# Figure It Out

*Figure It Out* is an ITV schools TV series from the 1970s, covering Mathematics for primary school pupils.

ATV's series for junior school maths classes throughout most of the 1970s is actually two completely separate series under the same title.

The original series of 26 episodes from 1972, presented by Tony Bastable (who had also presented its predecessor, * Towards Mathematics*), look at practical activities, like children sorting themselves when the bell rings in a junior school, counting parked cars, and using addition and subtraction when shopping. Viewers are directly given questions and tasks to investigate, and teachers are encouraged to maintain a

*Figure It Out*noticeboard on the classroom wall, with suggestions given in each episode for items to be added to the noticeboard that week. These programmes were designed so that they could be used with pupils over two years, with the simpler odd-numbered episodes screened in the first year, and the more advanced even-numbered episodes in the second yearSeveral of the episodes were remade for repeats in 1973-4 and 1974-5, but I don't know exactly which ones.

A second, completely different series of *Figure It Out* was introduced in 1975, presented by Fred Harris and Jane Alford. These 28 programmes had a more loose, magazine style with lots of different items in each episode, not linked to the same mathematical topic, and an emphasis on being fun to watch for the child viewers. The teacher's notes warned that "the programmes contain jokes which teachers may find excruciating but which most children will enjoy." This series includes regular characters such as KEN, a broken-down computer who knows all about maths, the Mathematical Mandarin who knows all about karate, superhero Supermath, a Noel the Numbers, a "smelly onion seller from Marseilles". There were also mimes performed by Ben Benison.

After the second version of *Figure It Out* had run its own three-year course it was replaced with a revolutionary new maths series for juniors, also presented by Fred Harris, called * Leapfrog*.

## Episodes

Some of the episodes from series 1 were remade in 1973-4, but I'm not sure which so they are not listed here.

# | Title | Broadcast |
---|---|---|

Series 1 - with Tony Bastable | ||

1. | Sorting | 19 Sep 1972 |

2. | Patterns | 26 Sep 1972 |

3. | How Many? | 3 Oct 1972 |

4. | Hundreds and Hundreds | 10 Oct 1972 |

5. | Length | 17 Oct 1972 |

6. | Capacity | 31 Oct 1972 |

7. | Writing Numbers | 7 Nov 1972 |

8. | Two By Two | 14 Nov 1972 |

9. | Money | 21 Nov 1972 |

10. | Made to Measure | 28 Nov 1972 |

11. | Time | 16 Jan 1973 |

12. | Area | 23 Jan 1973 |

13. | Multiplication | 30 Jan 1973 |

14. | More Multiplication | 6 Feb 1973 |

15. | Fair Shares | 13 Feb 1973 |

16. | Share and Share Again | 20 Feb 1973 |

17. | Machine Maths | 6 Mar 1973 |

18. | What Happens Next? | 13 Mar 1973 |

19. | Noughts and Crosses | 20 Mar 1973 |

20. | Is That Likely? | 27 Mar 1973 |

21. | Symmetry | 1 May 1973 |

22. | Fractions | 8 May 1973 |

23. | Round and Round | 15 May 1973 |

24. | Clock Arithmetic | 22 May 1973 |

25. | Maths Around Us | 5 Jun 1973 |

26. | The Circle | 12 Jun 1973 |

Series 2 - with Fred Harris & Jane Alford | ||

1. | Tessellations, Mosaics, Number Tables, Pentominoes | 23 Sep 1975 |

2. | Boxes, Ranking, Dice Numbers, Distribution, Volume | 30 Sep 1975 |

3. | Windmills, Rotation Patterns, Quarter Turns, Number Squares | 7 Oct 1975 |

4. | Nets of Cubes, Ranking Boxes, Area, Dice Sports, Weight | 14 Oct 1975 |

5. | Tessellations, Subtraction, Square Tiles, Stained Glass | 21 Oct 1975 |

6. | Sorting, 3's Number Pattern, Doubling Numbers, Number Sets | 4 Nov 1975 |

7. | Punch Cards, Recording & Sorting, 2's & 3's Number Patterns, Simple Shapes | 11 Nov 1975 |

8. | Concentric Circles, Coil Pots, Beam Compass, Rectangular Numbers | 18 Nov 1975 |

9. | Halving Squares, Tessellations, Joining Points with Lines, Triangular Numbers | 25 Nov 1975 |

10. | Folded Paper Patterns, Snowflakes, Triangular Numbers, Tetrahedron | 2 Dec 1975 |

11. | Mirror Symmetry, Counting Round a Clock Face, Frieze Patterns, 1's & 2's Number Blocks | 13 Jan 1976 |

12. | Shadows, Sundials, Square Numbers, Rotation Patterns, 3's & 4's Number Blocks | 20 Jan 1976 |

13. | Dissecting Hexagons, Rhombus, Tessellations, 3's Table, Route Making | 27 Jan 1976 |

14. | Spirals, Helix, 9's Number Pattern, Route Making | 3 Feb 1976 |

15. | Multiplication Tables, Flow Diagrams, Making a Cube, Folding a Circle | 10 Feb 1976 |

16. | Sorting Quadrilaterals, Mirror Symmetry, Addition Tables, Squares | 24 Feb 1976 |

17. | Symmetry in Capital Letters, 15's Number Game, Water and Cancle Clock | 2 Mar 1976 |

18. | Symmetry in Hexagons, Number Sequences, Pendulums | 9 Mar 1976 |

19. | Tetrahedron, Prime Numbers, Kites | 16 Mar 1976 |

20. | Triangles from Hexagons, 1/2 1/4 1/8 Fractions, 5's 6's 7's 8's Number Blocks | 23 Mar 1976 |

21. | Polyominoes, Tetronimoes, Permutations, Dice Throwing | 27 Apr 1976 |

22. | Rigid Polygons, Number Rows and Columns, Dice Throwing, Number Rods | 4 May 1976 |

23. | Rotating Polygons, Square Numbers, Bridges | 11 May 1976 |

24. | Sorting Square Numbers, Hexagonal Number Spinners, Parallel Lines, Symmetry | 18 May 1976 |

25. | Tetrahedron, Octahedron, Square Numbers, Isosceles Triangles | 25 May 1976 |

26. | Binary Numbers, Parabolas, Flow Charts | 8 Jun 1976 |

27. | Hinged Cubes, 6's Number Bonds, Binary Numbers | 15 Jun 1976 |

28. | Triangular Numbers, Number Blocks, Windmills, Subtraction | 22 Jun 1976 |

## More Programmes

Some random programmes for age 7-9 from the 1970s

Music Time | |

BBC Schools TV | |

1970-1994 | |

Music |

Living in Wales (1978) | |

BBC Schools Radio | |

1978-1991 | |

Miscellany |

Wordplay: That'd be Telling | |

BBC Schools Radio | |

1977-1982 | |

English |

A Place to Live | |

ITV Schools | |

1969-1989 | |

Science |

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