Monday, January 23, 2012

Cyberchase at Adventure Science Center teaches STEM subjects in both English and Spanish

Two children watch in wonder at Cyberchase exhibit at Adventure Science Center. Photo by Leslie Rodriguez Photography.
By Javier Rodriguez

On Saturday, January 21 the Adventure Science Center launched a new exhibit called Cyberchase. The exhibit is based on the popular Emmy award-winning PBS KIDS GO! cartoon series and is designed to make math fun. The double positive that this stimulating exhibit offers parents and kids is that it has a fun, STEM-based theme, and the entire exhibit is in English and Spanish

My wife Leslie and I had the pleasure of touring the exhibit on its opening day, and it’s already an obvious success. Cyberchase was full of kids running around trying all of the different games and puzzles, squealing with delight while they fought off Cyberchase’s villainous character Hacker using math concepts such as place value, algebra, geometry, fractions and probability. Each kid in the room had different degrees of understanding as far as the math is concerned but hey, they were working it out and loving it! Parents were helping kids when they needed it, and the beautiful strength of Cyberchase is that Spanish-speaking parents who don’t have a full command of English can participate too. All of the instructions, storylines and videos have a Spanish translation or Spanish audio option. 

English and Spanish signage at Cyberchase.
Photo by Leslie Rodriguez Photography.
This is, of course, a fabulous opportunity for monolingual English parents and children as well. Here, in an environment dedicated to learning-made-fun, kids are not only exposed to math but also to a new language that might possibly wind up being a second (or third, or fourth?) language for them in the future. 

The whole Cyberchase experience is based on the acclaimed cartoon, featuring cybersites like Control Central, the Grim Wreaker and Poddleville, all from the show. Cyberchase visitors help the CyberSquad – the show’s heroes – defeat Hacker while “doing” math firsthand. By the end of the visit, kids (and parents!) will have a better understanding of math and more confidence in their mathematical abilities. What better way to encourage a positive attitude toward math among children than to visit Cyberchase where they can use it to protect the virtual universe?

The author, reconstructing Eureeka.
Photo by Leslie Rodriguez Photography.
In eight years of living in this delightful city Leslie and I had never visited the Adventure Science Center, to our detriment. It’s a serious error in judgment, time management or curiosity to live in this city and never go to this wonderful building full of adventures and learning. The center isn’t just for kids – once a month they host a “way late play date” for adults (21+) complete with drink tickets and no children running around. Leslie and I are basically big kids so we fit right in trying out all the exhibits with the kiddos. We highly recommend visiting the new bilingual exhibit (and maybe even working on your own math skills while you help your kids!) and enjoying the rest of what the Adventure Science Center has to offer.

Cyberchase is a temporary exhibit that comes to Nashville via the Children’s Museum of Houston and will be in Nashville until June 3, 2012. Adventure Science Center is located at 800 Fort Negley Blvd. and is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $12 for adults; $10 for children ages 2 to 12 and seniors 65+. Certified TN teachers (with active school ID) are free. 

Leslie Rodriguez is from Louisville, Kentucky, and Javier Rodriguez is from Punta Arenas, Chile. They love the married life and thought that it would be cool to share some of the things they do, at There, they write about everything from dogs to home improvements to favorite local restaurants. The only consistency throughout their blog is that each post is in two languages – English on the left, Spanish on the right. This is their first post at

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