A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Cyberchase Movie is part of the award-winning TV series Cyberchase, and centers on kids who use math and reasoning skills to solve problems. Here they explore plotting on a grid and comparing fractions to get the job done, but even younger kids with limited math experience will get something out of the characters' real-life application of numbers sense. What's more, they don't always succeed on their first try, but their willingness to work together is what ultimately makes them successful. This story also touches on conservation issues, so parents and kids can expand on these quality themes in ways that relate directly to them. Expect some fleeting moments of peril and a lot of naughty behavior from the story's villain, but nothing that will scare even young viewers.
What's the story?
Cyberspace faces an uncertain future when Hacker (voiced by Christopher Lloyd) locates an underground button that would allow him to reset Mother Board's (Kristina Nicoll) settings and create a world of his own evil design. He sets out for Ecotopia, a serene nature preserve that's a safe haven for a diverse population of animals and plant life, but his drilling sets off a slime geyser that threatens the survival of the residents. It's up to the Cyberchase kids – Matt (Jacqueline Pillon), Jackie (Novie Edwards), and Inez (Annick Obonsawin) -- along with their feathered friend, Digit (Gilbert Gottfried), to join forces with Junior Ranger Ollie (Rico Rodriguez) to relocate the endangered creatures and thwart Hacker's malevolent plan before Ecotopia and the rest of Cyberchase are wiped off the screen forever.
Is it any good?
THE CYBERCHASE MOVIE celebrates the Emmy Award-winning series' 100th episode in fitting style, with an expanded 60-minute format that gives the characters more time to demonstrate the strong teamwork and problem-solving skills for which the show is known. Here the challenges are twofold: installing a safety lock to disable the catastrophic reset button, and ushering the animals to safety after the slime explosion Hacker wrought. To do this, the kids need cool heads, collaborative spirits, and a knowledge of proportions and fractions, which nicely illustrate real-world applications of math and reasoning skills.
But the learning potential doesn’t stop there. Through Ollie's ranger work, kids are introduced to environmental issues with a focus on conservation, exploring how different biotopes thrive by meeting the needs of all of their residents. They also see what happens when outside forces restrict a biotope, sending ripple effects through neighboring habitats. In other words, it gives kids lots to think about and is a great way to introduce concepts of eco-awareness in your home.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about solving problems. How does it feel when your first attempt doesn't work? Why is it important to keep trying? What can you learn from initial failures?
Why is it worthwhile to understand how numbers work? At what times do you use math during the day? How does it make it easier to play games, to bake, to go shopping, for instance?
What did the characters learn about symbiotic relationships and the importance of conserving different biotopes? What animal species are threatened today, and by what? Is there anything you can do to help them?
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