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.


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Works Similar to Stand and Deliver
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Mirror Has Two Faces by Barbra Streisand (director) / Richard LaGravenese (Writer)
  2. Mean Girls by Tina Fey (screenplay) / Mark S. Waters (director)
  3. Lambada by Joel Silbert (Director and Writer) / Sheldon Renan (Screenplay)
  4. Super 30 by Vikas Bahl (director) / Sanjeev Dutta (writer)
  5. Against the Odds by Martin Gardner
  6. Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout
  7. The Wizard by C.S. Godshalk
  8. Yi ge dou bu neng shao by Yimou Zhang (director) / Xiangsheng Shi (screenplay)
  9. An Old Arithmetician by Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman
  10. An Invisible Sign of My Own by Aimee Bender
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:
3.29/5 (7 votes)
Literary Quality:
3.89/5 (9 votes)

MotifMath Education,

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Exciting News: The 1,600th entry was recently added to this database of mathematical fiction! Also, for those of you interested in non-fictional math books let me (shamelessly) plug the recent release of the second edition of my soliton theory textbook.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)