Race Unity Invitation: IMAGINE MATH CLASS | National Math Festival

Race Unity Invitation: IMAGINE MATH CLASS

Imagine Math Class

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 (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. 

Who is invited? Youth ages 13-18. (The time period during which you must be in this age range is the 2020-2021 US school year, August 2020-June 2021.)

What do I do? Record your video (one minute or less) on the Gather Voices platform using the prompts below. 

What will you do with the submissions? Video entries will be posted to the National Math Festival website and/or shared on our social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram). A select number of entries will be broadcast live at the 2021 NMF Live Online Weekend, April 16-18, 2021. (You can also view the NMF Gather Voices Privacy Policy.)

What is the deadline? Please record your video by Wednesday, March 31, 2021.


Create or upload your video using Gather Voices


IMAGINE MATH CLASS: How to Participate & Video Guidelines

In the videos below, Kirsten and Giahna explain how to participate in the contest, and some suggestions for thinking about your answer!

Kirsten B.


Giahna O.


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.

You can use the Gather Voices website to record a video of up to 60 seconds or upload one you've made on your cell phone. Choose your prompt:


Then show us what you’ve got! 

10 winners will be chosen to screen their videos at the 2021 NMF Live Online Weekend, April 16-18. These students will also be given $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.

Finally, all the videos will be posted here on the NMF web site, which is open to the public.

IMAGINE MATH CLASS: Student Submissions

Thank you to everyone who has submitted a video! We will post more videos as additional submissions are received.

Harry L.


Darya L.


Katarina D.


IMAGINE MATH CLASS: 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* to:

Attention: National Math Festival
17 Gauss Way
Berkeley, CA 94720

* Due to ongoing USPS postal delays, we strongly suggest submitting no later than March 21, 2021 if you will submit via postal mail.

Are there any other guidelines for making my video? You can record or upload your video directly using the Gather Voices website if your computer or mobile device has a camera and microphone (or headphones with microphone connected). For the best quality recording, make sure you stand no further than a few feet away from your recording device if possible. If you have other questions, contact us at [email protected]