Math is Figure-Out-Able!

Ep 199: Numberblocks

April 09, 2024 Pam Harris Episode 199
Ep 199: Numberblocks
Math is Figure-Out-Able!
More Info
Math is Figure-Out-Able!
Ep 199: Numberblocks
Apr 09, 2024 Episode 199
Pam Harris

Real math is never fun and cute, or is it? In this episode Pam and Kim discuss a cartoon they've fallen in love with that builds number sense intuitively and entertainingly.
Talking Points:

  • What is Numberblocks? What makes it stand our?
  • Different representations of numbers
  • Squares
  • Doubling
  • Math symbols
  • Odd and even
  • Who is Numberblocks for?

Check out our social media
Twitter: @PWHarris
Instagram: Pam Harris_math
Facebook: Pam Harris, author, mathematics education
Linkedin: Pam Harris Consulting LLC 

Show Notes Transcript

Real math is never fun and cute, or is it? In this episode Pam and Kim discuss a cartoon they've fallen in love with that builds number sense intuitively and entertainingly.
Talking Points:

  • What is Numberblocks? What makes it stand our?
  • Different representations of numbers
  • Squares
  • Doubling
  • Math symbols
  • Odd and even
  • Who is Numberblocks for?

Check out our social media
Twitter: @PWHarris
Instagram: Pam Harris_math
Facebook: Pam Harris, author, mathematics education
Linkedin: Pam Harris Consulting LLC 

Pam  00:00
Hey, fellow mathematicians! Welcome to the podcast where Math is Figure-Out-Able! I'm Pam!

Kim  00:06
And I'm Kim.

Pam  00:07
And you found a place where math is not about memorizing and mimicking, where you're waiting to be told or shown what to do. But ya'll it's about making sense of problems, noticing patterns and reasoning using mathematical relationships. We can mentor students to think and reason like mathematicians do. Not only are algorithms not particularly helpful in teaching mathematics, but rotely repeating steps actually keep students from being the mathematicians they can be. Hey, Kim. 

Kim  00:34
Hi. How are you? 

Pam  00:35
I'm good. I think allergies are hot and heavy in Texas right now. (unclear) 

Kim  00:39
(unclear). Yes.

Pam  00:40
Yeah, what's in the air. 

Kim  00:42

Pam  00:43
Alright, so we both sound like we're allergying. So, everybody just forgive us that we sound like croaky today. 

Kim  00:47
I'll try really hard not to sneeze.

Pam  00:50
Okay, and i won't cough. There you go.

Kim  00:52
Sorry. Sorry, editor.

Pam  00:53
Make me laugh.

Kim  00:54
I have to tell you that getting ready for this episode might be one of the most fun.

Pam  01:01
Kim gave me an assignment. She's like, "Pam..."

Kim  01:05
"Go watch TV."

Pam  01:08
Exactly right. Which it wasn't even TV because I just pulled it up on YouTube, which was on my phone. Yeah. Mmhm. Yeah. 

Kim  01:14
Okay, so not too terribly long ago, we came across a really super, super fun show. And you can tell about how we came across that. But we want to talk today about the show Numberblocks 

Pam  01:30

Kim  01:31
Yeah, and I know that some teachers probably know about this show, but not all do. But we're going to talk about it a little bit today because we think it's really fantastic. And do you remember

Pam  01:41

Kim  01:41
Oh, yeah. I listened to one again this morning, just because they're short and cute. So, do you remember? I know we stumbled across it again. But do you remember when I first mentioned the show to you? It's been a while. 

Pam  01:57
It's been a while, yeah. I remember you telling me about it, and I remember thinking, "A cartoon? Whatever, Kim. A stupid cartoon about about math. Yeah, I'm sure it's great. Whatever." And I just totally discounted it. But you had said something about like that Cooper was actually interested. You guys had a conversation. And yeah. Honestly, I kind of discounted it. Until. Until we were at NCTM 2023, and Hand to Mind introduced us to Joe Elliott, who is the founder and creator of Numberblocks. He's a delightful British gentleman, and he started talking about the mathematics behind what they did. And I was chagrined because I was like, "Yeah, Kim, tried to get me to watch it. I never actually did." So, I kind of pulled up a few things on my phone, so I could kind of at least know what, you know, you guys were talking about. But the more he talked about it, the more intrigued I got. And then, even as intrigued as I was when I finally went to watch it, I was blown away by the math that's correct. Like, it's not only correct, but it's well done and it's interesting. Yeah. So, let's talk about Numberblocks today, Kim. 

