International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education

International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education
Numbers and Nerds: Exploring Portrayals of Mathematics and Mathematicians in Children’s Media
AMA 10th edition
In-text citation: (1), (2), (3), etc.
Reference: Hall J, Suurtamm C. Numbers and Nerds: Exploring Portrayals of Mathematics and Mathematicians in Children’s Media. INT ELECT J MATH ED. 2020;15(3), em0591.
APA 6th edition
In-text citation: (Hall & Suurtamm, 2020)
Reference: Hall, J., & Suurtamm, C. (2020). Numbers and Nerds: Exploring Portrayals of Mathematics and Mathematicians in Children’s Media. International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education, 15(3), em0591.
In-text citation: (Hall and Suurtamm, 2020)
Reference: Hall, Jennifer, and Christine Suurtamm. "Numbers and Nerds: Exploring Portrayals of Mathematics and Mathematicians in Children’s Media". International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education 2020 15 no. 3 (2020): em0591.
In-text citation: (Hall and Suurtamm, 2020)
Reference: Hall, J., and Suurtamm, C. (2020). Numbers and Nerds: Exploring Portrayals of Mathematics and Mathematicians in Children’s Media. International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education, 15(3), em0591.
In-text citation: (Hall and Suurtamm, 2020)
Reference: Hall, Jennifer et al. "Numbers and Nerds: Exploring Portrayals of Mathematics and Mathematicians in Children’s Media". International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education, vol. 15, no. 3, 2020, em0591.
In-text citation: (1), (2), (3), etc.
Reference: Hall J, Suurtamm C. Numbers and Nerds: Exploring Portrayals of Mathematics and Mathematicians in Children’s Media. INT ELECT J MATH ED. 2020;15(3):em0591.


Media play an important role in young people’s lives as an agent of socialization, both generally and with regard to mathematics. To understand the mathematics-related messages disseminated to young people via popular media, we analyzed portrayals of mathematics and mathematicians in over 40 media examples (television shows, movies, websites, video games, and books). Notably, the selection of media was based on elementary students’ responses to a questionnaire about their media favourites, thus enabling an analysis of the messages to which students are exposed during typical media use. While there were differences in the portrayals across the media types, the messages disseminated consistently related to the invisibility of mathematics, narrow views of mathematics, and stereotypical portrayals of mathematicians. Such messages are problematic as they can influence young people’s views of mathematics and mathematicians, as well as of themselves as mathematics learners.


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