Maths Challenge TV Workout
Maths Challenge TV Workout is a BBC schools TV series from the 2000s, covering Mathematics for primary school pupils.
Dr Strangeglove, a megalomaniac with a secret headquarters on a glove-shaped island, hatches a variety of evil schemes to inflict mathematical chaos on the world. Debonair super spy Matt Mattics is hot on his trail, and Dr Strangeglove sportingly offers Mattics the chance to save the world by correctly answering a series of mental maths questions. Mattics has enlisted the help of seven-to-nine year-old special agents with specialist knowledge of topics like rounding and prime numbers to answer these questions for him.
The series brought the quick-fire mental maths quiz format, which had been successful in schools radio since 1999, to television for the first time, presented in thrilling spy adventures. The TV series was originally to be called Maths Challenge: Problem Solving. The already-running Maths Challenge radio series did not feature Matt Mattics but instead had a presenter and a friendly maths computer setting the questions. Another contemporary schools radio series, Maths Adventure, did feature a character called Matt Mattic (no "s") in some of the programmes, but he was an enthusiastic young man travelling around the country in a Maths Mobile, rather than a secret agent.
Maths Challenge TV Workout was an engaging mix of several different elements. The characters were animated in two dimensions, and the environments animated in three dimensions. The special agents who answered questions for Matt were real children who came into the animated world as holograms on Matt's wrist-watch.
In the first series, for year 5 pupils, Matt Mattics was licenced to calculate by the HAMM agency: Help Against Muddled Mathematics. In the second series, for year 6 pupils, Matt was given a licence to chill by an organisation called Inter-Math, and received his missions from the lovely Miss Minny-Pinny, with whom he was hopelessly in love. Inter-Math's top secret headquarters, normally an innocent-looking ice cream van, self-destructed on Matt at the end of every episode. The series was full of references to other spy stories, especially the James Bond films.
Matt asked viewing pupils to answer Dr Strangeglove's fiendish questions alongside the special agents on TV, working out the answers in their heads then writing them down, and adding up their score when Dr Strangelove read out the right answers. Children could earn three possible ranks depending on their score: cadet, secret agent or master spy, and they had to earn a certain score to overcome Dr Strangeglove. The three special agents attempting each mission on TV tended to get different scores to reflect different ability levels, and they did not always get high enough scores to beat Strangeglove. Viewers were also set a mission at the end of each programme - a more difficult question to answer for next time.
Quick episode guide
|1.||Multiples and Factors||9 Jan 2002|
|2.||Fractions (Y5)||16 Jan 2002|
|3.||Zeros||23 Jan 2002|
|4.||Decimals (Y5)||30 Jan 2002|
|5.||Doubles and Halves||6 Feb 2002|
|6.||Complements||27 Feb 2002|
|7.||Rounding Numbers||6 Mar 2002|
|8.||Percentages (Y5)||13 Mar 2002|
|9.||Large Numbers||20 Mar 2002|
|10.||Integers||20 Mar 2002|
|1.||Equations||15 Jan 2003|
|2.||Shapes||22 Jan 2003|
|3.||Percentages (Y6)||29 Jan 2003|
|4.||Fractions (Y6)||5 Feb 2003|
|5.||Decimals (Y6)||12 Feb 2003|
|6.||3D Shapes||5 Mar 2003|
|7.||Number Patterns||12 Mar 2003|
|8.||Measures||19 Mar 2003|
Here is a guide to all of Dr Strangeglove's nefarious schemes, and the challenges that Matt and the Special Agents face!