Kim  02:18
Yeah. Well, and I have to tell you that I... You know, there's so many cartoon, catchy, whatever things about math for young kids, and many of them are... Mmm. (unclear). I mean, there's... You know, they try. But when I... I'll be honest with you. I was scrolling Netflix, and I was like, "Okay, this is going to be awful. This is going to be horrible too." 

Pam  03:30
That's how you found it was just scrolling Netflix? 

Kim  03:32
Oh, yeah. Well, I mean, I have kids, and so we just kind of sort out our. Anyway. So.

Pam  03:38
So, you weren't scrolling for you and your husband to watch?

Kim  03:41
No. But I did. I saw it, and I was like, "Oh, that's going to be horrible. And to prove myself right, I turned on an episode. And I think I just picked one kind of in the middle. And I was like, "Huh." And I watched like four or five in a row because they're short. But yeah. I called my younger son, and I was like, "Hey, what do you think about this?" And, you know, whatever. We can talk more about who it's for. But yeah. I was interested (unclear). 

Pam  04:12
You know, I remember when you first told me about it. Around the same time, I was at a conference and Hand to Mind had a booth, and they had kind of linking cubes set up. And linking cubes are not my favorite manipulative. The only link one way. It's like, eh, they're just not. They're fine. You can do some things with them. But I don't think there's a panacea that they were kind of made out to be, you know like, the big one. You know like, "You could do all the things with..." Anyway, so I kind of had a taste in my mouth with linking cubes. Again, they're not bad. They're just not the, you know, winning everything. And I saw some linking cubes stacked up, and I remember you talking about the show, and my instant reaction was, "Yeah, if you just like line up a bunch of linking cubes, you're going to have kids stuck in counting strategies. 

Kim  04:57

Pam  04:58
And I don't want to promote kids, you know, always counting by ones. So, I totally just discounted it. I was like A, (unclear) B, you're just... All I could picture was that they were going to stack the linking cubes up, and they would all be one color, and you couldn't really tell, and you'd have to count by ones. And I super just discounted that it could be any good whatsoever. And then... I now know better. Alright. So, Kim, tell us some things that you love about Numberblocks 

Kim  05:28
Yeah, so we've already said a couple of times it's cute. And really, that's not kind of my thing. So, I don't... I mean, okay.

Pam  05:36
Things could be cute and be terrible math. So, then we would not be suggesting (unclear).

Kim  05:40
Yeah, 100%. So, one of the things I noticed right away is that they have a variety of models and representations to demonstrate number. So, it's not like...

Pam  05:51
Like, I just said the one stack of all one color cube. 

Kim  05:55

Pam  05:55

Kim  05:56
In fact, they make a big deal about Joe and his team, make a big deal for the characters that they can change shape based on what's happening in the story. So, sometimes a 3 might look a certain way, or you know a 9. A 9 might look a certain way depending on the point of of the story that he's in. But then, it might look a different way if they're focusing on like square numbers in the story.

Pam  06:22
Yeah, so let's be really specific. So, you might see a 1 by 9. Or well, I guess it would be a 9 by 1, right? 9 cubes.

Kim  06:29
Well, they have both. 

Pam  06:31
There you go. But usually, I think that the typical view is a 9 by 1. 

Kim  06:34

Pam  06:35
So, it's a tall tower of 9 cubes. But like you said, sometimes 9 might be a 3 by 3. A square. And they'll build it with like 3. "3 plus 3 plus 3 is 9." And see, now I shouldn't sing.

Kim  06:53
Your in Grandma mode.

Pam  06:55
I am in Grandma mode. 

Kim  06:56

Pam  06:56
I had him yesterday, and I will have him again today. I am loving my grandson close. Anyway, so yeah. And then, you might look at a 1 by 9 if it's laying down flat. You also might look at a 9 as a 10 where the top cube is in shadow. 

