a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Math Patrol (1977)
TV Ontario
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)
Highly Rated!

Contributed by Steve Brandon

"Math Patrol was a 15-minute long educational TV series produced in the late 1970s by TV Ontario about the adventures of a secret agent named "Sydney" who dressed up as a kangaroo with a blue trenchcoat. He got his orders in the form of a slide show from Mr. Big, who we only saw from behind (like George Steinbrenner on Seinfeld)."

Contributed by "Shanto"

"This show provided both education and entertainemt. I used to race home towatch this show, I thought MR BIG was cool. I would love to see this again."

Contributed by John Bower

"I remember watching the Math Patrol as a kid and would get so excited when I was able to get the correct answer during the show! It was one of the best programs produced by TVO at the time!"

Contributed by Jen

"We watched this in school years ago in South Texas. I loved that the characters kept me interested while I was learning to think of math as unintimidating. This was a great show that I wish I had for my kiddos to watch now."

Contributed by Anonymous

I remember seeing this show when I was very young, and of course I did not evaluate it in those terms. I don't really remember what mathematics was covered on the show, or what the storylines were exactly. I do remember being very enamoured with the whole idea, and remember a keen sense of *mathematical inspiration*. The feeling I got was that math was a powerful, interesting thing, that I could have control over if I wanted. It is in this sense that I think the work was valuble. It showed me how math could be mysterious and intriguing and scary and powerful, and drew me to it.

Contributed by Brian Elston

I was the editor on the Math Patrol series for TVO in the 1970's. Clive Vanderburgh was producer/director and Ruth Vernon the educational supervisor. All of the math content was closely scrutinized by the ES and followed the curriculum of the Ontario Ministry of Education. *Everything* that was included in the show, from Sidney's (John Kozak) prediciments to the mathematical calculations to the successful completions of his "mission" were carefully planned and written. To hear that people enjoyed the show, learned something and felt that Math was a little more friendly as a result is very encouraging. The show was a successful venture for TVOntario, and so, it was cancelled right away. :-)

Contributed by Antonette

As a child in about the 2nd grade I remembered watching math Patrol. It holds a very fun and warm place in my memories. In highschool I talked about it all the time to my boyfriend in 1992. As a dating anniversary gift he gave me a tape of math patrol. I do not know how he got the tape considering I had been serching for copies for years. That gift further moved me to believe this man would give me the moon if he could. Now my husband, He is still giving me the moon today.(2006)Thank you Math Patrol.

Contributed by Cindy

I watched this show from the time I was three until the episodes stopped airing, and though I had recurring nightmares about the main character, I couldn't get enough of the show. I wish I could show some of the episodes to my children. I firmly believe this show instilled a love of Math that I still have today.

Contributed by Chris L. Grohusko

This show is still echoing deep in my memory at my age of 33. The show inspired me then about 2nd to 3rd grade and to this day it still has the same adventurous atmosphere. It laid the foundation of imagination for me. Something was magical to me about Sydney standing under a lonesome lightpost in the calm of night and always trying to outwit the shop burglar in that episode with the worms. I still credit my creative success as a nationally known science photographer and astronomer to how this show made imagination and math real adventure.

Contributed by antoinette bulin

Incidentally I worked on the decor of the pilot, a well furnished grocery store. I always dream to see this show again, to inspire my grandchild. One of my sons was truly influenced by this show and math was always an easy play for him. It made it appear enjoyable and somewhat powerful, like the"force". It gave him self-confidence. Is it possible to acquire a CD or a tape of the series? It was just too short, I missed a lot.

I have not seen any authorized DVDs or videotapes of this show, though Antonette above claims to have been able to get a tape. Those desperate for a "fix" of Math Patrol will be pleased to know that at least some of it is available for free on YouTube.

Note that Rick's TV gives a guide describing the plot of each episode of this short-lived but much loved show.

More information about this work can be found at
(Note: This is just one work of mathematical fiction from the list. To see the entire list or to see more works of mathematical fiction, return to the Homepage.)

Works Similar to Math Patrol
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Mad Mathematician (from ITV's Junior Maths) by ITV Schools
  2. Odd Squad by Tim McKeon / Adam Peltzman
  3. MathNet by Childrens Television Workshop
  4. Magic Squares by Paul Calter
  5. Mathmakers by TV Ontario
  6. Cyberchase by Educational Broadcasting Corporation
  7. Donald in Mathmagic Land by Hamilton Luske (director)
  8. Math Curse by Jon Scieszka / Lane Smith (illustrator)
  9. A Tangled Tale by Lewis Carroll
  10. The Number Devil [Der Zahlenteufel] by Hans Magnus Enzensberger
Ratings for Math Patrol:
RatingsHave you seen/read this work of mathematical fiction? Then click here to enter your own votes on its mathematical content and literary quality or send me comments to post on this Webpage.
Mathematical Content:
4.43/5 (14 votes)
Literary Quality:
4.28/5 (14 votes)

GenreHumorous, Didactic, Children's Literature, Adventure/Espionage,
TopicReal Mathematics,
MediumTelevision Series or Episode,

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Exciting News: The 1,600th entry was recently added to this database of mathematical fiction! Also, for those of you interested in non-fictional math books let me (shamelessly) plug the recent release of the second edition of my soliton theory textbook.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)