Futures Channel Logo
When your students ask the inevitable question, “When would I ever use this?” answer it with a micro-documentary from the largest STEM video library of its kind — The Futures Channel.
“We are pleased to add The Futures Channel link to the UMKC Math Matters website. Just the prospect of exposing more parents, students, and teachers to this dynamic STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) resource is exciting enough. Each video is designed to capture the imagination of a variety of “intelligences,” and to stimulate curiosity in Mathematics skeptics of all ages.”
-V.R. Franklin, Math Resource Specialist. Kansas City, MO

Educator feedback for Futures Channel:

I like to motivate the students to learn math by showing applications for math and science in real life, and your videos are a valuable resource. You do a great job. Thank you.”  FA. El Paso, Texas

“I often find myself searching the Futures Channel library of videos for subject that I know will be of interest to my students.  Instead of the usual math warm up of equations or problems at the beginning of class, I play a video.  The students are immediately engaged and you can hear them whispering to each other about what they are watching.  This is a great “hook” to the beginning of my math class.  It helps me generate a conversation with the students about the relevance of math in “their” world, not just in the classroom.  I have loved having my subscription to The Futures Channel and I am excited to begin another year.”  EC Encino, CA


Futures Channel resources that you can try out:


The Blackfooted Ferret:

Blackfooted Ferret ThumbUS Fish and Wildlife biologists explain how they are making strides in saving this endangered species. From breeding ferret offspring to preparing them for release back into the wild, the recovery effort of these cute carnivores is rich in math & science. WATCH MOVIE

Accompanying free STEM lesson plans and activities for this video cover:

Subject: Problem Solving
Topics: Identify the Variables; Use a Chart or Table; Solve Multi-Step Problems
Grades: 6 – 12

Download activity: Ferret Figures

Subject: Algebra
Topics: Exponential Equations and Functions
Grades: 10 – 12

Download PDF Population Growth



What is a “Math Trail”?

The math trail was first conceived as a way to help students become active learners by finding the math that exists in their communities.  WATCH MOVIE


There is no one “right way” to conduct a math trail. The basic activity is simple: students observe the environment outside the classroom, to discover examples of math concepts that they are studying. They then create problems for others to solve based on their observations.


A series of observations and problems can be put together to create a “trail” that others can follow. The trail can lead participants into the community, or trace a route through the school grounds. The choice will depend on the circumstances and resources that exist at your own school.


Done well, a math trail can help students discover new things about their community at the same time that it sharpens their mathematical thinking.

The math trail activity has these objectives:

  • To help students value mathematics by giving them an opportunity to discover its applications in the real world.
  • To improve students’ problem-solving ability by giving them an opportunity to create and solve their own problems.
  • To improve students’ ability to communicate mathematical ideas.
  • To improve students’ ability to work together on mathematical problems.
  • To develop students’ interest in and respect for the community in which they live.


Download a PDF guide What is a “math trail?”


What Is Engineering?

Watch this video from National Science Foundation where students talk about their perspectives on engineering. WATCH MOVIE

 What is Engineering

Futures Channel resource accompanying this video defines engineering and describes various types of engineering.



Landscape Architects:

Landscape Architects ThumbMeet two landscape architects who tell the story of competing against top firms in the world to win the opportunity to design a one-of-a kind botanical garden for the city of Chicago: the Lurie Garden at Millennium Park. WATCH MOVIE

Accompanying free STEM lesson plans and activities for this video cover:

Subject: Mathematics; Problem Solving

Topics: Geometry; Make a model

Grades: 7 – 10

Download PDF Water Geometry

Subject: Mathematics

Topics: Trigonometric Ratios

Grades: 9 – 12

Download PDF Survey Team



What is “Digital”?

What is digital image

Everywhere you look you’ll find something that is “digital.” Computers, smart phones, streaming movies, video game consoles, household appliances, cars and thousands of other gadgets use digital information. We use these items every day but few people understand what the term “digital” really means.

What does the word “digital” mean? FIND OUT

This resource also links to the University of Houston video: “What is Digital Media?”





Futures Channel is a subscription based site that offers 135 short videos (3 to 5 minutes) and over 200 accompanying lesson plans (each with several activities). You are also welcome to use their free resources.

Visit the site at http://thefutureschannel.com/


Here is some more feedback from another educator:

“The ideology of The Future’s Channel was a perfect fit for what I was trying to do… make meaning out of the age-old question “Why do I have to do this?”  Entering a classroom and being engaged by a question is a natural way to pull students into a conversation about solving that question.  Rather than lecturing for 30 minutes and doing homework quietly… these rather unruly and poor-performing students loved the video clips – decided that they weren’t really doing math… and a year later, I was called to the High School to answer how on earth I got these kids to do any work.” DI