Free Math Education Videos

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Information Age Education (IAE) is an Oregon non-profit corporation created by David Moursund in July, 2007. It works to improve the informal and formal education of people of all ages throughout the world. A number of people have contributed their time and expertise in developing the materials that are made available free in the various IAE publications. Click here to learn how you can help develop new IAE materials.



Introduction

There is a steadily increasing amount of video material available free or at low cost on the Web. This page explores some of the math-related sites and what they have available.

Math education is traditionally taught in a stand-and-deliver manner. In higher education, the stand-and-deliver usually provides a reasonable amount of interaction in the form of students asking question, but the teacher's "stand-and-deliver" component of a math class period is still a dominant feature in most math classes.

At the precollege level, much less time is spent in the stand-and-deliver mode, because quite a bit of class time is devoted to students doing seat work.

In both settings group work can be a useful aid to teaching and learning. However, for many teachers, this represents a considerable change in how a class is structured and the values placed on non-traditional activities.

In group work, for example, students might work on an activity together, or they might explain to each other the process they used to solve a problem. A short video may be quite helpful in stimulating small group or whole class discussion.

Annenberg Media

The Annenberg Media collection contains materials from many different disciplines. Many of their materials are available for free use by educators, but you must provide them with some information about yourself in the sign-up process. Here are some general categories of their math materials. This is only a partial list. Many more sets of videos are available.

  • Algebra: In Simplest Terms. (1991) Twenty-six half-hour videos. A step-by-step look at algebra concepts. Video instructional series for college and high school classrooms and adult learners.
Mathematics Illuminated is a 13-part, integrated-media resource created for adult learners and high school teachers. The series covers the broad scope of human knowledge through the study of mathematics and its relevance in the world today. It reaches beyond formulas and computations to explore the math of patterns, symmetry, relationships, multiple dimensions, and more, all the while uncovering the secrets and hidden delights of the ever-evolving world of mathematics.
Mathematics Illuminated unites the strengths of traditional and new media learning through the coordinated 13 half-hour videos, online texts, Web interactive activities, and group activities.

WGBH Boston, 1997

See how the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics standards are used in elementary classrooms across America. Elementary teachers tap the excitement and energy of children from kindergarten through grade 4 as they solve problems, learn to make connections between concepts, and communicate and reason mathematically. Teaching Math K-4 documents effective teaching and learning in many schools: small, large, rural, suburban, and inner-city.
See real middle school teachers incorporating the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics standards into their lessons, while learning as much about teaching as their students do about math. The programs demonstrate how teachers guide and assess student understanding, and offer strategies for keeping students motivated and engaged at this critical age.

Khan Academy

The Khan Academy offers more than 650 free videos covering a wide range of topics. Math areas covered include Arithmetic, Singapore Math, Pre-algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Precalculus, Probability, Calculus, Linear Algebra, and Differential Equations. The videos are available on You Tube. See http://www.youtube.com/user/khanacademy?ob4.

The videos I examined were about 10–15 minutes in length. They are informal (not carefully scripted in advance) "chalk and talk" presentations of moderate quality. A computer screen, with multiple colors of "chalk," is used with voice-over in the presentations.

Many of the videos begin with a black screen showing only a white cursor. Others begin with a screen full of writing—perhaps left over from the previous video in a series. The "drawing" on the screen is mostly like modest quality on a chalkboard, although the computer system the teacher is using provides facilities for more precise (computer-like) drawing.

Countdown, Loyola University

Countdown (n.d.). Using the technology of QuickTime movies to develop math skills. Loyola University Chicago, School of Education. Retrieved 10/6/08: http://countdown.luc.edu/ContentIndex/a_index.html.

