IMAGINE MATH CLASS Video Contest
Submit a group video
August 15 to October 15, 2021
What is this? A video competition for youth to imagine the future of math class in an anti-racist world.
Who is sponsoring this? The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (opens new window) (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 (opens new window) (NCTM) advocates for high-quality mathematics teaching and learning for each and every student.
Who is invited? Youth in the United States who are ages 13-18 at the time of submission. This is a team project. You can have 2-10 students on your team, including on- and off-camera roles. A teacher at your middle school or high school or another adult must upload the final video.
What do I do? Record your video (3 minutes or less) and ask your teacher or another adult to upload it to the Gather Voices platform using the prompts below.
What is the deadline? Submissions for the Fall 2021 contest will be accepted from August 15 through October 15, 2021.
IMAGINE MATH CLASS: How to Participate & Video Guidelines
In the video below, Kirsten explains 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 (opens new window). Choose your prompt:
- IMAGINE MATH CLASS – IN COLOR
- IMAGINE MATH CLASS – WITH YOUTH AT THE CENTER
- IMAGINE FREEDOM + MATH CLASS = ....
Then show us what you’ve got!
Ten winners will be chosen to screen their videos at a public online event in late October 2021. Winning teams are eligible to receive $500 worth of Mathical award-winning books (opens new window) 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 (opens new window) 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 (opens new window) 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.
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.
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 to:
Attention: National Math Festival
17 Gauss Way
Berkeley, CA 94720
Are there any other guidelines for making my video? Your teacher or another adult will upload your completed video to the Gather Voices (opens new window) website. If you have other questions, contact us at [email protected].