Skip to Content

New PBS KIDS Series Combines Television and Technology to Make Math Accessible

Special agents Olive (Dalila Bela) and Otto (Filip Geljo) are ready to get their first assignment in the Nov. 26th series premiere of ODD SQUAD. (Photo courtesy of ODD SQUAD© 2014 The Fred Rogers Company)

Special agents Olive (Dalila Bela) and Otto (Filip Geljo) are ready to get their first assignment in the Nov. 26th series premiere of ODD SQUAD. (Photo courtesy of ODD SQUAD© 2014 The Fred Rogers Company)

As parents and educators seek to develop the next generation of mathematicians, scientists, and engineers, one question remains constant: How do we make learning math and science accessible and fun for students? On Nov. 26th, PBS stations will premier ODD SQUAD, the network’s latest contribution to informal math education. A live-action television series, the show is designed to build curiosity and interest in math among early elementary school viewers.

The main characters of ODD SQUAD are two young special agents, Olive and Otto, who use math skills and collaboration to solve cases that are, well, odd. Take, for instance, a case involving a one-gallon blob that’s escaped from a science lab and must be recovered. The duo is only able to scoop up small parts at a time, and must use their problem-solving and measurement skills to determine how much of the blob remains.

Each week, Olive and Otto, along with their boss, Ms. O, and Special Agent Oscar, will tackle two vexing cases in back-to-back, 11-minute show segments. PBS KIDS, with funding provided by an Office of Innovation and Improvement Ready To Learn grant to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, is also offering a complementary suite of electronic learning games featuring the ODD SQUAD special agents. Each television episode’s math learning opportunities can be extended through interactive content online and on mobile devices and include games, parent resources, and mobile apps.

Otto and Olive discuss their next case with their boss, Ms. O, played by 7-year-old actress Millie Davis. (Photo courtesy of ODD SQUAD© 2014 The Fred Rogers Company)

Otto and Olive discuss their next case with their boss, Ms. O, played by 7-year-old actress Millie Davis. (Photo courtesy of ODD SQUAD© 2014 The Fred Rogers Company)

While ODD SQUAD is valuable for introducing math concepts to young learners, its story lines and multiplatform learning opportunities also provide lessons in teamwork, perseverance, and communications — important skills for children’s cognitive, emotional, and social development. The “anytime, anywhere” nature of ODD SQUAD’s resources, most free to the public and available across multiple digital platforms, is a hallmark of PBS KIDS and the Ready To Learn efforts. “We are ensuring that no matter where a child is, he or she can be learning,” said Debra Sanchez, senior vice president of education at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, in announcing the launch of ODD SQUAD.

ODD SQUAD is created by Tim McKeon and Adam Peltzman, and produced by Sinking Ship Entertainment and The Fred Rogers Company.

Preview the inaugural season of ODD SQUAD here.