Kim  07:15

Pam  07:16
You also might look at a 9 as a 2 by 5 ten. A 10 that's a 5 by 2 really. A 5 by 2. Where the the top right one is in shadow. 

Kim  07:25

Pam  07:26
So, it almost looks like a 10. It's just 1 less than 10. I mean, and like you said, it depends on what they're trying to go for in the story. And so, what's brilliant is they've created stories where they then showcase these different representations of numbers. I know we were talking about 9, but if I can just throw in that there was one I saw recently on 18. And so, often in the teens... Now, I haven't watched them all. But from what I could see is they would often show it as a 1 by 10 plus the 1 by whatever. So, if it was 18, they would have a 1 by 10. Sorry, a 10 by 1. I'm saying that wrong. 10 tall, 10 tall. A cube train that's 10 tall by 1, and then a cube train that's 8 tall. And so, they have this 10 and 8. And they're like, "10 and 8, that's 18." And they stick them together. And then, it kind of looks like this almost like a 10 by 2, which would be 20, right? With kind of those 2 missing. 

Kim  08:23

Pam  08:23
Is that 10 and that 8. So, it's brilliant, spatial way of kind of saying, "Hey, 18 is 10 and 8. But now we stick them together. Ooh, it's almost a 20. It's just 2 less than 20." 

Kim  08:35

Pam  08:35
(unclear) these shadow things going on. Yeah, and then the 18 can be all these different shapes, right? Because it could be that funny where it was a 10 plus 8, but it could also be, what, 9 tall by 2. And it could be 6 tall by 3. Did I get them all? 

Kim  08:53

Pam  08:53
And then, all those laying down. Yeah. And they do that not all at once, not quickly, not like, "Bam, memorize these. But they'll have a whole episode on one of those ways of representing the number which, yeah, is totally cool.

Kim  09:08
Well, yeah, I'm glad you said that. Because I expected, you know, the first episode to be about number 1. And then, number 2, number 3, number 4. And so, I skipped ahead to like, I don't know, 64 or something like that, thinking that I knew what it was going to be. And the number was significantly lower than I thought it was going to be. And I was like, "What in the world?" And so, you know, one of the really nice things is that they take time to develop, really, really develop the characteristics of the characters by the attributes of that number. So, in the teens, they might have an episode about all the teens, and then you know another episode about the teens changing, and then each of the teens. So, they don't just blow through one number at a time.

Pam  09:54
I think even the number 2 had like three episodes. 

Kim  09:57

Pam  09:58

Kim  09:58
And you would think, "Okay, that's kind of boring." But there's so much within those episodes. And they're short, really short episodes. But there's so much happening within it that you're like, "Oh, how did they think about putting that much into an episode about the number 2?" 

Pam  10:14
Yeah. And you kind of mentioned personality. It's fun that they've created different personalities for the different numbers. They have different voices voice the numbers, and those voices kind of play on these personalities. So, the numbers really sound different. And sometimes they'll count or the, you know, numbers kind of call out, you can totally tell that it's a different person vocalizing that number. So, there's kind of some fun things that aren't necessarily numerical with that, but that then help kind of make the numbers come alive. Like, each of them have a personality, and they have kind of a way that they act, and they have maybe different goals, which also plays into some of the humor that shows up. 

Kim  10:54

Pam  10:55
Which is also fun.

Kim  10:56
Yep. What about...

Pam  11:00
While you're thinking, let me dive into the fact that when they do those different shapes of numbers. Shapes. Orientation. Arrangement. Arrangements of the cubes. So, these are all built on these 1 by 1 by 1 cubes, right? They also then play on things like the number three looks like a triangle. So, they'll arrange it, so it looks like a triangle. And the number 4 is... There was an episode where they said, "4 square hens laying 4 square eggs." 

Kim  11:28
Oh, yeah.

