IMAGINE MATH CLASS Video Contest | National Math Festival


Imagine Math Class event banner


Register today to join the IMAGINE MATH CLASS conversation on Thursday, October 28th from 12-1pm US Eastern Time. 

Join the National Math Festival and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) for a conversation about identity, mathematics, and the future of math class. This free, one-hour event takes place via Zoom. You are welcome to join us for all or part of the live online event.

As we celebrate and share highlights from this fall's IMAGINE MATH CLASS youth video contest, we invite you to participate in this event bringing together voices of US middle and high schoolers with educators making mathematics and math classrooms more welcoming to all. Bring your questions to share with the MSRI and NCTM staff members who are convening the event!

Educators, students in grades 7-12, and families are especially invited to speak with our presenters and share your ideas about the future of math class in an anti-racist world.


Register for the October 28th IMAGINE MATH CLASS Awards Celebration


Fall 2021 Contest Video Highlights

"Imagine Math Class with Justice" by Aniah C.
Columbus Academy (Gahanna, Ohio)

"Imagine No Boundaries" by Mary Rose P., Jabari Z., Juan R., David H., A’myaa M., and CanVashia C.
Atlanta Area School for the Deaf (Clarkston, Georgia)


"Imagine Math Class" by Madigan R., Nia R., Sadie W., and Leia Z.
Liberty High School (Liberty, Missouri)

"Imagine Math Class" by Bogdan J.
Whitney M. Young Magnet High School Academic Center (Chicago, Illinois)


"Imagine Math..." by Athena C., Vivian S., Alice S., and Fiona W.
The Girls' Middle School (Palo Alto, California)

"Creating a Generation of Mathematicians" by students of Del Valle HS
Del Valle High School (Del Valle, Texas)
* View text transcript (PDF)



Fall 2021 Video Contest (Submissions closed)

Imagine Math Class

What is this? A video competition for youth (ages 13–18) to imagine the future of math class in an anti-racist world.

How can I participate? 

  1. Youth: Submit a 3-minute video by October 18, 2021 to participate in our video contest. See below for complete details.
  2. Middle and High School Math Teachers: Help spread the word and share this opportunity with your students.
  3. Youth + Teachers + Adults: Join us on Thursday, October 28 for a live online conversation and award announcement celebration. Learn more below and register online for the Zoom link!

How do I join the video contest?  For youth in the United States who are ages 13-18 at the time of submission:

  • Record your video (3 minutes or less).
  • This is an individual or team project. If submitting as a team, you may have 2-10 students on your team, including on- and off-camera roles.
  • A teacher at your school or another adult must upload the final video to the Gather Voices platform using the prompts below.

What will you do with the submissions? Highlighted video entries and winners will be posted to the National Math Festival website and/or shared on our social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram). You can also view the NMF Gather Voices Privacy Policy.

What is the deadline? Submissions were accepted from August 15 through October 18, 2021.


Competition Sponsors

Who is sponsoring this? The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) is a non-profit organization for professional mathematicians dedicated to research in mathematics, but also to building a better world for young people through hosting public events such as the National Math Festival. 

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) advocates for high-quality mathematics teaching and learning for each and every student.

MSRI and NCTM logos


IMAGINE MATH CLASS: How to Participate & Video Guidelines

In the videos below, Kirsten and Desiree explain how to participate in the contest: 


IMAGINE MATH CLASS: Video Guidelines

You are stepping into a future world as YOU want it to be. Don’t worry about what’s possible, or how much money it costs, or how broken the system is now. Call on your powers of imagination. Call on your personal power. Imagine the way YOU want the math class of the future to be.

Your teacher or another adult will upload your finished video to the Gather Voices website. Choose your prompt:


    Then show us what you’ve got!

    Up to ten winning videos will be chosen to screen their videos at a public online event on October 28, 2021. Winning teams are eligible to receive $500 worth of Mathical award-winning books to share with the students at their school. These are graphic novels, and thrillers, and novels about gaming, and biographies, and all kinds of stories with math and youth of color at the center.

    As part of the Spring 2021 contest, all submissions were chosen to screen their videos at the 2021 National Math Festival. We are grateful to all the students who participated in the contest, despite the challenges of the 2020-21 school year. You can see their entries here. These students were also eligible to receive $500 worth of Mathical award-winning books to share with the students at their school. These are graphic novels, and thrillers, and novels about gaming, and biographies, and all kinds of stories with math and youth of color at the center.

    IMAGINE MATH CLASS: Sample Videos

    Get inspired by the following videos created during past contests of the National Math Festival:

    The Young People's Project: An Amazing Group Video

    Student Voices: Spring 2021 Montage


    Math & Social Justice Videos for Your Inspiration

    Thanks to our friends at QSIDE for sharing their math & social justice stories! Here you can learn more about how applied mathematicians use math to investigate their world to create a better society.

    Dr. Carrie Diaz Eaton, Bates College

    Dr. Manuchehr Aminian, Cal Poly Pomona

    * Contains brief discussion of mature themes, including human trafficking.


    Additional Information

    Why is this important? Racism happens everywhere, including in math class. If you haven't noticed it before, this is a chance to notice it now, by watching the videos showing the experiences of your peers around the country.

    Imagine Math Class logo

    I'm confused. How can math be racist? It's just numbers. Every human environment is permeated by the culture in which we live. It's hard to see our surrounding culture sometimes. If our culture is working well for us, it might seem "normal" or invisible. This is a chance to uncover how math class looks or feels to someone for whom it is definitely *not* working most of the time.

    Another answer to this question looks at, What is math? Is it really just numbers and symbols? Like every other human enterprise, math is inherently human. It is made or discovered — depending on which mathematician you ask! — by human beings. We are all fallible. We all make mistakes. It is to be expected that the way we teach and learn math is mixed up with our identities as white-bodied, Black-bodied, or other individuals. You cannot separate your identity as an embodied person with a racial identity from your identity as a math person.

    Each of us is a math person. We all have a relationship to math, one way or another.

    Each of us has an embodied racial identity, regardless of the color of our skin.

    This is a project that invites youth to explore how these two identities overlap, inform, or could potentially change each other for the positive — in a fiercely imagined future world.

    Do I have to have internet service, a computer, or a cell phone to enter? No, if you cannot or choose not to make a video, you can submit your answer in writing by email to [email protected], or send it by postal mail (submission deadline has ended).

    Are there any other guidelines for making my video? Your teacher or another adult will upload your completed video to the Gather Voices website. If you have other questions, contact us at [email protected]