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Filmography - Mathematics: part 2

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of June 2011

Mathematics Filmography

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of June 2011. 

Most streaming videos listed are available exclusively to AU students, staff and faculty after an online authentications by AUID#.

This is a selective list of video holdings in the American University Library. Filmographies are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the ALADIN catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible. For complete up-to-date holdings (including VHS tapes) please refer to the library ALADIN catalog (


Marin Mersenne: the birth of modern geometry. 1986.  Topics in the history of mathematics.  1 videodisc (25 min.). Follows the development of 17th century scientific and mathematical thinking precipitated by Marin Mersenne, a monk who believed that from collaboration and the sharing of knowledge truth would emerge. Also discusses the works of Descartes and other principal mathematicians of the period.  DVD 7473

Math and Literature.  1993.  1 streaming video (26 min.). A bookstore owner explains how storybooks can be used to help teach math to primary school students. Although they are not all written with math in mind, each featured book incorporates mathematical thinking used in meaningful situations. Streaming video  

Math Can Take You Places. 2005.  1 streaming video (50 min.). With American schools struggling to boost mathematics scores, math teachers need all the guidance they can get. This bilingual program contains a powerful tool-chest full of lesson demonstrations, professional development videos, and an interactive quiz-all designed to help educators develop real-world teaching examples and applications. Five segments feature a high-energy middle-school teacher in action, leading students through measurement, equivalency, domain/range/reasonableness, problem-solving, and patterns. Five additional segments focus on professional development, presenting tips from experienced teachers on honing algebraic thinking, incorporating video and the Internet, implementing manipulative learning tools, and showing how math is used in everyday life. English or Spanish soundtrack, DVD only. A viewable/printable instructor's guide-containing lesson plans, classroom activities, a helpful Web link, and more-is available online. Streaming video

Mathematical induction. 1991. College algebra in simplest terms ; pt. 24. 1 streaming video (30 min.). Program 24 exhibits special cases, looks at patterns of numbers that develop, relates the patterns to Pascal’s triangle and factorials, and develops the general form of this concept. Streaming video

The Math Factor. 1993.  1 streaming video (26 min.). A pair of team teachers demonstrate how they surround their second-grade students with an exciting and challenging math environment. The program also shows the creative uses of a calendar and hands-on cooperative activities that revolve around a common math theme. Streaming video

Math in Automotive Technology. 1998.  1 streaming video (11 min.). Math in Automotive Technology is an eleven-minute video which is part of the series, Math in Technology. But why do I need math?Now, using this series, give students a clear, definitive, and logical answer. Math is necessary to get the job done in most technical fields, including auto mechanics, electricity/electronics, and the building trades. Each video shows real-life problem situations solved by using practical math and actual computations on the screen. Use Introduction to Math in Technology as an overview and then progress to specific topics. At last...a program to help your students succeed in the world of technical math. A Meridian Production.  Streaming video

Math in Construction Technology. 1998.  1 streaming video (10 min.). In this dramatized program, a contractor trainee prepares an exterior painting estimate for a house that has been vandalized by taking exact measurements, calculating square footage using geometry, adding cost of materials, and multiplying labor costs per hour. Afterward, a group of teens gets ready to build a bike repair shed by reading blueprints, calculating floor area, and squaring the shop's footprint by equalizing the floor's diagonal measurements. A Meridian Production. Streaming video

Math in Electrical Technology. 1998.  1 streaming video (12 min.). Math in Electrical Technology is an eleven-minute video which is part of the series, Math in Technology. But why do I need math?Now, using this series, give students a clear, definitive, and logical answer. Math is necessary to get the job done in most technical fields, including auto mechanics, electricity/electronics, and the building trades. Each video shows real-life problem situations solved by using practical math and actual computations on the screen. Use Introduction to Math in Technology as an overview and then progress to specific topics. At last...a program to help your students succeed in the world of technical math. A Meridian Production.  Streaming video

The Math Life. 2002.  1 streaming video (51 min.). Why did a magician become a mathematician? How can a person see in four dimensions? What does a mathematical proof have in common with a Picasso portrait? This elegant program brings to life the human dimension of mathematics through lively interviews with Freeman Dyson, David Mumford, Ingrid Daubechies, Persi Diaconis, Michael Freedman, Fan Chung Graham, Kate Okikiolu, Jennifer Tour Chayes, Peter Sarnak, Steven Strogatz, and seven other mathematicians. These captivating luminaries vividly communicate the excitement and wonder that fuel their work as they explore the world through its patterns, shapes, motions, and probabilities. Computer animations and analogies drawn from the visual arts are incorporated, to maximize accessibility to the fascinating concepts discussed. A Wendy Conquest/Bob Drake/Dan Rockmore Production. Streaming video  