TV Workout Year 5
10-minute long episodes for 9-10 year olds.
|1.||Multiples and Factors||BBC||9 Jan 2002|
|Dr Strangeglove has stolen the microchip from the Maths Challenge computer and taken it to his island hideout. In order to get past Strangeglove's traps, Matt and the Special Agents have to answer questions on multiples and factors.|
|2.||Fractions||BBC||16 Jan 2002|
|Strangeglove has taken over a space station and set up a number ray to destroy all the numbers in the world. Matt faces questions on fractions and quotients as he tries to get on board the space station.|
|3.||Zeros||BBC||23 Jan 2002|
|Strangeglove sets up a maths muddler machine in the middle of the jungle, and Mattics' Special Agents must deal with multiplying and dividing by 10, 100 and 1000.|
|4.||Decimals||BBC||30 Jan 2002|
|Strangeglove has stolen the mystical starlight diamond and hidden it near a volcano. He challenges the Special Agents to find the exact position of a probe on a number line showing tenths and hundredths, and round decimals to the nearest whole number.|
|5.||Doubles and Halves||BBC||6 Feb 2002|
|Dr Strangeglove is trying the cut the underwater maths communications cable, and the Special Agents face questions on doubling and halving in an effort to stop him.|
|6.||Complements||BBC||27 Feb 2002|
|Strangeglove is using a freezeamatic machine in the arctic to throw snowballs all over the world and freeze all of the numbers. The special agents defeat the machine by answering questions on complements to 100, but they still have to defrost the world's numbers by answering questions on complements to 1000.|
|7.||Rounding Numbers||BBC||6 Mar 2002|
|Strangeglove makes time go backwards by turning an ancient wheel of time to minus. While Matt is running backwards and getting younger & younger, the Special Agents answer questions on rounding numbers and measurements.|
|8.||Percentages||BBC||13 Mar 2002|
|Strangeglove has set up a maths number net (with 100 holes) to interfere with maths radio transmissions. The Special Agents attempt to answer questions on percentages and fractions.|
|9.||Large Numbers||BBC||20 Mar 2002|
|Dr Strangeglove is trying to flood the world with large numbers, with a vacuum cleaner that changes small numbers into oversized ones. The Special Agents take multiple choice questions about adding on to large numbers. Strangeglove then turns his attention to a shrink ray, and the Special Agents have to multiply large numbers.|
|10.||Integers||BBC||20 Mar 2002|
|Dr Strangeglove wants to take over the Maths Challenge theme park and sets up a number cruncher to destroy all the rides. The Special Agents must recognise integers and answer questions on negative integers involving Matt travelling on a lift which goes above and below ground.|
TV Workout Year 6
15-minute long episodes for 10-11 year olds.
|1.||Equations||BBC||15 Jan 2003|
|Dr Strangeglove has set up a huge machine in space, stealing all the numbers from Earth and using them to manufacture little boxes of fruit juice. Matt Mattics and the Special Agents must fill in the missing items in equations to save the world's numbers.
The mission begins with simple sums where missing numbers have been replaced by items of fruit, but once Matt boards the Number Juicer he faces full algebraic notation.
|2.||Shapes||BBC||22 Jan 2003|
|Strangeglove has built an evil radio transmitter in the desert which makes everybody in the world say the opposite of what they mean, interferring with Matt Mattics' attempts to flirt with Miss Mini-Pinny. Mattics and the agents must answer multiple-choice questions on 2-dimensional shapes|
|3.||Percentages||BBC||29 Jan 2003|
|Dr Strangeglove has discovered the plug at the bottom of the ocean - and pulled it out! Mattics must get past killer sharks and escape Strangeglove's underwater clutches to replace the plug, by answering questions on percentages.|
|4.||Fractions||BBC||5 Feb 2003|
|Strangeglove plots to generate electric storms from a cave high in the Alps, and Mattics and his agents face questions on equivalent fractions and mixed numbers.|
