Article | Movies & Math

Students are fascinated by movies, especially animated and 3D movies. And you will often find students engaged in intense conversation discussing the special effects they saw in a movie. But what they don’t realize is that “mathematics” plays an important and integral role in all these movies. In this article, we share resources that connect movies with math and bring out the application and relevance of math.

Article – Math in Movies: In this article, computer scientist, Tony DeRose of Pixar Animation Studios explains how mathematics is used in creating animated movies.

Career Connections – Math and Filmmaking: In this article, filmmakers Jane Wagner and Tina DiFeliciantonio explain how mathematics is used in different phases of filmmaking.

Career Connections – Math and Computer Graphics: In this article, Artist Kevin Baille explains how math is used in creating computer animation and visual effects.

Jumping Out of Windows: This lesson plan explains how stunts are performed in movies and how math calculations are used to plan stunts. Students are then asked to measure, multiply, and divide data to plan stunts.

All about Film: This lesson plan explains the concept of a film projector and then poses mathematical problems related to calculating number of frames in a movie and amount of film reel to be purchased for a movie.

The Geometry of Lenses: This lesson plan explains the concept of a camera lens and then poses mathematical problems around lens functions.

Filmmaking on a Budget: This lesson plan presents a filmmaking scenario and requires students to plan a budget for the movie. The scenario requires students to view video clips, if you don’t have ICT enabled in your school, then you can take notes from the video clips and read them to the class.

Can you think of other movie-related situations around which math problems can be built? How about sharing collection figures of movies from the past year and asking student to create graphs or asking students to find the area required to build a movie set of a particular dimension?

Or, how about rewriting textbook word problems to fit them into a filmmaking scenario, and then conducting a “Who will be a Film Producer” contest in class – would that excite students?

Kanchan Shine

Kanchan Shine

Passionate about everything related to education. I believe that the best kind of learning happens through play, experiments and fun! I love watching how children learn and love to implement play-based, hands-on teaching approaches. I get my thrill by planning activities for my children (6 yo girl & 3 yo boy) and watching them learn while having fun!

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2 Responses

  1. Shraddha says:

    This series called ‘Best writing in Mathematics’ published annually since the past 3 years I guess, has a section on Mathematics in the media. I haven’t read them all, but here’s the link – http://www.maa.org/news/math-news/six-maa-articles-featured-in-emthe-best-writing-on-mathematicsem

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