Pam  11:28
(unclear) the whole song goes on and on about all these square things. And 4 is big deal about being a square, and then later they introduce the square club. And which numbers can belong to the square club. And at one point, they said something about, "No circles allowed here." And so again, they're just kind of like... Like you said, it's a short episode. But the entire episode is kind of "No circles here because we're in the square club." So, lots of really nice. We're not just learning the names of shapes, but we're also connecting shapes to number. So, 4 is in the square club. What's the next number that can be in the square club? "Well, that's a good question, listeners, right?" Like, what is the next number that could be in the square club? And so, you know, I don't think that they talk about the square club until they have a few squares. Now, I haven't watched them all. But I would assume that they have like 9 in the square club and 16 in the square club. Maybe before they start talking about. I don't know. But for sure then like, what are the numbers in this square club? Well, they're the numbers that can be represented as a square. So, nine is a 3 by 3, and 16 is a 4 by 4, and 25 is a 5 by 5. Numbers that can be represented as a square. So, that's a really nice connection that I appreciated.

Kim  12:43
Mmhm. And I'm glad you mentioned that because as I was thinking just now, one of the I think really important things to draw out is that they, in this show, tackle some of these really important concepts head on. They just say, "It is." Right, like a lot of times in math classes, we prep with vocabulary, and then we give four examples. But they have these characters who just embody the characteristics, and then they  tag it after we've already seen several of the things happen, right? So..

Pam  13:16
Mmm, that's nice. Yeah, yeah.

Kim  13:17's, you know, I'm thinking like, as a third grade or fourth grade teacher, I would absolutely show an episode that's a couple of minutes about the square numbers and have a conversation or have kids build what would be the next one that's in the square club. It's not too young that older kids wouldn't find some important mathematics within it, and then want to be diving into the next challenge related to that episode. 

Pam  13:45
Totally. And I think there's enough humor and good comedic timing. 

Kim  13:50

Pam  13:50
And it's witty that you know like you and I appreciated it. I think kids appreciate some of that. At some point, one of the numbers falls in a hole, and just the timing of it was so funny. 

Kim  13:58

Pam  13:59
That I was like, "Oh. Like this is clever." Clever and witty. 

Both Pam and Kim  14:02

Kim  14:02
It's definitely not corny. I mean, there are some, you know, younger humor as well. But when we met Joe, you know, we walked away saying, "Oh, he's sharp."

Pam  14:12
He's sharp. Yeah, he was witty.

Kim  14:14
He's intelligent. And you can see that come out in the episode. And one last thing is that, you know, there's nothing that you and I went, "Mmm, that's not really mathematically accurate." They're just getting by saying (unclear)."  

Pam  14:30
Are you saying you and I make that sound. "Mmm."

Kim  14:32
Listen, I mean, we can. When it comes to... I wouldn't say this in general about us as personalities. But when it comes to math, we're kind of a little judgy.

Pam  14:43
We want to do it right. Right? 

Kim  14:44
Listen, but what that means is if we say like, "This thing is worth doing," then I think that's... You know, if our opinion matters at all. I think that it's important, right?

Pam  14:57
You don't have to wonder.

Kim  14:58
(unclear) judicial.

Pam  14:59
Yeah, you don't have to wonder if we're just saying it because. You know like somebody said, "Hey, talk about Numberblocks, will you?" And we're like, "Oh, sure, if you pay." Like, we're talking about Numberblocks because we are honestly impressed and think that they are useful. And like you just said, mathematically correct, mathematically accurate.  Yeah. Kim, can I just tell you a few things that are just not mathematical for just a second because I just thought it was funny. So, parents, teachers, here's the thing to know. He's a Brit, and this was made... Oh, all of a sudden my brain just stopped. BBC? Right? It was made for the BBC, I'm pretty sure. And so, the speakers are British. The singers are British. And so, there's things. You know, they talk about queuing up, getting the queue. Instead of get in the line, get in the queue. The number 2, 2 has just a little bit of a. And it's football, not soccer. And they're going to sort us out. And, "I don't know about that. And "Now, in my house." See, I don't do very well. But, anyway. I wish my my British accent was a little bit better. But you might find your youngsters coming away thinking that number sound British. And I'm totally okay with that. I think accents are amazing. I also thought the songs were catchy. One of the things that Joe talked about was that he wanted to be really intentional about having good songs. 

Kim  16:15
And didn't he say that he wrote a good portion of them?

Pam  16:19
I think so. Yeah. 