Mathematics and Computers. 2002.  1 streaming video (52 min.). Divided into five short segments for easy inclusion in lectures, this engaging and accessible program uses computer-rendered models to illustrate five essential topics in mathematics. These include how the Golden Ratio is calculated and has been applied to architecture, art, and design; the ratio of similitude and how it relates to the Pythagorean Theorem and fractals; defining pi using cylinders, regular polygons, the area of a circle, and the weight of geometric cutouts; Hippocratic crescents; and cylindrical and conic sections. An excellent tool for bringing a strong visual element into the teaching of algebra and geometry. Streaming video

Mathematics and Nature. 1990.  1 streaming video (23 min.). The shapes of natural things-trees and clouds, blades of grass and galaxies-seem countless. Closer observation shows that nature only presents a small number of fundamental shapes and that these basic shapes obey strict laws. This program explains a new science of natural forms that aims to understand the order of nature. We see that most natural phenomena, whether the movement of planets or the secretion of hormones, follow regular cycles. Attempts to describe the order of nature mathematically have led to a new geometry: fractal geometry. Streaming video

The Mayans. 1996.  1 streaming video (47 min.). The most advanced of the pre-Hispanic peoples of Central America, the Mayans rose to great prominence, only to suddenly decline around the year AD 900. In this program, cultural historian Iain Grain delves into Mayan history, investigating topics such as the Mayans' mastery of mathematics, their extremely hierarchical society, their use of human sacrifice to induce rain, and Mayan art. Many examples of Mayan architecture are provided as well, plus a computer re-creation of the temple at Chichen Itza. Although there are still more than two million native Mayans living in Central America, the exact origins of their ancestors and the fate of the ancient Mayan cities remain mysteries. Streaming video

Measurement: The Long and the Short of It. 2007.  1 streaming video (16 min.). Emphasizing hands-on practice, this program is an excellent tool for introducing the basics of linear measurement: its history, terminology, systems, and practical applications. Using both customary and metric rulers, Measurement: The Long and the Short of It will guide your students through the process of taking measurements, performing related calculations using whole numbers and fractions, and arriving at answers they can feel confident with. By the time the program is over, students will understand exactly what measurement is-and why it's relevant to their lives. Includes a workbook. Correlates to all applicable state and national standards. A Shopware Production. Recommended for middle school, high school, and vocational/technical school. Streaming video

Molecular Geometry and Bonding Theories. 2000.  1 streaming video (18 min.). Why is the acronym VSEPR pronounced vesper? The answer to that question is the only thing not revealed in part one of this program, which takes a look at the VSEPR theory, non-bonding electron pairs, polarity, and dipoles. In part two, a cow-chickenand other experts elucidate the theories of hybrid orbital and molecular orbital overlap and illustrate how to determine bond order. Streaming video

Percentages. 1995.  1 streaming video (20 min.). This video describes how to calculate with percentages and interpret and use percentage figures that appear in diagrams and charts. Dramatized segments and computer animations include calculating payroll deductions; figuring out the marked-down price of sale items at the mall; analyzing Corvette buying trends and statistics at a plant and a showroom; and deciding which type of bank CD will maximize return on investment. Streaming video  

Permutations and combinations. 1991. College algebra in simplest terms ; pt. 25. 1 streaming video (30 min.). Program 25 demonstrates techniques for counting the number of ways that collections of objects can be arranged, ordered and combined. Streaming video

Planets, Stars, and Galaxies. 2010.  1 streaming video (31 min.). Beginning with the history of astronomy (Ptolemy, Copernicus, Giordano Bruno, Galileo), this program considers the mathematics of motion (velocity, acceleration); gravity (Kepler's discoveries, Newton's laws, center of gravity, astronomical units); the properties of stars (parallax, flux, luminosity, color, Hertzsprung-Russell diagram); relativity (Einstein's theories, speed of light, space-time); and the large-scale structure of the universe (Big Bang, Cosmological Principle, Hubble's law). Humankind has come a long way in our understanding of the cosmos-but we're still only scratching the surface of astrophysics, with discoveries of incalculable value still waiting to be made. A viewable/printable instructor's guide is available online. A Films for the Humanities & Sciences Production. A part of the series Physics in Action. Streaming video

Polynomial functions. 1991. College algebra in simplest terms ; pt. 16. 1 streaming video (30 min.). Program 16 covers how to recognize, graph, and determine all of the intercepts of a polynomial function. Streaming video

Polynomials. 1992.  1 streaming video (15 min.). Ron Lancaster uses a puzzle to introduce algebra, and gives some everyday examples of its usefulness. He stresses the importance of collecting like terms and shows how to factor. Streaming video

Probability. 1991. College algebra in simplest terms ; pt. 26. 1 streaming video (30 min.). Program 26, beginning with games-of-chance, shows how the subject of probability has evolved to include application in such areas as genetics, social science and medicine. Streaming video