These short videos provide didactic instruction. A teacher of teachers might want to make use of some of these in a class designed to help preservice and inservice teachers learn to analyze various ways to teach math. Quoting from the Website:

COUNTDOWN is a challenging interactive television math program which has engaged tens of thousands of students through broadcasts on cable television in Chicago. Capitalizing on the one on one relationship a student viewer has with television, COUNTDOWN makes math “work”. Each week the program introduces a different math concept through direct instruction and reinforces lessons with literature, manipulatives, activities and related computer instruction. Student viewers are encouraged to call a televised phone number to participate in the show by responding to challenges presented by the on-air educators.
More than three hundred different COUNTDOWN programs have been broadcast exploring topics many elementary students might not see in their classrooms such as logic, perimeter, area, probability, graphing, congruence, integers and much more. Focusing frequently on “under taught” concepts, COUNTDOWN shifts the target age for its audience from season to season to maximize the program’s reach. COUNTDOWN also seasonally adjusts curriculum to incorporate specific instruction students need to sharpen test taking skills. [Bold added for emphasis.]

Curious George

Curious George Math Videos:

Computer Science

Mathematics and computer science are closely related disciplines, with a substantial overlap between the two disciplines. The videos listed below are all suitable for use in teaching math. The Website Computer Science Unplugged contains lots of free materials, including links to a number of videos. Quoting from the Website:

Computer Science Unplugged is a series of learning activities that reveals a little-known secret: computer science isn't really about computers at all! … You'll find supplementary material for each activity: videos, links, photos, feedback, curiosities and more. We're also working on online games, competitions, links to curricula, and new material.

Here are some of the video links posted at Computer Science Unplugged:

  • Computer Science Unplugged: The Show" is available as a 65 minute version at http://nz.youtube.com/watch?v=VpDDPWVn5-Q. Or to avoid swamping your bandwidth limitations in one go, you can get 10-minute chunks starting at:

http://nz.youtube.com/watch?v=voqghyZbZxo. This is a live presentation before an adult audience.

Modeling Middle School Mathematics

The Modeling Middle School Mathematics project is a professional development program using video lessons and Web-based Internet materials to examine each of five NSF-funded middle school math initiatives. The five are Pathways to Algebra and Geometry, Mathematics in Context, MindScape, Connected Math Project, and MathThematics. A number of short video clips can be accessed from the MMM Website.

Keith Devlin

Keith Devlin is a Stanford University Mathematics Professor who has wide interests in math and math education. See his streaming video/audio on the Web. In addition, see a two minute video in which he gives some of his math background starting from his elementary school math experiences.

Here are a few examples of his presentations:

Math Education: An Inconvenient Truth

This 15:25 video has received a lot of publicity. It severely criticizes several of the widely used elementary school math textbook series. If you are a teacher of preservice or inservice elementary school math teachers, you might want to use this short video together with class discussion and perhaps a writing assignment to get your students to think about reform math versus traditional math.

The video has been criticized in both textual and video responses. See, for example, "Math Education: A Response to 'An Inconvenient Truth' Part 1" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9skRrnN2_HU and Part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1tPHInrEk0&feature=related. It bears noting that the creator of the original video is neither a mathematician nor a mathematics teacher and seems to offer a highly-biased and intentionally confused and confusing explanation of the lattice method, a simple mathematical algorithm for doing multi-digit multiplication that was in general use for centuries before limitations in early printing technology led it to fall into disuse. It is both mathematically sound and in some ways far more transparent and easier for many students to use than the so-called current "standard algorithm." Biases on the part of opponents of what they perceive as politically motivated progressive mathematics education reform has led them to mount campaigns that are loaded with misinformation and disinformation about what such methods and related materials are teaching.

Here is another response from a reader (2/12/2009):

It bears noting that, sadly, one of the links [the link given in this section of the free videos page] connects to a piece of political propaganda called "Math Education: An Inconvenient Truth." It would be more accurate to list that particular video under "Math Education-Free Videos," rather than Math Education Free Videos.

Mathematics in Movies

This is a collection of mathematics in movies compiled by a preceptor in the mathematics department at Harvard. The QuickTime versions can be viewed full screen.

Ma and Pa Kettle illustrates what can happen when students are taught computation without understanding. It can be used with students for instruction on computation or place value.

