COUNTDOWN is a challenging interactive television math program which has engaged tens of thousands of students through broadcasts on cable television in Chicago. Capitalizing on the one on one relationship a student viewer has with television, COUNTDOWN makes math "work". Each week the program introduces a different math concept through direct instruction and reinforces lessons with literature, manipulatives, activities and related computer instruction. Student viewers are encouraged to call a televised phone number to participate in the show by responding to challenges presented by the on-air educators.
More than three hundred different
COUNTDOWN programs have been broadcast exploring topics many elementary students might not see in their classrooms such as logic, perimeter, area, probability, graphing, congruence, integers and much more. Focusing frequently on "under taught" concepts,
COUNTDOWN shifts the target age for its audience from season to season to maximize the program's reach.
COUNTDOWN also seasonally adjusts curriculum to incorporate specific instruction students need to sharpen test taking skills.
The interactive component of COUNTDOWN's broadcast allows active student viewers to respond to math challenges without the distraction and pressure of fellow classmates but with the benefit of parental involvement at home.(A non confrontational parent tutoring is an added benefit of each COUNTDOWN broadcast.)
COUNTDOWN's call-in format also allows physically challenged students to participate more equitably than is often the case in a classroom.
COUNTDOWN was developed by Dr. Diane Schiller through Loyola University's School of Education and maintains its dedicated broadcast schedule through various grants. Dr. Schiller is joined on the weekly show by colleagues from Loyola and Chicago's public and suburban schools.