MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Stand and Deliver (1987)
Ramon Menendez
Highly Rated!

Contributed by "Vlorbik" aka Owen Thomas

Edward James Olmos plays Jaime Escalante, "a real-life math teacher in East L.A.. This is really unique. The hero's heroism consists in teaching mathematics! Obviously, I've gotta love this one. So did a lot of other people. Olmos got an Oscar nomination. I learned how to calculate multiples of nine on my fingers.

I know its hard to believe, but despite the fact that I've been teaching calculus and talking about mathematical fiction for years, I have only seen this movie for this first time this month (September 2000). Anyway, I'm really glad that I did see it because I do think about it now when I teach. (Mostly I think about how I wish I could get my students to work that hard!) My favorite part, though, was actually just the description on the back of the box that the videotape came in! It said that Escalante "dares to take on a foe so terrible that few have dared to challenge it: the advanced placement calculus exam!" And he does!

Contributed by Carole Del Vecchio

I try to show this movie to my students every year. This year, my Calculus class had just finished learning about integrals and they especially liked looking at the problems written on the board and/or overhead projector.

They had not learned about Integration by Parts yet and they were wondering about Mr. Escalante's "tic-tac-toe" shortcut for integrating x^2 sin x dx. Have you ever heard of this shortcut and if so, what is the significance of the (+) (-) (+) in the right column?

Thank you.

Carole

More information about this work can be found at us.imdb.com.
(Note: This is just one work of mathematical fiction from the list. To see the entire list or to see more works of mathematical fiction, return to the Homepage.)

Works Similar to Stand and Deliver
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Mean Girls by Tina Fey (screenplay) / Mark S. Waters (director)
  2. Lambada by Joel Silbert (Director and Writer) / Sheldon Renan (Screenplay)
  3. Against the Odds by Martin Gardner
  4. The Wizard by C.S. Godshalk
  5. Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Stout
  6. Yi ge dou bu neng shao by Yimou Zhang (director) / Xiangsheng Shi (screenplay)
  7. The Mirror Has Two Faces by Barbra Streisand (director)
  8. An Old Arithmetician by Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman
  9. An Invisible Sign of My Own by Aimee Bender
  10. G103 by Oliver Tearne (director)
Ratings for Stand and Deliver:
RatingsHave you seen/read this work of mathematical fiction? Then click here to enter your own votes on its mathematical content and literary quality or send me comments to post on this Webpage.
Mathematical Content:
3.17/5 (6 votes)
..
Literary Quality:
4/5 (8 votes)
..

Categories:
Genre
MotifMath Education,
TopicAnalysis/Calculus/Differential,
MediumFilms,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)