Free Math Education Videos
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.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Annenberg Media
- 3 Computer Science Unplugged
- 4 Countdown, Loyola University
- 5 Girl's Angle Video Theater
- 6 Keith Devlin
- 7 Khan Academy
- 8 Mathematics in Movies
- 9 National Science Foundation
- 10 Origami and Other Paper Folding
- 11 TIMSS (Math) Videos
- 12 WatchKnow Videos for Kids
- 13 WGBH Boston, 1997
- 14 Free IAE Resources
- 15 Author or Authors
A 7/2/2016 Google search of the expression free math education video produced about 61 million results. When faced by such huge resources, it is helpful to have a good picture in mind of what uses you might want to make of math videos. Will you use them for your own education, or perhaps you are looking for materials useful in your teaching? What prerequisite level of math knowledge and skills are assumed in a video you am examining?
This IAE-pedia page explores a variety of math-related sites. It is designed to provide you with the "flavor" of the types of materials available. However, it is by no means comprehensive.
Note from David Moursund: If you teach math, here is a challenge you might want to assign to some of your students. "Find one or more videos that you and/or your fellow students may find useful in studying and using the math content that is currently being covered in class. Share it with the teacher and your fellow students." As a math teacher, you may want to reserve a piece of your bulletin board for links to and brief descriptions of math-related video material relevant to your students.
In our current educational systems, math 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 questions, but the teacher's "stand-and-deliver" component of a math class period is still a dominant feature in most math classes.
The "stand and deliver" can certainly be done by a "live" teacher. But, it can also be done via video. Each has some advantages. For example, with a "live" teacher, a student can ask questions and interact in a face-to-face manner with other students. However, a student cannot "rewind" the presentation and/or spend extra time thinking about and working to understand what has just been presented.
In addition, the range of video materials available is immensely broader than a teacher is able to present in a class meeting or a course. Indeed, there are a number of free math math lectures available on the Web.
In brief summary, it behooves teachers to know what math education videos are available and which of these might help their students. It behooves students to learn to learn from such materials.
To be an effective math teacher (and learner) you need to understand a variety of answers to the question, "What is mathematics?" Here is an answer from George Polya, a world class math educator from the 20th century:
- “To understand mathematics means to be able to do mathematics. And what does it mean doing mathematics? In the first place it means to be able to solve mathematical problems. For the higher aims about which I am now talking are some general tactics of problems—to have the right attitude for problems and to be able to attack all kinds of problems, not only very simple problems, which can be solved with the skills of the primary school, but more complicated problems of engineering, physics and so on, which will be further developed in the high school. But the foundations should be started in the primary school. And so I think an essential point in the primary school is to introduce the children to the tactics of problem solving. Not to solve this or that kind of problem, not to make just long divisions or some such thing, but to develop a general attitude for the solution of problems.” (George Polya; Hungarian mathematician; 1887—1985.)
As you preview math education video material, think about the types of answers and illustrations that the materials provide. For example, do the materials mainly help students learn that math is a subject in which one memorizes, passes tests, and then forgets? Or, do the materials teach using math to represent and solve a wide range of problems? Click here for an IAE-pedia document about teaching and learning problem solving.
Many mathematicians and other people believe that math is beautiful. Margaret Wertheim is a believer. See her video, The Beautiful Math of Coral (TED Talks). 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.
Not only is this a beautiful video, it illustrates that math in an important component of non-math disciplines. For many students, transfer of learning from the math class to the rest of their world is difficult. Their question, "Why do I need to learn this?" is hard to answer because they are not seeing uses in their everyday life outside of the math class.
What Math Do We Want Students to Learn?
As you look for math education video materials to use in your teaching, you might want to also ponder the question given in the title of this subsection.
Most of the math content that students study in K-16 education falls into a category that one might call ancient history. For example, most of the the geometry taught in K-12 education is about two thousand years old.
Here is a question that deserves far more attention than it is currently receiving: What math do students need to learn as we prepare them to be responsible and productive adult citizens of their country and the world? Why Math Education Doesn't Add Up, by M. Sollinger, may interest you. Quoting from this article:
- When was the last time you used the quadratic formula? Or solved for “x”? Or had to know what sohcahtoa means?
- Unless you work in a small set of specialized jobs, or teach high school math…it’s probably been a while.
