Would you like to make math more exciting for your child? Have you ever considered using movies as a fun way to teach math? Movies can inspire children in a powerful way, despite how strange it may seem. The audience can be effectively engaged through movies. Whether you want to give them a break from tests, supplement your instruction, or just have some well-deserved fun on a Friday, showing your child a movie with a math theme can be an educational and enjoyable experience.
- Stand and Deliver (PG) – This movie is based on the real-life experiences of math teacher Jaime Escalante and his pupils. The children were failing math, but with hard work and a teacher who believed in them, they beat all the odds and exemplified the concept of the growth mindset. Stand and Deliver is an incredibly inspiring true story that is so moving that both teachers and students should watch it. Showing Stand and Deliver is a no-brainer if you want to inspire students of all backgrounds to reevaluate their personal boundaries and potential for development and achievement.
- A Beautiful Mind (PG-13) – This movie is loosely based on the life of American mathematician and Nobel Laureate in economics John Nash. Nash is mostly known for his contributions to game theory, which aims to devise winning strategies in games of life without knowing what your competitors will do and with fewer options. The movie shares several examples of how math truly is beautiful and how it applies to our everyday lives, more than just an interesting tale of a paranoid mathematician.
- Hidden Figures (PG) – This Oscar-nominated movie is based on the true story of three female African American mathematicians who worked for NASA and had to overcome racial and gender discrimination in the workplace while making a significant contribution to astronaut John Glenn’s ascent into space. The spacecraft’s paths to orbit Earth and land on the Moon are calculated in the movie using the geometry for space travel concept. The Euler’s method, a centuries-old mathematical method for approximating the answers to some differential equations, is also highlighted in the movie.
- Queen of Katwa (PG) – This is the tale of Phiona Mutesi, a young Ugandan child from the countryside. She wishes she could play chess, but she doesn’t have access to a board. Her family is not wealthy enough to purchase one. So she makes the choice to design her own. Her ascent serves as a loose plot point for the movie. An Oxford University study on student performance found that students who watched the biopic about a Kampala slum girl who became the world chess champion as little as one week before final exams did better. According to research, how students feel and are motivated to perform well on a test can be just as important as how they study.4
- Moneyball (PG-13) – A motivational sports movie about Billy Beane, a real-life underdog hero who managed a baseball team, and Peter Brand, an economics graduate. As they attempt to create a competitive sports team using computer and math techniques, the two characters defy convention. Billy Beane made a conscious decision to use the mathematical ideas of statistics and predictive analysis in his selection of position players. Moneyball is the best example you will find of the enormous contribution math makes to the world of professional sports. Your child will gain a better understanding of how math is used in the real world and potential career paths that call for a solid grasp of applied math, such as becoming Major League Baseball scouts.
- The Theory of Everything (PG-13) – This magnificent Stephen Hawking biopic follows his academic career in Cambridge and how he eventually made the black hole discovery. This movie delves deeper than just science and math; it also sheds light on the challenges and conflicts Hawking faced in his personal life as he struggled with motor neuron disease.
- October Sky (PG) – This movie is based on a true story of a boy inspired by Sputnik to use math and science as his ticket to a better life. Children who don’t think math and science are interesting or entertaining are advised to watch this movie. In this fantastic STEM-themed movie, there are many illustrations of how math can be used in practical situations.
- Donald in Mathmagic Land (PG-13) – This adorable animated short movie will be a hit with your child if they like Donald Duck. Any elementary school student who wants to laugh heartily while watching Donald Duck on screen while also learning new math concepts should see this.This classic math movie can help greatly in promoting math education in the most entertaining way.
- Nova: The Great Math Mystery (PG) – The history of math is examined in the movie. It asks a question about the origins of math⏤is it a natural language formed by the universe or an invention of humans? From Pythagoras to Einstein, several mathematicians have attempted to answer this question and made significant discoveries along the way.
- Interstellar (PG-13)– Due to the intense and a little bit difficult-to-understand concept for younger children, it is more of a recommendation for older children. This 2014 science fiction movie directed by Christopher Nolan uses the mathematical and physical concepts of time, gravity, and relativity to guide the audience through its intricate storyline. The movie follows a team of explorers attempting to ensure humanity’s survival by traveling through a wormhole in space. In the movie, humanity’s ultimate survival is hinged on a mathematical equation that is supposed to solve the so-called “gravity problem,” which effectively prevents humans from escaping Earth’s atmosphere. Here’s your chance to show your child that math can take you places!
The use of math concepts in everyday life has been cleverly depicted in these educational math movies. Children are greatly encouraged to explore various math ideas and learn them with increased interest when they watch movies with a mathematical theme. Visit Byju’s FutureSchool Blog to read more intriguing articles like this one if you enjoyed reading this article.
- movies for math students — Blog — Mashup Math. (n.d.). Retrieved June 29, 2022, from https://www.mashupmath.com/blog/tag/movies+for+math+students
- 7 great movies every math lover needs to watch – Education Today News. (n.d.). Retrieved June 29, 2022, from https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/featurephilia/story/7-great-movies-every-math-lover-needs-to-watch-1913388-2022-02-15
- 5 Maths Movies for Kids You Can Show in Class | Blog | Whizz Education. (n.d.). Retrieved June 29, 2022, from https://www.whizz.com/blog/5-maths-movies-for-kids-you-can-show-in-class/
- Lupita Nyongo’s Queen of Katwe movie inspired Ugandan students to perform better on exams — Quartz Africa. (n.d.). Retrieved June 29, 2022, from https://qz.com/africa/1084791/lupita-nyongos-queen-of-katwe-movie-inspired-ugandan-students-to-perform-better-on-exams/