Really Fun Math Documentary

What did I just say? Yes, we watched a really fun math documentary today. I guess that is what you would call it. The title of the DVD is The Story of 1 (and it is available through Netflix). All about, you guessed it, the history of the number 1. Pretty cool stuff actually. How people started counting using lines on sticks which then progressed to using tokens and the development of math. Takes you from the Sumerians, to the Greeks, to the Romans, the Indians (who invented Arabic numerals we use today and the number 0), and continues on until the importance of binary numbers today. Throws in a bit about Pythagoras, Fibonacci and other important mathematicians. Talks about just why 1 and 0 are so important. (I know that I personally had never given it much thought!)

And they do it in a really fun way…hard to really explain, but it had Jason (9 years old) laughing out loud (always a good thing!) Kyle (6 years old) did not enjoy it as much…found some of it boring. Mainly because much of it went over his head. He did laugh at certain parts and I am sure that he got something out of it. But I could see the connections going off in Jason head as he watched it. At one point when Kyle was complaining about a boring part, Jason told him to be quiet because he really liked it and it was not boring!

When we finished watching it, Jason went back to certain parts to watch them over again. I have noticed that while Jason does not like doing “arithmetic” he actually does grasp (and enjoy!) math concepts very quickly. He also really seems to enjoy the historical aspect of math. We read The Number Devil several months ago (still need to review it here!) and he really liked it and I had a feeling that he would like this as well. They had a similar feel…irreverent and focusing more on math concepts then math facts.

I also want to check out a book called Mathematicians are People Too which sounds like fun. I personally love history and Jason seems to be enjoying the math history that we have done. I love being able to tie everything in together…and it really is the way that Jason learns best. He needs to have some context and interest in what he is learning. I have also heard good things about the Theoni Pappas books like The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat.

I have to admit that this stuff is as much fun for me as it is for the boys! I know that I am learning tons and I love that I get to learn right along with them. Homeschooling at its’ best.


About throwingmarshmallows

I am a homeschooling mom to two sweet, energetic boys although I am probably not exactly what you would expect (definitely NOT your stereotypical homeschooler, if there is really such a thing). I support progressive political causes (yes, liberals can and do homeschool!) and I have found a spiritual home in the Unitarian Universalist Church. I have no real idea of how I want to use this blog, but will probably focus on homeschooling, things that I am learning from my boys, personal thoughts and opinions and maybe some liberal politics thrown in, who knows!
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5 Responses to Really Fun Math Documentary

  1. puppeteermom says:

    (I see I’m not the only one up late…)

    We’ll have to check those out. Our daughter is only six, but she is a math minded individual. Loves patterns, counting and number games.

    Looking forward to the homeschool conference!

  2. moonshadows says:

    Thanks for the great review. I’m going to head over to my library catalog and see if they have any of these!

  3. That sounds cool! I am going to have to check out netflix.

  4. Shame on you, Steph … you might have gotten me into a new addiction (as if I needed any more ;-) ). I have been experimenting with Library Thing. I looked at your “library” (linked in your sidebar) I really like your list, and the way you have it organized “to read,” “currently reading,” “own,” etc. That looks very useful. Fun site.


  5. I can’t wait to check out these videos. My kids hate math about as much as I do. This will provide a nice diversion and fulfill our visually minded needs as well. Confession…I enjoy putting something in the DVD and call it education : )…at least this really will be educational.