National Science Foundation

Three short National Science Foundation math education videos (January 26, 2009 ??) and a set of resources. Go to http://nsf.gov/news/special_reports/math/classroom.jsp. Look at the menu of thumbnail pictures near the bottom. The second through the fifth of these are links to:

  • Classroom Dynamics (short video).
  • Learning the Language of Mathematics (short video).
  • Tech Support (short video).
  • Resources (short list).

TIMSS (Math) Videos

Fifty-three public use lessons collected as part of the TIMSS video studies are now available for everyone on a new website, timssvideo.com. Users must register on the site to access the videos, but registration is free. In addition to the 53 full-length videos of eighth-grade mathematics and science lessons from seven countries, the site also provides full English-translation subtitles for each lesson, a searchable transcript, and a set of resources collected with each lesson such as scanned text materials and teacher commentaries.

WatchKnow Videos for Kids

This site provides access to nearly 15,000 video and audio recordings. Examples as of 2/2/2010 include Language Arts (1380), Literature (1161), Mathematics (1495), Science (2735), History (2832), and Social Studies (1198).

Other Interesting Videos

$.002 versus .002 cents. This short video is essentially just an audio conversation between a customer and a service provider. They argue about whether there is a difference between $.002 and .002 cents. It might make you laugh and cry at the same time. Retrieved 2/10/09: http://funnyvideos.todaysbigthing.com/2009/02/09. See a related @/22009 NY Times article at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/03/health/research/03behavior.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss.

100 Movies, 100 Quotes, 100 Numbers. Retrieved 4/26/09: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FExqG6LdWHU

Babbage's Mechanical Calculator Comes to Life. Retrieved 5/4/08: http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2008/05/exclusive-video.html. Approximately 4 minutes in length. Quoting from the Website:

Charles Babbage completed plans for an elaborate, all-mechanical calculator in 1849. His Difference Engine #2 was so complicated, with more than 8,000 separate parts, that it was never built during his lifetime. But now, thanks to the efforts of dedicated, historically-minded engineers at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, plus a generous donation of cash from Microsoft gazillionaire genius Nathan Myhrvold, Babbage's Difference Engine is on display in Silicon Valley.

Chancler, Ndugu (n.d.). The rhythm track. Retrieved 10/7/08: http://www.thefutureschannel.com/dockets/realworld/the_rhythm_track/. 6:35 minutes. Quoting from the Website:

Have you ever had students say to you, "I don’t need math, I’m going to be a musician!" Why not introduce them to world-renowned drummer Ndugu Chancler, who explains why math is essential to music?

Powers of 10. Retrieved 10/14/08: http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=%22Powers+of+Ten%22+film+OR+video&ie=UTF-8&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&sa=X&oi=video_result_group&resnum=4&ct=title#.

This site provides access to several slightly different versions of a nine-minute video illustrating powers of 10. The video was "Made by the Office of Charles and Ray Eames" for IBM." Many viewers describe the video as "awesome."

Simple statistical data worth thinking about. View the short video at http://release.theplatform.com/content.select?pid=x7aVOMrlfkkijQwcLllwk6WjB5JE0zrF. Then work with your students to produce an ever-changing bulletin board that contains such examples. When a new example is added to the bulletin board, it can be a topic for a brief class discussion about issues such as possible misleading use of statistics, the difficulties of gathering accurate data, and the difficulties of making effective use of such data.

Wertheim, Margaret (February 2009). Margaret Wertheim: The beautiful math that links coral, crochet and hyperbolic geometry. Fifteen-minute video. Retrieved 4/25/09: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/margaret_wertheim_crochets_the_coral_reef.html. Quoting from the video:

Margaret Wertheim leads a project to re-create the creatures of the coral reefs using a crochet technique invented by a mathematician -- celebrating the amazements of the reef, and deep-diving into the hyperbolic geometry underlying coral creation.

References

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This topic was one of the sessions at the Oregon 2007 Teachers of Teachers of Mathematics (TOTOM) meeting. A variety of people have contributed to creating this Wiki page. Readers are encouraged to add to this site.