- But…you likely still learned algebra, geometry, and trig. And that’s an issue, according to Steven Strogatz, professor of applied mathematics at Cornell and author of The Joy of X.
- "A lot of people, we know, live perfectly happy, productive lives, and don’t know much about math beyond arithmetic,” Strogatz says. “And that’s just a fact. And I feel like my profession doesn’t want to admit that. We’re afraid to say that the honest truth is you don’t need much math.”
- In fact, Strogatz believes that the entire way we approach math instruction is misguided.
- There’s the math everyone is taught, including arithmetic, fractions, and multiplication. And then there’s math that everyone should know: how to evaluate a mortgage, how to understand probability, how to calculate compound interest.
- But rarely are those things part of a standard curriculum.
Math Education Wars
Arguments about what math to teach and how to teach it sometimes grow quite heated. The terminology Math Education Wars came into common usage in the 1990s. Quoting Alan Schoenfeld:
- During the 1990s, the teaching of mathematics became the subject of heated controversies known as the math wars. The immediate origins of the conflicts can be traced to the “reform” stimulated by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics ’Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics. Traditionalists fear that reform-oriented, “standards-based” curricula are superficial and undermine classical mathematical values; reformers claim that such curricula reflect a deeper, richer view of mathematics than the traditional curriculum. An historical perspective reveals that the underlying issues being contested—Is mathematics for the elite or for the masses? Are there tensions between “excellence” and “equity”? Should mathematics be seen as a democratizing force or as a vehicle for maintaining the status quo?—are more than a century old. This article describes the context and history, provides details on the current state, and offers suggestions regarding ways to find a productive middle ground.
Click here for an IAE-pedia document about the Math Education Wars. (Personally, I fail to understand why a disagreement in what math to teach and how to teach it should be called a war.)
Who Determines the Math Curriculum?
What specific topics are taught is determined by some combination of the teacher, the textbooks and other resource materials that are available, the standards set by various organizations and/or the government, and so on. So, the math curriculum varies considerably across the united States. The Common Cores State Standards (Mathematics) project is an effort to set national standards. People supporting this project feel that all students have a right to a well designed and well taught math curriculum as part of their precollege education.
There are a number of areas of math education research that help to provide a foundation for changes in the content, pedagogy, and assessment. For example, you might want to learn more about what recent research in brain science (cognitive neuroscience) is telling us about math education. Click here for a discussion of this topic.
For a second example, Think Computers! Aids to learning and doing (using) math have changed substantially over the years. If a computer can solve or help significantly in solving a general type math problem, what do we want students to learn about solving that type of math problem?
Mathematics and computer science are closely related disciplines, with a substantial overlap between the two disciplines. Click here for a brief history of Computers in Education.
Here are some additional IAE documents about computers.
An important part of the history of mathematics concerns the search for aids to computation. The abacus was such an aid, and computers are a modern aid. Click here for the Vintage Calculators Web Museum. The site includes pictures of a number of early calculators.
English mathematician Charles Babbage was a pioneer in trying to build a rather general purpose mechanical calculating machine. Here is a video about the Difference Engine (an early, mechanical computer) designed by Charles Babbage.
- Babbage's Mechanical Calculator Comes to Life. Retrieved7/3/2016. 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.
- Note from David Moursund: On 7/3/2016 when when I tried to access the video at the site listed above, it was "currently unavailable." Click here for a video Babbage's Difference Engine video I accessed on that date.
In the list of video resources that follows, many of the materials may be somewhat out of date. On the one hand, one can argue that the content of math taught in school changes little over the years, and that this is perfectly appropriate. On the other hand, researchers and teachers are making progress in better ways to teach math. So, view the video materials you think about using in terms of their usefulness in helping your specific students to get a good, modern math education.
The Annenberg Learner collection contains materials from many different disciplines. Click here to view a collection of math education materials. There materials can be viewed at no cost on the Web, and also are available for purchase. Here are some examples.
- Mathematics Illuminated. Quoting from the website:
- 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.
- Against All Odds: Inside Statistics. (1989) These 26 half-hour videos show students the relevance of statistics in real-world settings. Video series for college and high school classrooms and adult learners.
- Teaching Math: A Video Library K-4. (1997) A video library for K-4 math teachers; 52 video programs (from 15 to 30 minutes in length) and guide.
- Teaching Math: A Video Library 5-8. (1997) A video library for grade 5-8 math teachers; 6 fifteen-minute video programs and guide.
