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PBS KIDS Odd Squad

Learning Goals

Odd SquadOdd Squad emphasizes problem solving, teamwork and perseverance in every strange and hilarious new assignment agents Olive and Otto tackle, using effective mathematical practices and critical mathematics concepts and skills to ultimately solve each case.  In other words: Odd is the Problem, Math is the Solution. 

Problem Solving
As they encounter and investigate each new case, Odd Squad agents model mathematical practices, including reasoning as they think aloud and ask questions to critique reasoning and clarify. 

Odd Squad agents work as a team using mathematics to solve each case.  This kind of project-based problem-solving follows the comprehensive and integrated approach to mathematics learning that young viewers are practicing in the classroom and experiencing in their everyday lives.  In general, Odd Squad is a place where teamwork is expected and all kids are important contributors.   

During each of Olive and Otto’s cases there is frequently an “all is lost” moment in which the trail runs cold or the reasoning turns out to be faulty.  Instead of giving up, our heroes re-double their efforts, re-examine the evidence and inevitably come up with the solution that solves the case.  Perseverance is valued here!

Odd Squad agents enjoy themselves.  While fulfilling their roles as persistent problem solvers and collaborators, they’re also having fun.  Like all kids, the agents learn through play, allowing them to work on their ever growing sense of self competence.

Mathematical Understandings and Skills
The specific mathematical understandings and skills covered in Odd Squad fall into the following categories:

  • Numbers and Number Operations – Counting, number relations and operations
  • Geometry and Spatial Sense – Two and three dimensional shapes and their attributes, spatial and mapping skills
  • Measurement – Length, capacity, weigh, time, money and temperature
  • Data – Collecting, organizing, presenting and analyzing data
  • Algebraic Thinking – patterns, working with expressions and equations, and deductive reasoning

Math curricular topics are integrated into the narrative storylines of each episode of Odd Squad.  Here are examples of how mathematics is integral to Odd Squad stories:

“Blob on the Job” – When a blob escapes from Oscar’s lab, Olive and Otto battle rival agents to see who can capture it first. The problem is, the liquid blob keeps splitting apart. Throughout the episode, Olive and Otto learn how to measure capacity so they can figure out how much blob they have and how much is still out there to be captured.

“Bad Luck Bears” – When odd things start happening to Olive’s favorite basketball team, the agents quickly determine the team has a case of the unlucky 13s. In order to rid the players of bad luck, Olive and Otto must eliminate all traces of the number 13. They must also get rid of anything that adds up to 13. Throughout the episode, Olive and Otto learn there can be many ways to add up to the same number.

“Agent Obfusco” – When Otto and Olive find out that Agent Obfusco is administering their Odd Squad Test, they are nervous. Obfusco, you see, is quite the original – clad with a cowboy hat and bolo tie. Oh, and he only speaks in word problems. Throughout the episode, Olive and Otto realize that once they ignore any useless information provided in the problem, leaving only what’s relevant, they can find a solution. 


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