Bluey Maths

numeracy leaders teachers Jun 15, 2023

My favourite children’s TV show (and quite possibly favourite show, (apart from Ted Lasso) is ‘Bluey’. It is an Australian animated show that illustrates family life in the most beautiful way. The characters- adults and children- speak to each other with love, respect, humour, and a genuine sense of fun. It is honestly a pleasure to watch every episode. But lately as we watch the Bluey episodes (some for the 100th time), I have been noticing how the directors cleverly embed maths in the storylines.

As you can imagine, I love a TV show that includes maths… but it is big bonus points from me if the maths is integrated through authentic age-appropriate play-based scenarios.

Too often when we see maths on TV or in movies, it is shown as “hard” or “geeky” or something that seems to only happen in school classrooms (It is a great lesson/investigation to ask you class to brainstorm any characters in movies that are ‘good’ at maths? How is their character portrayed? My children are now ‘trained’ to point this out every time we watch a movie- critical literacy at its finest!). Maybe you could start making a list in your class and as students watch movies/TV shows that reference maths they could add it to the list- I remember a 'Prime Number' journal article where Michael Minas did this with his Year 5/6 class and I loved the idea!

Bluey shows the authentic moments that happen everyday, in every household, that can become maths moments. And as you know, that is right in my wheelhouse!

So, with that in mind I thought I would make a list of my top 4 Bluey episodes that include Numeracy themes that you may like to use as inspiration in your class, particularly in the early years (the link won't take you to the exact episode- just the relevant series- so just use the search bar to put in the episode name).

The Dump: Colour Car Game- Bluey and Bingo play the colour car game while they are in the car. The object of the game is to find cars with specific colours. This is a classic game, where children are refining their Classify and Sorting skills…Numeracy tick!

Hide and Seek- In this episode Bluey and Bingo play some very entertaining games of hide and seek- cue counting…tick.

Hotel- Bluey and Bingo set up a hotel in their house and stick room numbers on the doors. A fantastic way to work on number recognition and even ordering numbers.

Takeaway- Bluey and Bingo are waiting for their Chinese Takeaway at the shop. They discuss that their order will be ready in 5 minutes. Bluey asks “How long is 5 minutes?” Dad answers “One episode of Chutney Chips” I love this answer… comparing it to a length of time the kids are familiar with!

Bluey is so good in so many ways, but it even has some super maths weaved in! The producers are pure genius!

Next time you have a spare 7 minutes (each episode is only 7 minutes in duration) I encourage you to watch one of episodes above, or even one of the latest Bluey episodes with your class ‘Cubby’ (Watch here) (even while they are eating lunch or wet day program). See if they can identify how many maths references are made by the characters. When my children watched ‘Cubby’, we identified references including: location, time, distance, height and counting.

This is a great activity for F-6. Everyone will find it fun and engaging (even while eating lunch!).

PS: A new episode of 'Bluey' has been released each Sunday for the last few months. This week's episode 'Cricket' has become my favourite of all time. Not just because of the maths involved, but the beautiful messages of persistence, hard work and practice. If those are qualities you encourage your students to work on- it is an excellent episode to watch and discuss!

P.P.S: You can watch 'Bluey' for free on ABC iView

P.P.P.S has anyone seen Eddie Woo and Lily Serna talking maths on Playschool?! So good for early maths concepts like weight, pattern, capacity, big numbers- more on that in another blog!

Want to learn more from Dr Ange Rogers? Click here to find out about her 'Quality Place Value Assessment in Years 3-6 Mini Course'

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