Movies of math in the real world -

I delved into this fascinating website just this past week, and I heartily recommend you visit it, too!

Most math teachers have faced the age-old question, "When will I ever need this?", especially when kids get into algebra and more. Well, has the answer - in the form of short movies, lesson guides, and worksheets.

The topics are just fascinating, from skyscrapers, roller coasters, endangered animals, to inventing, the subway, bakery, bicycle design, etc.

For each movie, there is a worksheet or several for the student that concentrates on some math topic that is needed in the field shown in the movie.

Some samplings:

100,000 computers a day
A rare and fascinating look inside the world's largest computer manufacturer, Dell Inc., where thousands of computers are custom-built and shipped around the world every day. From the call center to the inventory system to the assembly line and beyond, one thing is certain: The whole operation relies on a variety of math skills every step of the way.

Inventing with Polygons
This guy had some really interesting stuff! Inventor Chuck Hoberman uses polygons to build amazing expandable structures.

Structural Engineering
To design buildings that don't fall down, you need to know how your materials will respond to forces such as gravity, wind, and earthquakes.

The Bakery
Whether it's fractions or measurement or division, a key ingredient to this baker's success is math, making each one of his pastries, cakes and breads as delicious as the last.


This is a great resource, thank you! I teach High School Math. I have similar Math videos that come with my text books, but the math in the real world videos they have are just one per unit, and i've wanted more.

I do find myself not finding a direct link to the algebra and geometry in most of these videos from any source. The one you recommend Structural Engineering
is excellent. We see drafters using triangles and t-squares so the connection to geometry is pretty clear, but only implied, we don't see someone explaining how they are deciding or solving for what angle to use. The links to algebra are not even implictly made. In another video watched, "The Backpack Designer" links to algebra and math are given lip service, but never really drawn out! We see drawing with dimensions and measurement is discussed, but the only math made explict is the calcualtion of volume as the product of wl and d. A grade school concept. I find this on my text book series as well. Jugglers tossing bowling pins are used to illustrate parabolas in a "math at work" sequence, but it's not like the jugglers solve quadratics to juggle!!

So kudoos, a good, even very good source of real world connection, but as a group I've found these videos from a variety sources to stop short of making a direct connection to the math they are showing the need for. Of course, this can be done in the classroom by the teacher - but why not make the connection explict in the video. The structural engineer does this to a T in shapes, but I'm greedy and want more, give me an algebra connection too while you're at it.
Ms. Cho said…
I really liked your ideas for possible math projects! I especially like the one on structural engineering, because I was a structural engineer myself prior to entering the teaching field. I want to utilize some of my prior experiences in the classroom, and I find that this project would be perfect! Thank you.
I must appreciate Your Idea, I agree with many of your points.
Term papers said…
Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic.

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