Kim  16:19
Or he was at least heavily involved in writing for those.

Pam  16:22
I believe so. Yeah. And they're good. I mean, it's catchy, delightful kinds of... Yeah, it was really fun. 

Kim  16:29

Pam  16:29
One of the things that I wanted to mention was that, like you said earlier, they build each number one at a time. And often, they'll spend more than one episode on a number or even more than a couple episodes on a number. As they build the numbers one at a time, they will build them both with addition and subtraction. So, they'll have sort of, "Let's build up to that number." But then they'll also have, "Ooh, but we could build back to that number." So, like I said earlier, you might see the 10, and the 1 cube missing for 9. That's kind of a nice, you know, sort of shadow view of like what it could be but we're missing just this 1. But they also then will take like a bigger number and break it up, so they'll have... Even a early episode, the number three would... I don't even remember what happened. It bumps into something, and then all of a sudden, it's 2 and 1. Or it bumps into something else and all of a sudden it's 1, 1, and 1. And they have this mirror that the blocks can go in front of, and then that duplicate them, and now those duplicate blocks can jump on top of the original, and bam, it turns into the new one. So.

Kim  17:32
So great for doubling.

Pam  17:34
Yes, yes, absolutely. Because the number 2 is looking in the mirror, and all of a sudden there's his friend is another number 2. And when those two number 2s are together, then the 2 can jump on top of the other one, and now they have a 4 by 1. Or they can like stick next to each other, and now it's a 2 by 2. So, lots of just fun kinds of ways of building numbers by building them up, but also like breaking up the bigger number into the smaller ones. Kind of fun. They also use common things for that number to represent that number to be connected to that number. So, for example, when they introduce the number 5, the number 5 has a hand next to the 5 blocks. It's kind of odd. Like this hand sort of sticking out of the blocks. But they do high fives, and they show fingers, and they have a five pointed star. And just sort of lots of things that are kind of five-ness that are involved as they kind of introduce that particular number. They bring out typical things that could be connected with that number. A mathy thing that I noticed that I thought was like, "Oh, that was nicely done," is they'll do things like say lots of common things for the number 3. Like "Here's 3 pigs." And they'll go, "1, 2, 3. Here's 3 pigs. So, it's, "1, 2, 3. There's 3 trees." Meaning that they're bringing out cardinality. So, they're not just "1, 2, 3. 1, 2, 3. 1, 2, 3." They're saying, "1, 2, 3. There's 3 pigs. They're counting, and then they're accurately saying that the last number in the count represents the count. "1, 2, 3. There's three trees." Like, where's a cartoon creator that knows that's a thing that we want to create in kids? And they do. it really well. Yeah. Kim, I thought maybe you could tell us about one of your favorite episodes.

Kim  19:34
Oh. So, I just rewatched this morning, actually. So, there are so many that you could choose from. And like I said, you could start at the beginning. But I recommend that you check out one of these two. So, I really liked the 0 episode. And I'll just point out.

Pam  19:48
That must be the first one right? The 0 episode.

Kim  19:50
Well, no. So, 0 doesn't come up until season 3. I think it's like episode 5 or 8. So, that maybe speaks a little bit to... you know, you could question like, "Why does 0 come so late?" Well, 0 is a complicated idea, right?" So, 0... 

Pam  20:07
Came late in the history of humans making math. Yeah, mmhm. 

Kim  20:10
And so the way they talk about 0 is, you know, he shows up. Maybe it's a girl. Anyway, they show up because they're trying to give away a pie or something, and so the 3 takes 1 away, gives us the 2, takes 1 away, gives the one, and the 1 turns with his (unclear). And then like, he doesn't know what happens when he gets rid of his 1. But then, all of a sudden, 0 pops up. And what I love the most is that 0 is just a mouth. So, there's no... You know, each of them are represented. They have like 2 blocks with the 2 above their head. Or 3 blocks with the 3 above their head.

Pam  20:42
With the numeral 3. 

Kim  20:43

Pam  20:44
10 blocks with the numeral 10 above, mmhm.

