'Math Bites' show with Danica McKellar makes numbers hip
Get weekly tips on how to incorporate math into your daily life using catchy tunes, puppets, and surprising celebrity cameos thanks to actress Danica McKellar's new show on the Nerdist Channel.
While many fans know Danica McKellar from her role as Winnie Cooper on "The Wonder Years," she also happens to be a best-selling author of the educational books "Math Doesn't Suck," "Kiss My Math," "Hot X: Algebra Exposed," and "Girls Get Curves," geared toward girls to make math more exciting.
She got the brains to back up the books, considering she's a summa cum laude graduate of UCLA with a degree in mathematics. She's also the co-author of a groundbreaking mathematical physics theorem -- the Chayes-McKellar-Winn Theorem.
So if anyone deserves to host a whimsical math show on YouYube's Nerdist Channel, it's her. The show "Math Bites" airs on Thursdays and explores everything from learning how to do math in your head to understanding binary numbers and percents.
Celebrities like Simon Pegg ("The World's End"); Chris Hardwick (Nerdist founder and comedian); Felicia Day ("The Guild"); Jim O'Heir ("Parks and Recreation"); and even a few puppets stop by the show to make math downright hip.
"I want to entertain people while giving them a little slice of math education," McKellar told Crave. "I love breaking stereotypes, and math has a terrible reputation of being too hard, too boring, and pointless. I love showing people that math can be fun, entertaining, and most of all show them that getting good at math will actually make them more powerful and happier."
The episodes include catchy tunes to help viewers remember why math is important to use in everyday life to do things like figure out if department store sales are saving you money and knowing what APR actually means on you credit card bills. There's even a "Takeaway Tip" at the end of each episode, which promises to "make you look smarter at parties."
"Depending on the presentation, math can be fun; but math isn't always fun," McKellar told Crave. "Not getting ripped off is fun; not getting taken advantage of by your credit card company is fun; being in control of your finances is fun; knowing how to save enough money to go on awesome vacation is fun. The more comfortable we are with numbers, the more likely we are to pay attention to all the numbers around us and the more powerful we become in directing the course of our lives. And that's fun!"
Her debut episode of "Math Bites" pays tribute to the number Pi with a song that helps viewers remember the irrational number that you get when dividing any circle's circumference by its diameter.
"'Dance of the Sugar Pi Fairy' was actually the first thing I wrote for the series -- it was inspired in fact by Chris Hardwick and Michael Phirman's Pi song from the 1990s," McKellar said. "I wanted to write a more melodic-girlie-fun Pi song and give it an almost Disney Princess feel. I had so much fun putting the Pi song and video together I couldn't wait to share it."