Mathematics in the Movies

Photograph by David Young

At the wonderful National Cinema Museum, Turin – holiday time this week!

Thinking about Maths in the movies led me to this great collection of movie clips featuring Mathematics from Harvard University.

We must of course include Abbot & Costello showing that 7×13=28! includes a section on using movie clips in the mathematics classroom. The site suggests several possible movie clips to use and has accompanying worksheets. The Abbott & Costello clip mentioned above is included, the MathsBits worksheet is here.

Donald in MathMagic LandI loved Donald in Mathmagic Land as a child.

For a series of excellent articles see Plus Magazine’s Mathematics in Films.

For a very comprehensive database of mathematics mentioned anywhere is a movie try MMDB – The Mathematical Movie Database from Burkard Polster and Marty Ross.

From Numberphile, Math and Movies (Animation at Pixar) we learn how 3D aminated characters look so smooth.

More from Pixar, see Pixar: The math behind the movies, Tony DeRose on TEDEd; note that this link from TEDEd provides not just the movie but a complete lesson. (See also this article on Pixar’s research on The Verge.)

From SchoolTube, Math in the Movies

If all this inspires you to think about a job in digital animation – see Maths in motion on the excellent Maths Careers site.

I really like the song ‘Math is a wonderful thing’ from School of Rock.

Having got on to songs, here are a few favourites.

These have gone down well with students, particularly the Circle Song!

The Klein Four are a bit beyond school Mathematics, you may appreciate this if you are studying for a Mathematics degree!

Iterative Methods

Looking at the new content for UK GCSE Mathematics a completely new entry on the specification is “find approximate solutions to equations numerically using iteration”.

Teaching the new specification this year I needed to work on this and wrote this post;
GCSE New Content – Iterative Methods for Numerical Solution of Equations.

I see from my blog Statistics that this is a very popular post so have made it my first summer holiday job to update it.

Note the additional section on Further Resources / Questions (scroll down the post).
Eq solved by iterative method


Low Stakes Testing in the Mathematics Classroom

Please note – a completely new version of this presentation with many more resources and additional ideas will be presented at the BCME Conference, April 2018. Following my sessions, I will update all relevant pages

To download:
Low Stakes Testing in the Mathematics Classroom (PowerPoint File, takes a few moments to download)

Low Stakes Testing in the Mathematics Classroom (pdf)

Or use this shorter version to see the slides on the student survey on low stakes tests.
Mini Tests Colleen Young for PowerPoint
Mini Tests Colleen Young pdf version

Slides from the BERA Conference, Learning from the classroom – Practitioner research in mathematics education – July 2016

There are many hyperlinks provided in the presentation, for ease of access these are also provided below:

Further Reading

End of term…

Relay from Chris Smith

Relay from Chris Smith

The end of term approaches. I will certainly be using this great Summer Relay; students can have a more informal lesson but still do some useful maths! See Relays from Chris Smith. Note there is a complete set; I used his Valentine relay very successfully this year! Featured in Mathematical Miscellany#2.

For more end of term activities, see the End of Term Activities page under the I’m Looking for  … menu.

This holiday I’ll be doing my usual tidying up and also updating my Results apges with any UK Statistics.

BERABefore that I am very much looking forward to this Saturday’s BERA (@BERANews) Event, Learning from the classroom – Practitioner research in mathematics education where I will be speaking myself on the value of Lows Stakes Testing in the Mathematics Classroom and enjoying presentations from other speakers including the Keynote speaker, Dr Alison Clark-Wilson (@AliClarkWilson Institute of Education, University of London @IOE_London). The event has been convened by Dr Alf Coles (@AlfColes University of Bristol) and Dr d’Reen Struthers (Institute of Education, University of London).


The Standards Unit – Mathematics

This is an outstanding resource – there are so many excellent activities here for the secondary classroom.

Start by reading Improving Learning in Mathematics – Malcolm SwanThe following links give you access to the resources, also some IWB resources.

Craig Braton has all the Standards Unit Teaching resources pdf files and PowerPoints on mrbartonmaths

For the complete collection, all materials including introductory videos and Professional Development Materials are hosted by STEM Learning.
Teaching resources:
Mostly Algebra   Mostly Number  Mostly Statistics   Mostly Shape and Space   Mostly Calculus   Others   

Tom Button - Traffic, Velocity 1

Tom Button has rewritten the Traffic Simulations in GeoGebra for A5: Interpreting Distance-Time Graphs with a Computer.

See also this post on Wisweb Applets HTML5 which has applets and lessons using the programs referred to in the Standards Unit. These wonderful applets were created by Utrecht University, they have built the learning environment Numworx around these.

IWB Materials This website has come about as a result of the NCETM research project: Enabling enhanced mathematics teaching with some interactive whiteboards (September 2006- September 2008) and was supported by the IWB research team at Keele University and the Spire Maths team.

PowerPoint Files
MMT has written a set of PowerPoint files for almost all of these excellent resources, he has made them – in his own words ‘classroom ready’. MMT has provided the resources in an editable format so that they can be tweaked to your own requirements. Thank you MMT! These files are available directly from Dropbox; note they are also hosted on Craig Barton’s site.

Standards Unit MMT Files

Standards Unit A1:Expressions – MMT PowerPoint

Standards Unit S4

I have used activity S4 many times and created a PowerPoint including all the solutions.

A set of Desmos Classroom Activities by Ben Sparks features some of the Standards Unit Tasks. See also this #TMMathsIcons collection of Desmos Classroom Activities by Kathryn Darwin which features several Standards Unit activities.