Kim  20:46
So, you just have this mouth floating around. And the first thing they say is, "Where are your blocks?!" And he was like, "I don't have any!" So, then he launches into a song. And in the song, it talks about scenarios where you don't have anything. And he uses words in the song like "nothing" and "none". "So, some of these common words that represent 0. So, super cute, super clever.

Pam  21:09
I have not seen that one.

Kim  21:10
Oh, you should check it out.

Pam  21:11
When we're done, I will go check out the mouth 0. That's hilarious. 

Kim  21:14
Season 3.

Pam  21:15
You know, you can just almost see them thinking, "How are we going to accurately represent this if..."

Kim  21:21

Pam  21:21
"...all the other numbers have these blocks." Yeah (unclear)

Kim  21:23
It's a weird thing to try to represent. 

Pam  21:25
You know, speaking of representing, one of the things that I liked that there was an episode where they said, "Are we all here?" And then, as they were sort of, "Are we all here?" then they would go 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5." And as they would do that, they would light up the squares on each of them. So, you would see the 1 light up, and then you would see the 2 light up, and then 3 light up. And the order with the music from smallest to biggest also had a low tone to a high tone. And then, they were all like, "Oh, we're all here. Off we go onto a big adventure." It's just super clever, nice ordering. Speaking of ordering, I saw one this morning. So, I don't quite have it memorized yet, but it had everything to do with balancing a bridge. "Oh, we have to get across the bridge, but we have to balance it. Well, there's..." And I don't remember the number. "...there's 13 over here. So, we've got 10 on this side, what do we need to balance?" And then they were discussion about what they would do. And while they were talking about balancing, they had the greater than and less than symbols showing up to say if we only have 10 on this side and 13 on this side, the greater than, less than symbol was correct to show that 13 was greater than the 10. And then when they had the three jump on, so that they were equal than the equal sign shows up. So, like lots of nice ways of having those symbols show up to represent situations that are happening. I thought that was pretty nice. Okay, I think you've got maybe one other episode that you want to tell us about today.

Kim  22:49
So, the odds and evens episode. I can't remember where this one is. But the characters have to split themselves into a team to play football or basketball. And one of the things that they did early on was they demonstrated the dealing out. So, number one was a team, and then number two was a team. Instead of just saying, "Hey, let's make two teams," and the character scurry off. They deal out "I'm 1, your 2. So, 3 for me, 4 for you." Meaning the character name. And so, they deal out. And it reminded me of when you went into a kindergarten class, and you were like, "Hey, take half." And I totally thought of you the first thing. 

Pam  23:27
And those kids had never dealt out cards.  I was like, "Ya'll, play cards with your kids," where you have to deal out, so that they know you get one, you get one, you get one, you get one. Then, when we have equal piles. That's awesome. So, they were dealing out to make sure that they had the same number on teams. Cool. 

Kim  23:45
And so, they wanted to give themselves team names. And one of the characters says, "Let's be the yellow team! And the other ones look at him like, "No, that only is you. Not us." And so, they were looking at each other trying to figure out what they had in common. And somebody threw a ball up, it hit him on the head. But the four could roll the ball back and forth. And the ball is staying on its head because (unclear).

Pam  24:07
Because it was a square.

Kim  24:08

Pam  24:08

Kim  24:08
Mmhm. They were in a 2 column. And so, they all wanted to try it, and they could all roll the ball back and forth. And they said something about, "Oh, it's because we have flat, even heads." And then the other, the odds couldn't do it. And they talked about their odd. They have an odd (unclear).

Pam  24:25
Let me just stop you for a second because I'm just trying to picture this. So, this time the numbers were arranged that if you were an odd number, you were like a 5 by 1, or a 7 by 1, or whatever. And if you were an even number, you weren't that way. You weren't a 4 by 1. You were a 2 by 2. 

Kim  24:41
Oh, no, no. So, the odds, they were in a column of twos. Like, 2 columns, but they had a block. They're odd block stuck out. So, when their ball tried to roll, they bumped into the extra block on the top. Ah. (unclear) So, they couldn't roll the ball.

Pam  24:59
So, the evens were in 2 columns. 

Kim  25:00

Pam  25:01
So, like a 6 would have been 2 columns of 3. 

