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10 Best Documentaries for Teaching Mathematics
posted by: Melissa | April 19, 2017, 06:28 PM   

We’re finishing our series on documentaries for the classroom with math. While some might not automatically put math and documentary together, we’re able to recommend the following list. Also, don’t forget to check out our previous entries for social studies, science, and English/Language Arts on our blog already.

  1. The Secret Rules of Modern Living: Algorithms – Created by the BBC, this documentary explains what an algorithm is and how their use determines much of what we do day to day.
  2. The Story of Maths – This is actually a series that was created in Britain. Over four episodes, it teaches about the history of mathematical thought and how its developments affects the world today. It’s available both on Netflix and through clips on Youtube.
  3. The Code – The Code is yet another BBC created series about math and its interaction with the world. This time it explores the interaction between math and life.
  4. The Story of 1Monty Python’s Terry Jones puts a humorous twist on mathematical theory, focusing on the development of arithmetic in Sumeria, the Pythagorean theory, and the development of zero.
  5. Between the Folds – This documentary looks at one of the most forward-thinking aspects of modern mathematics – folding. Its focus on a concrete outcome can connect with and inspire students.
  6. The Great Math Mystery – This is a PBS documentary that explores whether math is a man-made invention or a natural part of the universe.
  7. Fractals – Hunting the Hidden Dimension – This NOVA episode explores fractals and how they appear in nature.
  8. The Proof – This is another NOVA documentary, this time with a focus on Fermat’s last theorem and the people who have tried to solve it.
  9. The Colors of Infinity – This is an older documentary on fractals, but its visually stunning illustration of the concept is sure to keep students engaged.
  10. Get the Math – This is a website full of short documentaries aimed at middle and high school students. The 5-10 minute films draw connections between math and high-interest topics for students such as fashion, music, and videogames.

What documentaries do you use in your classroom?

Share below!

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