- Teaching Math: A Video Library 9-12. (1997) A video library for high school math teachers; 20 video programs (from 10 to 30 minutes in length) and guide.
Computer Science Unplugged
The Computer Science Unplugged website contains lots of free materials suitable for use in teaching math, 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. They are designed to teach some basic principles of computers and computer programming—and don't require use of computers.
- Computer Science for Children (50 minutes). This is a live presentation before an audience of middle school students.
- Computer Science Unplugged. The show is available as a 65 minute version. Alternatively, you can get the video in 10-minute chunks. The video is a live presentation before an adult audience.
See the right side of this page for some additional videos about computer science.
Countdown, Loyola University
Click here to access MathFLUX from Loyola University Chicago, School of Education. Quoting from the website:
- MathFLIX = 1000 FREE instructional math movies covering a wide range of math concepts including Number & Operations, Algebra, Measurement, Geometry, Data Analysis & Probability, Connections and Technology. In addition to MathFLIX’s valuable video resources, the site also features 400 downloadable worksheets that reinforce concepts and provide valuable practice.
- MathFLIX movies are 4-7 minutes in length, are organized by NCTM (National Council for Teachers of Mathematics) Standards and are also cross-referenced in an alpha index so viewers can access math support by specific topic. The MathFLIX website is created and maintained by Loyola University Chicago School of Education in partnership with The Chicago GEAR UP Alliance.
Girl's Angle Video Theater
Click here for videos pertaining to mathematics. Quoting from the website:
- Welcome to the Girls' Angle Video Theater
- Girls' Angle produces videos pertaining to mathematics. You can view many of them either here or on our YouTube channel. Unless otherwise noted, these videos are produced and copyrighted by Girls' Angle.
- See, for example The Gingerbread Transformer. You may learn something about transformations of a figure in a plane that you did not know before!
Keith Devlin is a Stanford University Mathematics Professor who has wide interests in math and math education. A number of his talks are available at streaming video/audio on the Web.
For example, the above list of his talks contains You're Hired. In this interview, Devlin presents some of his background and his various major career shifts over the years. The right side of the page provides links to 36 videos, many of them talks that Devlin has given.
The Khan Academy offers hundreds of free math education videos covering a wide range of topics such as Arithmetic, Singapore Math, Pre-algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Precalculus, Probability, Calculus, Linear Algebra, and Differential Equations. The videos are available on You Tube.
Many of the math videos are 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.
Mathematics in Movies
A 7/3/2016 Google search of the expression mathematics in movies produced over 80 million results. See, for example:
- The Mathematical Movie Database contains a list of titles and short descriptions of about 800 movies that contain mathematics.
- Math Bits contains a large number of short clips of math in movies.
Computer animation is now a common component in movies. Math is an important tool in such animation.
- See Math in the movies. Quoting from this Mathematical Association of America website:
- The rippling muscles of Mr. Incredible in The Incredibles, the exquisitely detailed surfaces of Ratatouille, the effortlessly draped garb of Monsters, Inc., the expressive robots of WALL-E, and the sparkling splashes and eerie lighting of Finding Nemo all owe their power to mathematical innovation.
- "There is indeed a lot of mathematics behind the scenes," computer scientist Tony DeRose of Pixar Animation Studios noted in his recent talk on "Math in the Movies." In each of these animated films, constructed entirely on computers, trigonometry helps rotate and move characters, algebra creates the special effects that make images shine and sparkle, and integral calculus helps light the scenes.
National Science Foundation
Here are several examples of NSF math video materials.
- On Golden's Melt Pond. Join Ken Golden on a Polar adventure as he explores the mathematics of what's going on in sea ice.
- What makes a good math teacher? Quoting from this website:
- What makes a good math teacher? A teacher who "not only knows her math, but loves teaching as well," says Sarah Irvine Belson, dean of education at American University. Irvine Belson, Maxine Singer and John Nolan are principal investigators for Math for America (MfA) DC, a program that selects college graduates with an interest in teaching and math, and provides them with one year of training, mentorship and professional development before placing them in high-needs schools for four years. Math for America has chapters across the United States, and with the help of the National Science Foundation, there is a chapter in the nation's capital. The D.C. chapter is a partnership between American University and the Carnegie Institution for Science.
Click here for a video about children creating Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) videos. Quoting from the website:
- View the 156 videos that showcase innovative work to improve science, math, engineering, and computer science education.