|5.||Decimals||BBC||12 Feb 2003|
|Miss Mini-Pinny is kidnapped by Dr Strangeglove. Matt attempts to get her back by answering true or false questions on comparing decimal number and fractions. Later he tracks down Strangeglove's fairground headquarters and has to carry out mental calculations with decimals to distinguish the real Miss Mini-Pinny from Strangeglove's army of robot Mini-Pinnys.|
|6.||3D Shapes||BBC||5 Mar 2003|
|Strangeglove is mining diamonds on the moon and using them to construct a "number jumbler", which jumbles up all the telephone numbers on Earth. Matt gets trapped in the mining machinery and has to answer multiple choice questions on 3-dimensional shapes. Then he has to identify 3-dimensional shapes from their nets.|
|7.||Number Patterns||BBC||12 Mar 2003|
|Dr Strangeglove has begun distributing gloves around the world. But these are strange gloves - which cause the wearer to forget how to do maths. Matt and the Special Agents must identify square numbers and prime numbers, and continue number sequences, in order to shut down the strange glove factory.|
|8.||Measures||BBC||19 Mar 2003|
|Dr Strangeglove changes all the normal units of measure like metres, litres and grams into a new unit called the strangeglove.|
|Voices||Jonathan Guy Lewis as Matt Matics & Dr Strangeglove (Year 5)|
|With||Montana Thompson, Matthew Protheroe & Natalie Jones as Special Agents (Year 5)|
|Maths Consultant||Peter Patilla|
|Music & Sound Effects||Derek Nash|
|Animation Director||Ian Sachs|
|Studio Director||Darcia Martin (Year 6)|
|Writer||Simon Davies (Year 6)|
|Executive Producer||Sue Nott|
Two activity packs to support using the programmes in the classroom. Each pack contains a 28-page teacher's book including ten weekly problems and 30 photocopiable activity sheets, plus two large colour posters and a set of 40 pictorial question and answer cycle cards (where each card has the answer to a different question on the back, and the whole class works together).
The packs originally cost £14.99 each.
- TV Workout Year 5 Activity Pack, released late 2001, ISBN 0-563-54347-7
- TV Workout Year 6 Activity Pack, released 2002, ISBN 0-563-54484-8
There were also separate activity packs to accompany the Maths Challenge radio series.
Videos & DVDs
Each series was released as a Video Plus pack containing a video of the episodes and the relevant teacher's activity pack. The Video Plus Packs were originally £29.99 plus VAT. By the time the BBC started offering their schools programmes on DVD Plus packs Maths Challenge TV Workout was no longer on sale.
- TV Workout Year 5 Video Plus Pack, released spring 2002, ISBN 0-563-54346-9
- TV Workout Year 6 Video Plus Pack, released 2003, ISBN 0-563-54485-6
Watch on YouTube. A promo for a potential children's entertainment series about the adventures of Matt Mattics, with clips from both series of Maths Challenge TV Workout.
Sources & References
- BBC (1999) BBC Primary Video Catalogue 1999-2000 for ages 4-11. Wetherby: BBC Educational Publishing.
- BBC (2000) BBC Primary Catalogue 2000-2001. Wetherby: BBC Educational Publishing.
- BBC (2001) BBC Primary Catalogue 2001-2002. Wetherby: BBC Educational Publishing.
- BBC (2002) BBC Primary Catalogue 2002-2003. Wetherby: BBC Educational Publishing.
- BBC (2003a) BBC Primary Catalogue 2003-2004. Wetherby: BBC Educational Publishing.
- BBC (2003b) BBC Television, Radio and Online for Primary Schools 2003-2004. Wetherby: BBC Educational Publishing.
- BBC (2004) BBC Television, Radio and Online Guide Primary 2004/2005. Wetherby: BBC Educational Publishing.
- BBC (2005) BBC Primary Guide 2005/2006. Wetherby: BBC Educational Publishing.
- BBC (2006) BBC Active Primary Catalogue Summer 2006. Wetherby: BBC Active.
- BBC (2007) BBC Active Primary Catalogue Spring 2007. Wetherby: BBC Active.
Some random programmes for age 9-11 from the 2000s
|The Miracle Maker|
|BBC Schools TV|
|BBC Schools TV|
|Expressive Arts Pack|
|BBC Schools Radio|
|BBC Schools Radio|