Professor Hawking's Universe. 1983. 1 streaming video (50 min.). The Lucasian chair of mathematics at Cambridge University is one of the most prestigious professorships in the world, occupied at one time by Isaac Newton. Its present incumbent is Stephen Hawking, who established his reputation as one of this century's most brilliant astrophysicists and mathematicians with his discovery that black holes are not necessarily black, and that some of them even shine. Confined by ALS to his wheelchair, his speech understood by only his family and close colleagues, he is working on the greatest problem in modern science-the unification of Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity. This program observes Hawking and his students in their quest for ultimate knowledge. Streaming video  

Pythagoras' Theorem: An Introduction. 2009.  1 streaming video (21 min.). The Pythagorean Theorem is one of the most well known and widely used mathematical relationships in history. In this program, Pythagoras himself walks students through the theorem, offering practice problems and detailed explanations along the way. Parts of a right triangle are identified, hypotenuse and leg lengths are measured, and areas are calculated, while practical applications of the theorem illustrate how geometry can be put to work in the real world. A part of the series Math. Streaming video  

Quadratic equations. 1991. College algebra in simplest terms ; pt. 7. 1 streaming video (30 min.). Program 7 stresses the quadratic formula--how it is used to complete a square, and how it is expressed as the difference of two squares or the sum of two squares. Streaming video

Quadratic Equations. 1992. 1 streaming video (15 min.). A review of linear equations begins this lesson on quadratic equations and how to solve them. Ron Lancaster shows how quadratic equations can be applied to the things around us when he uses a quadratic equation to describe the motion of a bouncing ball. Streaming video  

Rational functions. 1991. College algebra in simplest terms ; pt. 17. 1 streaming video (30 min.). In Program 17 the properties of rational functions are developed by investigating several graphs, to determine the intercepts, symmetry and asymptotes. Applications demonstrate double time for simple interest, average cost function and tax rates. Streaming video

Rationalists and British empiricists. 2002.  Western philosophy.  1 videocassettes (50 min.). "The discoveries of Copernicus and Galileo turned science completely upside down, forcing people to examine their place in the world and question God's place in science and mathematics. Religious volatility in Europe also prompted fierce theological debate amongst scholars over the true nature and necessity of God's existence. In Europe, the Rationalist movement was born.  The sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries saw the emergence of continental mathematical and philosophical giants including Descartes, Leibniz, Kant, and Spinoza. Meanwhile in Britain, a philosophical renaissance was taking place. Known as the British Empiricists, they included Locke, Hume, and Berkeley." --from container.  VHS 7644

Ratios. 1991. 1 streaming video (15 min.). At a plant nursery, Ron Lancaster discovers the significance of the ratios listed on fertilizer boxes, and later calculates how much fertilizer is required for a lawn. He also calculates ratios using Wayne Gretzky's hockey scoring statistics. Streaming video

Ratios. 1995. 1 streaming video (20 min.). This video describes how to identify and form equivalent ratios and ratio tables, express ratios as both fractions and decimals, and interpret map scales to calculate distances. Dramatized segments and computer animations show ways to determine which combinations of a mountain bike’s gears provide the most power and speed; custom-design a roof at a construction office to create a high attic ceiling; and interpret a map to decide if there is enough time to drive the distance to a rock concert. Streaming video

Reading a Ruler: English and Metric Measurements. 1994.  1 streaming video (19 min.). In the first lesson, the different forms of English measurement are discussed and displayed as they would appear on a ruler. The viewer also learns how to understand fractions when measuring and how to find exact measurements using a ruler. The second lesson deals with the metric system by introducing the meter and other metric measurements. Viewers learn how to read a meter stick, and common abbreviations of metric measurements are discussed. Viewers also learn how to convert measurements using the decimal point. A Shopware Production. Streaming video  

Reviewing Your Math Skills. 1992 1 streaming video (15 min.). Host Ron Lancaster gives advice on how to select a calculator, and demonstrates a simple way to remember the order of operations. He shows how useful the order of operations is when he employs it to measure the area of a room in order to estimate how much paint to buy. Streaming video  

Right Triangles and the Pythagorean Theorem. 1999.  1 streaming video (16 min.). Who is Pythagoras, and why is he so important to geometry? Using a pithy discussion of altitudes and how to solve for the side lengths of right triangles-plus two proofs involving an altitude drawn in a right triangle-this program neatly sets the stage for the debut of the Pythagorean Theorem. An appraisal of the properties of the 45-45-90 and 30-60-90 triangles rounds out the program. Streaming video  

Schoolhouse rock! 2002?  2 videodiscs (221 min.). Collection of all 46 Schoolhouse rock! songs on the topics of science, multiplication, money, American history and English grammar. Plus, the new song "I'm gonna send your vote to college" about the American electoral college.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 589

