It’s no secret that students love watching a film in class, but it’s fair to say that most films generally lack educational value. This awards season we’ve been thinking about great maths movies for the classroom, ones that are fun to watch and also educate students on the benefits of mathematics. We want to provide recognition to the best maths movies for kids and with that in mind, we have created the Whizz Education “Mathcademy Awards.”
Our categories include:
Best Movie About a Maths Genius
Best Maths Drama Movie for Kids
Best Maths Documentary
Best Animated Maths Movie
So sit the class down, pull out the projector, dim the lights and enjoy our five favourite maths movies.
Best Movies about Maths Geniuses: Matilda and Eustice Solves a Problem
Ok, we cheated a bit here, but we couldn’t separate these two movies about mini math geniuses. ‘Eustice Solves a Problem’ is a charming short film from Australia about a boy whose mother forces him onto a 1950s maths gameshow. Not only does this movie contain plenty of cool maths questions, it’s also a story about the importance of friendship and standing up for yourself. It’s less than 15 minutes long, so it’s one of the best maths movies for the classroom when you only have a little bit of time to spare.
As for ‘Matilda’, while it isn’t strictly a maths movie, this adaption of Roald Dahl’s classic novel is definitely a movie about a maths genius and a story that teaches students how education can be a source of independence and happiness. Need proof of Matilda’s mathematical prowess? Check out the scene where she completely stuns her teacher with an incredible piece of mental maths during a lesson on multiplication tables. This scene is also great to show kids who are learning their two times tables, as the class basically recite every one during it. The theme of education being a source of independence and happiness is best illustrated by the fact that Matilda’s education is shown to provide her plenty of joy during her early years.
Best Maths Drama Movie for Kids: Hidden Figures
Hidden Figures is the true story of Katherine Goble, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan, three black, female mathematicians, who worked for NASA and played significant roles during the launch of astronaut John Glenn into space back in 1962. This film is full of some pretty high-level maths which is too advanced for primary school, but it will open children’s minds to the significant impacts maths has on space travel and the vital role it has played in modern history.
Best Maths Documentary for Kids: The Story of One
Hosted by Monty Python’s Terry Jones, this 2014 maths documentary tells the amazing story of the number one. During the story, Jones introduces students to the Ishango Bone (an artefact that shows the first instance of human counting), the Sumerians (the forefathers of arithmetic), and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz who played a major role in developing the binary system. Aside from being very interesting, this maths documentary is also very funny. Your students will absolutely love the way the number one is characterised as a living creature, as well as the clever Pythonesque humour that has been written into the script.
Best Animated Maths Movie for Kids: Donald Duck in Mathmagic Land
During this classic cartoon, students will be taken along a magical journey through the wonderland of mathematics alongside everyone’s favourite animated angry bird, Donald Duck. Along the way they’ll learn about the maths behind billiards, the vital role maths plays in engineering and even how modern music can trace its roots back to the work of mathematician and noted ‘egghead’, Pythagoras. Released back in 1959, this has been a popular maths movie for almost 60 years and remarkably still holds up today.
That concludes our blog on the best maths movies for kids. Are there any others that we overlooked? Send us a tweet (@MathsWhizzTutor) with your suggestions. We can’t wait to hear back from you!