Popcorn & Problems: Math Movies for Kids

Paige Geis Bradshaw
Popcorn & Problems: Math Movies for Kids

When I was in school, I absolutely loathed my math classes. I’ve always been more right-brained, finding far more enjoyment in my art and writing classes!

But regardless of my distaste for the topic, math was an important part of my education. I use math every day whether I’m planning my monthly budget or calculating how much my groceries are going to cost. Understanding the fundamentals of math makes life a whole lot easier!

If your child has taken a particular interest in math—or could use a way to make it more fun—introduce them to these math movies for kids. Pop some popcorn and watch how math has made an impact on our world!

Math Movies for Kids

Even if math isn’t your kiddo’s strongest subject, they’ll surely find something to love about these arithmetic flicks.

Take a look at these math movies for kids:

Donald in Mathmagic Land | NR

In this 1959 animated short by Disney, Donald Duck embarks on an adventurous journey through the magical world of mathematics. Not only does he see how math is applied in everyday activities, he learns that math is so much more than numbers, shapes, and graphs!

This classic production is full of fun. If your child hasn’t already seen it in school, pull it up on YouTube and discover math in an all-new way with Donald Duck! Click here to watch the whole special.

Dream Big: Engineering Our World | NR

We all hope that our children will make the most of their lives and “dream big.” This film explores exactly that, highlighting the human ingenuity behind breathtaking marvels made through engineering.

Ultimately, this production aims to inspire children to become superstars in STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math. Once they see how others have innovated ways to improve human lives, they just might start to see math in a different light!

Discover the documentary here.

Flatland | G

In this action-packed animated movie based on the novel by Edwin A. Abbott, two-dimensional shapes lead their lives in a two-dimensional world. But when the third dimension is discovered, the shapes have a decision to make: continue to comply with the evil circles who’ve ruled Flatland for a thousand years, or face the third dimension and deal with the consequences.

Your child will learn a thing or two about geometry at a level they will not only understand, but enjoy! Click here to check out the trailer.

Hidden Figures | PG

Based on true events, this powerful production highlights three Black women who worked for NASA in the 1960s. In fact, they were the brains behind the space mission Mercury-Atlas 6 that sent John Glenn into orbit!

These women played a major part in one of the greatest space accomplishments of their time. With segregation still running rampant then, this was an especially inspiring feat. Your child will learn how the study of math can take them far in their future career—and that nothing can stop them from chasing their dreams.

Watch the trailer here!

October Sky | PG

A teenage boy from West Virginia takes an interest in rockets, but his coal miner father looks down on his newfound passion. This film follows the boy’s battle between hoping to follow his dreams and wanting to please his father, who wants him to continue the coal mining tradition.

Taking place in 1957, your child will watch the historical launch of Sputnik 1—the first artificial Earth satellite! Plus, they’ll learn a little about what it takes to get into rocket science. (Hint: a lot of math!)

Click here to take a look at the trailer!

Queen of Katwe | PG

Inspired by a true story, this film depicts the story of Phiona, a ten-year-old girl from the slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda. When a missionary arrives and teaches children in the community how to play chess, Phiona takes to the game.

As she practices and becomes a successful chess player, Phiona wins competitions and tournaments to lead her family out of poverty. Chess requires strategy and mathematical skills, which your child will learn by watching this movie!

Click here to take a peek at the production.

Math Movies for Teens

Your older ones might prefer more action or drama in their entertainment. These math movies for teens feature more mature themes and contain more complex information that young minds might not understand.

Check out these math movies for teens:

A Beautiful Mind | PG-13

This film follows the life of John Forbes Nash Jr., a mathematical genius who experienced great intellectual success while suffering from schizophrenia, a serious mental illness. Nash earned a prestigious education, many awards, and made fundamental contributions to mathematical study.

In addition to learning more about the life of this fantastic mathematician, your teen will see what they are capable of accomplishing—even in the midst of challenges and trials. Click here to check out the trailer!

The Imitation Game | PG-13

The Imitation Game tells the story of Alan Turing—a real-life mathematician—and his team of code breakers were tasked with cracking the Nazi code, Enigma, which was believed to be unbreakable. Turing builds a machine to decipher the code while his team analyzes the messages.

A work highlighting an important part of WWII history, this film will educate your teen about the event and demonstrate how much math went into making it happen.

Click here to take a look at the trailer!

The Man Who Knew Infinity | PG-13

Srinivasa Ramanujan—a brilliant, self-taught mathematician—flunks college. While that would discourage most, Ramanujan maintains hope and pursues his passion anyway. When he later connects with a professor from another institution, he’s invited to attend another school and continue his studies.

In spite of coming from a poor background and enduring racial prejudice throughout his life, Ramanujan became a pioneer in mathematical theories. This movie will teach your teen that even in the face of hardship, monumental success can be found.

Watch the trailer of this true story here!

The Story of Maths | NR

In this four-part series by Professor Marcus du Sautoy from the University of Oxford, your teen will be taken through the history of mathematics. From the origins of the number “0” to the math problem that has yet to be solved despite the one-million-dollar reward, your teen will discover fascinating facts that have made math what it is today.

Click here to learn more about this informative four-part flick!

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