In reference to my last post on a Disney science education film, reader theblackcat suggested we check out Donald in Mathemagic Land, a 1959 animation feature one of our favorite Disney cartoon characters.

You can see it in 3 parts starting here:

My thoughts after the break…
I thoroughly enjoyed it – especially the first section on geometries in nature and the part where Disney teaches kids to be pool sharks.

That geometry and art were exclusively used as a segue into learning about math suggests that they thought it most effective to capture attention visually. That’s what we’re about here at MAL!

I did think that Mathemagic Land bogged down in places, relying on a dichotomy of teacher giving the info and jokester providing humor to keep it interesting. At other times, they found ways to make the info itself sparkle, which I must prefer!

Anyway, loved it – can you imagine if Disney had taken this model and improved on it for decades? I would love more episodes from the place where pencils with legs sketch arithmetic and watery 6s divide into 3s around rocks. I especially appreciated the running assumption that we should be curious about our world and the concluding message that our imaginations can do so much more when informed by reason and logic. Clean up that space inside your head and do something with it, Donald! That scene reminded me that my head could use a spring cleaning.


I'm a science artist and science writer involved in various informal science communication projects, such as jewelry based on molecule shapes, a quirky documentary on origin of life theories, and the Science Tarot. I have a PhD in molecular biophysics & biochemistry from Yale University and completed graduate work in science communication at UC Santa Cruz. I'm currently carrying on an off-grid homesteading experiment on the Big Island of Hawai'i.

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