Kim  25:03

Pam  25:04
And an 8 would have been 2 columns of 4.

Kim  25:05

Pam  25:06
I got to do one more. A 10 would have been 2 columns of 5.

Kim  25:08

Pam  25:08
But the 3 was a column of 2 and a 1.

Kim  25:12

Pam  25:12
And the 5 was a column of 3 and 2.

Kim  25:17
2 columns of 2, and then 1 extra on top was the 5. 

Pam  25:22
Right. So, like one of the columns was 3 and one of the columns was 2. 

Kim  25:25
Oh, yeah. Mmhm. Yeah. 

Pam  25:26
But yeah, it looked like the even number before it. But with 1 more block. 

Kim  25:30
Yes, exactly. 

Pam  25:31
Ah, and that's why the ball couldn't roll because... 

Kim  25:33

Pam  25:34
I was picturing it falling off of one block. But you're like, "No, it would like bump into the other block.

Kim  25:38
Yep, and then it rolled off. Yep. 

Pam  25:39

Kim  25:41
So, that one was important, right? The shape of them was really important for this episode because it was about comparing odds of evens. And the whole episode was about how they had this extra odd piece on top of their head. 

Pam  25:53
literally called, like the teams were called Odd and Even.  And then, they

Kim  25:56

Pam  25:56
Oh, that's amazing. Because even head, the ball could roll. Cool. So, you've just picture these writers, you know like, thinking about, "How can we do odd and even? And how can we create a story that's kind of motivating and works?" That's awesome.

Kim  26:09

Pam  26:09
Nicely done. Hey, one more quick thing, Kim.

Kim  26:11

Pam  26:12
A quick episode that I caught. I shouldn't say "quick". I only watched part of it. But it was doing that thing in YouTube where it just kind of skips ahead. It said, "An Iffer machine. Let's do the what if!" And I was like, "The what? The Iffer machine?"And it is a "What if" machine where it does something about like, what if, and you sort of... And I don't even know any more about that. But I thought about your wonder game. Do you remember when your kids were like, "Mom, let's play the wonder game."

Kim  26:38

Pam  26:39
And I was like, "Oh my gosh! No wonder you like Numberblocks. It has an Iffer machine!" What if? I like that. Anyway, I thought about you. Alright, Kim, who is this for?

Kim  26:48
Yeah, we got to wrap this up. We're getting excited about it. So, obviously young kids, right? It's a kid cartoon. So, I have a teacher friend who's a kindergarten teacher, and I went to do some strings in her classroom. And she, you know, they have one bathroom in their classroom. And so, she said, it takes some time to get kids after recess to go the bathroom. So, she turns on an episode. And the kids, you know, instead of, you know, wandering around, they sit down, and they watch an episode of Numberblocks, which I thought was brilliant. But also, I have to tell you that when I watched. I think I mentioned it earlier. When I watch these episodes, my kids came wandering in because they were probably like, "What are you doing?" But they both slowly, like sat down on the bed and we're intrigued. And the conversations we had were what math is in here? And so, they were looking for mathy things.

Pam  27:37
Because your kids are not young at this point, right?

Kim  27:40
No, no, no. 

Pam  27:40
Your kids are teenagers. 

Both Pam and Kim  27:41
Yeah, yeah.

Kim  27:42
I think this would be a great thing to do with pre-service teachers to say, What math is involved in this content, this type of number? And what what are you noticing?" I mean, can they pick out the math? What are they noticing about odds and evens that maybe hadn't occurred to them? You know, and they're ready to turn around, work with kids.

Pam  28:03
Nice. Nice. Yeah, I tell you what. My grandchild is only about five months right now, but it's in the plan. It is in the plan. Yeah. When when his parents decide that the TV is a thing or shows are a thing, then Numberblocks are going to be the thing Grandma is showing.

Kim  28:18
I think there's little characters. You can have stuffed animal Numberblocks at your house. 

Pam  28:22
Hey, there you go. That will be super fun. Alright. 

Kim  28:24

Pam  28:25
Ya'll, thank you for tuning in and teaching more and more real math. To find out more about the Math is Figure-Out-Able movement. Visit And keep spreading the word that Math is Figure-Out-Able!