- View Recognized Videos that were selected as Facilitators’ choice, Public choice and Presenters’ choice.
- View videos that attracted the most discourse.
- See last year’s Video Showcase 2015.
Jere Confrey is a world class math educator. Click here for a short interview about math education with Jere Confrey.
Origami and Other Paper Folding
Origami is the Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures. Here are some examples from More Images For Origami.
A great many websites provide instructions for doing origami and for other types of paper folding. For example, see the Origami Club. Instructions are provided in a large number of categories including easy origami, animals, fruits and vegetables, paper airplanes, and valentines.
My 7/10/2016 Google search for the expression paper airplane yielded well over 2 million results. The picture given below comes from the site Paper Airplane Designs.
TIMSS (Math) Videos
The third Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) was designed to provide trends in eighth grade mathematics and science achievement in an international context. Do you want to know what some of the eighth grade math lessons and students looked like back in 1999? Seven countries (Australia, Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Japan, Netherlands, Switzerland, and United States) are featured in videos. The website 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.
The sixth Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study was conducted in 2015. See 2015 TIMSS. To access the questions used in the tests, see the third of these three paragraphs quoted from the website.
- The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) provides reliable and timely data on the mathematics and science achievement of U.S. students compared to that of students in other countries. TIMSS data have been collected from students at grades 4 and 8 since 1995 every 4 years, generally. In addition, TIMSS Advanced measures advanced mathematics and physics achievement in the final year of secondary school across countries. TIMSS Advanced data have been collected internationally three times, in 1995, 2008 and 2015. The United States participated in TIMSS Advanced in 1995 and 2015. TIMSS is sponsored by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) and managed in the United States by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), part of the U.S. Department of Education.
- In TIMSS 2015, more than 60 countries and other education systems, including the United States, participated in TIMSS at grades 4 and 8, and 9 participated in TIMSS Advanced. Results from the 2015 TIMSS and TIMSS Advanced will be available at the end of November 2016.
WatchKnow Videos for Kids
This site provides access to more than 35,000 video and audio recordings. Examples as of 6/26/2016 include Language Arts (6,009 videos), Mathematics (5,123 videos), Science (9,838 videos), History (6,972 videos), and Social Studies (2,643 videos).
In browsing the math videos, I encountered a Golden Oldie about Japanese students learning to use an abacus. Click here to see an amazing demonstration of this ancient tool.
WGBH Boston, 1997
- Teaching Math: A Video Library, K-4 (1997). A video library for K-4 math teachers; 52 video programs (from 15 to 30 minutes in length) and guide. Quoting from the website:
- 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.
- Teaching Math: A Video Library, 5-8 (1997). A video library for grade 5-8 math teachers; 6 fifteen-minute video programs and guide. Quoting from the website:
- 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.
Free IAE Resources
IAE Free Books (2016). See
Moursund, D. (2016). Fair use. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 7/1/2016 from http://iae-pedia.org/Fair_Use.
Moursund, D. (2016). Free educational videos. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 7/1/2016 2016 from http://iae-pedia.org/Free_Educational_Videos.
Moursund, D. (2016). Free math education materials. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 6/27/2016 from http://iae-pedia.org/Free_Math_Education_Materials.
Moursund, D. (2016). Free math education videos. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 7/1/2016 from http://iae-pedia.org/Free_Math_Education_Videos.
Moursund, D. (2016). Free math software. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 7/1/2016 from http://iae-pedia.org/Free_Math_Software.
Moursund, D. (2016). Free open source and open content educational materials. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 7/1/2016 from http://iae-pedia.org/Free_Open_Source_and_Open_Content_Educational_Materials.
Moursund, D. (2016). Free science education videos. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 7/1/2016 from http://iae-pedia.org/Free_Science_Education_Videos.
Moursund, D. (2016). Free science software. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 7/1/2016 from http://iae-pedia.org/Free_Science_Software.
Moursund, D. (2016). Open content libraries. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 6/27/2016 from http://iae-pedia.org/Open_Content_Libraries.
Moursund, D. (2016). Open source databases. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 7/1/2016 from http://iae-pedia.org/Open_Source_Databases.
Moursund, D. (2016). Open source software packages. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 7/1/2016 from http://iae-pedia.org/Open_Source_Software_PackagesGoogle Video.
Author or Authors
This page was created by David Moursund.