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Make Room For Numbers

August 29, 1993|N.F. MENDOZA N.F. MENDOZA..BD: TIMES STAFF WRITER

"Math is fun" now seems like a timeworn adage. Certainly, many educational shows have tried to present math in something other than a dreaded light.

Something alluded to, but not entirely tackled, is the significant fact that math has practical value.

The KCET-produced "Count On Me" points out that by the time a child has completed the third grade, he or she already is turned off or on to mathematics for life.

"A child's attitude toward math is often transferred from their parents; if a parent is 'math-phobic' then it is likely the child will be," says David Crippens, senior vice president of KCET's Educational Enterprises.

The special uses comedy, drama, music, animation and celebrity vignettes (celebs include Sarah Jessica Parker, Paula Poundstone, Shelley Long, Reba McEntire, Shari Lewis & Lamb Chop, Siskel & Ebert, Angela Bassett, Jay Leno, Branford Marsalis and the cast of "The Addams Family").

"It's basically a check system to remind parents to get involved with their kids and math," says show star Michael DeLorenzo. "It emphasizes how parents can teach their kids about numbers and counting and math through everyday activities, such as cooking and laundry."

"Math is such a taboo subject for a lot of kids," show co-star Mary Jo Keenen says. "This show will make math more accessible and a fun, warm thing."

"Count On Me" airs Sept. 7 at 8 p.m. on KCET.

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