Sliding and Toppling: Modeling Forces. 1999.  1 streaming video (33 min.). This program discusses how geometry, gravity, and the coefficient of friction determine whether an object slides or topples. The mathematical models behind these phenomena are presented through examples such as ice hockey and skiing. The relationship between sliding and a body's velocity as an exercise in energy conservation is explored as well. Streaming video

The Story of 1: How a Single Digit Created Math and Changed the World. 2005.  1 streaming video (60 min.). The humble digit 1 has in actuality been the prime mover in creating the entire concept of mathematics-and a surprisingly large force in the shaping of world history. This very clever video hosted by the irrepressible Terry Jones of Monty Python fame tells the entire story of 1 and how, with 0, it has come to dominate society through digital technology. Landmark developments-addition and subtraction in Sumer, measurement in Egypt, geometry in Greece, Roman numerals in Rome, Arabicnumbers in India, and more-are spotlighted. In addition, pivotal figures including Pythagoras, Archimedes, al-Khuwarizmi, Fibonacci, and Leibniz are introduced. Recommended for grades 6-18. Streaming video

The story of math. 2009.  3 videodiscs (233 min.). In this landmark series of films, University of Oxford Professor Marcus du Sautoy escorts viewers through the history of this most important of all intellectual disciplines. In a journey that takes him through the ages and around the world, he examines the development of key mathematical ideas and shows how, in a multitude of surprising ways, mathematical ideas underpin the science, technology, and culture that shape our world.  DVD 7251 – 7253

Systems of linear inequalities. 1991. College algebra in simplest terms ; pt. 21. 1 streaming video (30 min.). Program 21 sets up a problem, finds a solution, develops linear inequalities, graphs these solutions, and forms a region of feasible solutions. Streaming video

System of equations. 1991. College algebra in simplest terms ; pt. 20. 1 streaming video (30 min.). In Program 20 the elimination method and substitution method are used to solve problems with systems of studying linear and nonlinear equations. Their applications to supply or demand, and cost and revenue are demonstrated. Streaming video

To Infinity and Beyond: Mathematics in Modern Times. 2008.  1 streaming video (59 min.). In this program, Professor Marcus du Sautoy addresses mathematical advances of 20th-century Europe and America. Topics include Georg Cantor's exploration of the concept of infinity; chaos theory, formulated by Henri Poincare; Kurt Godel's incompleteness theorems; the work of Andre Weil and his colleagues with algebraic geometry; and the influence of Alexander Grothendieck, whose ideas have influenced mathematical thinking about the hidden structures behind all mathematics. The program concludes by considering one of the great as-yet-unsolved problems of mathematics: the Riemann Hypothesis. Original Open University title: To Infinity and Beyond. A part of the series The Story of Math. Streaming video

Topology: Mathematics of the Surface. 2002.  1 streaming video (30 min.). Hosted by Professor Tim David of the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, this program concisely presents the basic concepts of topology. After a brief introduction involving the four-color theorem, Professor David compares the elastic deformations of various geometric figures to determine equivalence, making use of fixed points and point sets affected by surface transformation. The discussion is facilitated by simple yet stylish computer animation, and prepares the viewer to answer a particularly challenging final question: can a Mobius strip be proven equivalent to other configurations? Produced by the Open University. Streaming video

Understanding Ratio and Proportion. 2009.  1 streaming video (16 min.). The house painting project calls for sky blue, but all Jess's mom gave her are dark blue and white. Using that problem as a starting point, this program distinguishes ratios from proportions and explains the concepts of simplest form and equivalent ratios. By the video's end, viewers will have a thorough understanding of ratios and proportions: what they are, how to work with them, and how they can be applied in everyday situations. A part of the series Math. Streaming video  

Units, Perimeter, Circumference, and Area. 1999.  1 streaming video (20 min.). When it comes to measuring flat shapes, geometry generously provides a formula for every occasion. This program begins with an overview of how to convert English and metric units of measurement. Next, finding the perimeter of polygons is illustrated, after which a tour of Circleville provides a snapshot summary of circumference and pi. Finally, the Area Congruence and Area Addition Postulates are revealed, along with formulas for the area of squares, rectangles, parallelograms, triangles, trapezoids, and circles. Streaming video

Variation. 1991. College algebra in simplest terms ; pt. 15. 1 streaming video (30 min.). Program 15 applies variation to previously discussed programs and applications. Streaming video

Vectors and Moments.  1999.  1 streaming video (56 min.). Moving beyond the concept of simple force, this program expands the application of vectors to include velocity, acceleration, and rotational motion. In addition, moments of greater complexity are investigated through vector geometry. Real-world examples are included. Streaming video  

Whole Math. 1993.  1 streaming video (26 min.). This program shows the implementation of an attempt to spark greater interest in math in lower grades by means of a holistic approach that includes placing math in a meaningful context, making connections to the rest of the curriculum, and teaching within themes. Streaming video