January 16th, 2023

Need a Movie Day Without Wasting Precious Math Time?

Here's 3 of my favorite math documentaries for middle schoolers

Ever desperately needed a movie day—but felt bad about wasting class time?

Math educational documentaries are a great option.

Keep the math learning going with these three math movies great for middle schoolers that showcase the various applications of math in real-world settings. To make it easy, I’ve pulled together previews, streaming links, and free complementary guided notes that you can use to make your math movie day effortless.

Note: I'm not affiliated with any of these links—just found them and thought they'd be helpful for fellow teachers.

The Great Math Mystery

Runtime: 53 minutes

This film dives into how mathematics is found in nature, music, architecture, and video games. Cool, right? It even talks about the Fibonacci Sequence and symmetrical patterns found on tigers.

Links:

Donald Duck: Mathmagic Land

Runtime: 27 minutes

When I was a middle schooler, this cartoon was the absolute classic - and it still holds up today. Yes, it was released in 1959! It helps students understand how math works is included everywhere — in games, art, music, and architecture. It’s ideal when you are short on time and need a 30 min activity! You can extend it by having students discuss the questions on the guided doodle notes after.

Links:

Prediction by the Numbers

Runtime: 53 minutes

This film is about the power of mathematical models and how they can be used to predict the future using statistical patterns. It is a great educational film to help explore the possibilities of statistics in various areas, such as storm forecasts, opinion polls, and machine learning. This documentary is a slightly better suited for 7th and 8th grade students, as the mathematical concepts are a little more advanced.

Links:

These three math movies are a great way to spend a sub day, review lesson, or other time when you just need a movie day. Hope this guide saves you time as you prepare these lesson plans!

Happy teaching!

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