algebra concepts explored through additional interactive challenges.

The flexible model enables teachers to use the content in a variety of settings through a combination of video, online tools, and downloadable materials. The innovative, mixed media approach encouraging multiple solutions appeals to users with varied learning styles.

Common Core State Standards: The six Get the Math challenges address multiple standards within Algebra, Functions, Modeling, and Mathematical Practices. See the standards alignment compiled by THIRTEEN/WNET for specific standards addressed by each challenge. For example, Math in Music is aligned to the following standards:

  • HSA.SSE.A.1-2, B.3-4
  • HSA.APR.A.1, C.4-5, D.6-7
  • HSA.CED.A.1-4
  • HSA.REI.A.1-2, B.3-4
  • HSF.IF.B.4-6
  • HSF.IF.C.7-9
  • HSF.BF.A.1-2, B.3-5
  • HSF.LE.B.5
  • Modeling Standards
Teacher and Student Users of THIRTEEN's Get the Math

Teacher John Pallino at Morristown High School (NJ) using Math in Music videos and web interactives.


Recording from National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Joint Webinar 


Results Achieved: An independent evaluation found:

  • Working on Get the Math modules prompted more sophisticated algebraic reasoning performance and solutions than students exhibited previously.
  • The modules boosted STEM interest and learning among students, who could subsequently identify ways algebra is used in the real world.
  • Teachers rated Get the Math positively for educational value, usefulness, and student engagement.

Long Term Goals: To expand Get the Math’s content and reach to cover more areas of the math curriculum and reach greater numbers of students and teachers nationwide.

The Grant Project:

THIRTEEN/WNET received an NGLC grant in June 2011.

NGLC funding allowed THIRTEEN/WNET to produce three new video/interactive modules covering more of the Algebra I curriculum and to make these available online and via national public television broadcast. The grant also made possible on-the-ground implementation in eleven school districts throughout New Jersey; national outreach, including a webinar presented in partnership with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) that served almost 1,000 educators; and a summative research study which demonstrated Get the Math’s measurable impact on students’ algebraic reasoning skills and attitudes towards algebra.

Since 2011, Get the Math has reached 240,000 web users and aired in 54% of U.S. TV households in 92 markets across the country.

Awards: New York Emmy, two Gold Parents’ Choice Awards, NETA Award, Common Sense Media ON for Learning Award, and first runner-up for the Japan Prize for Educational Media