Lights, Camera, Action……. MATH!
Did you know how many movies there are with an underlying Math Theme? These films are not only great movies, but they also carry with them a fantastic story about the value of math!
The cool thing is that these movies have strong mathematical elements that can spark discussions and help your kids connect with what they are learning in class. So, if you are struggling to find a math movie that is right for your kids, (parental supervision is suggested to determine which film is best for your child) check out the following list, get the popcorn ready, and enjoy!
Stand and Deliver (PG) This movie is based on the real-life experiences of math teacher Jaime Escalante and dropout-prone students. A teacher who believed in the children and hard work helped them overcome all the obstacles and demonstrated what a growth mindset means. Showing Stand and Deliver is a wonderful creative tool to inspire students of all backgrounds to reevaluate their personal boundaries and potential for development and achievement.
Queen of Katwe (PG) This is the tale of a Ugandan girl who sees her world rapidly change after being introduced to the game of chess. 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 a choice to design her own. If you are looking to open up the possibilities of mathematics to a diverse group of students, Queen of Katwe is an excellent option.
A Beautiful Mind (PG-13) The film, A Beautiful Mind is about John Nash, played by Russell Crowe, a famous mathematician and Nobel Prize winner who is bored with his job at MIT and is intrigued to join the Pentagon as a mathematician. The film depicts the beauty of mathematics flawlessly compared to any other movie on the list. It follows a story of a mathematician who is suffering from schizophrenia and some of the most important mathematical discoveries in history.
The Theory of Everything (PG-13) In this superb biopic, we learn about Stephen Hawking's academic career and how he made the discovery of a black hole. This movie delves more profoundly 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.
The Martian (PG-13) The Martian is probably the best STEM movie ever. This is the movie about an astronaut who becomes stranded on Mars after his team assumes him dead, and must rely on his ingenuity to find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. If you are looking to show your kids that math can take you places, then The Martian is your best choice!
October Sky (PG) Based on a true story about a boy who was inspired by Sputnik to use math and science to achieve success. 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.
These educational math movies cleverly illustrate how math concepts are used in everyday life. When children watch movies with a mathematical theme, they learn various math ideas with increased interest.