Showing posts with label Educational Videos. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Educational Videos. Show all posts

Monday, March 20, 2023

Get Inspired by These Videos Made by Students

The C-SPAN StudentCam contest winners were announced last week. The annual competition asks middle school and high school students to produce short videos addressing a current topic in U.S. government and politics. This year the challenge was for students to create a video about what they would make their first priority if elected to Congress. 

This year's grand prize winning video was created by two eighth grade students in Maryland, Parim Shah and Nimay Sharma. Their video is titled Where's My Data? Data Privacy and Its Real World Impact

The "fan favorite" winner was a video titled Losing a Generation. The video is about the opioid addiction crisis in the United States. The video was produced by a middle school student in Ohio named Benjamin Kurian.

All of the videos produced by the division winners and runners-up can be seen here. Congratulations to all!

Applications for Education
If you're looking for some ideas for your next classroom video project, take a look at all of the videos on the C-SPAN StudentCam website. They just might inspire you and your students to create the next great news or PSA video.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

A Round-up of Pi Day Resources

Pi Day is on Tuesday. Last week I shared a few resources for teaching and learning about pi. This post is a summary of those resources and a few more. 

Friday, March 10, 2023

Two Options Explained

A few weeks ago I published a short video that I produced as an introductory explanation of stock options. Dabbling in options trading is a hobby of mine as is producing various types of explanatory videos. Earlier this week I made a follow-up to my video introduction to stock options. This new video explains the two type of stock options that traders buy and sell. Those are call options and put options. 

In the short video that is embedded below I provide a short explanation of what call and put options are and why someone would buy one of them. In a future video I'll explain more about options contracts and the all-important strike price. 

Video - A Short Explanation of Call and Put Options

Video - A Short Explanation of Stock Options

Learn how to make videos like these and many others in your classroom in my new Practical Ed Tech course Five Video Projects for Almost Every Classroom.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Short Lessons and Activities for the Start of Spring

The snow in our yard is at least two feet deep right now. This was concerning to my youngest daughter who asked me on the way to school, "can we have spring if it's still snowy?" My answer, of course, was that spring will still start even if our yard is buried in snow. That then led to a brief explanation about seasons. 

If you find yourself teaching some lessons about the start of spring, here are some resources that you might find helpful. 

Why do birds sing? And how do they learn the songs that they sing? The answers to those questions and more are revealed in a TED-Ed Lesson titled How Do Birds Learn to Sing?

After learning how birds learn to sing, have your students explore The Wall of Birds interactive mural produced by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The mural features a variety of birds that when clicked on reveal information about that bird, audio of that bird's call, and a map of that bird's natural range.

Why do we have seasons? What causes the changes in weather patterns throughout the seasons? The answers to those questions and more are found in the following SciShow Kids video and Crash Course Kids video.

All of these videos are great candidates for use in an EDPuzzle lesson. Here's an overview of how to use EDpuzzle to turn existing videos into lessons of your own. 

PBS Learning Media's Classroom Posters collection contains more than a dozen colorful PDFs featuring the letters of the alphabet with representative icons, numbers, shapes, and short words. In the posters collection you'll also find seasons of the year, months of the year, and weather.

And if you'd like to take your kids outside to learn about the arrival of spring, consider creating some outdoor bingo activities for them. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

All About Maple Syrup

The change to Daylight Saving Time coincides with the saving grace of the end of winter, the start maple syrup season! The days are getting a little longer and the sun is a little higher in the sky during the day. That increased daylight and warmth the sap in maple trees is starting to run. Some of my local friends make their own maple syrup and have started to collect sap to make syrup. 

The process of collecting sap and turning it into maple syrup provides some great science lessons for students. The process of creating maple syrup can teach students lessons about why maple sap is easiest to collect in late winter/early spring, what makes the sap run, and it teaches students about evaporation. 

Here are a few video lessons about making maple syrup: 

Ever Wonder How Maple Syrup is Made? is a video from Highlights. The succinct video shows a mix of the old way of using buckets to collect sap and the modern method of using hoses.

My friend Gardner Waldeier AKA Bus Huxley on YouTube collects maple sap to make maple syrup. He does it the old fashioned way and he made a video about the process. Gardner's video shows viewers how he collects maple sap and turns it into maple syrup. In the video he explains why maple sap is collected at this time of year, how much sap he'll collect from a large tree, and just how much sap it takes to make a gallon of maple syrup. You also get a nice tour of Gardner's woodlot.

Maple Syrup the Modern Way is a three minute video about the process commercial producers use to make syrup.

On a related note for my friends who like to run or bike and might be looking for a new energy bar or  gel, take a look at the Untapped Maple products. I started using their products last year and I love them! It's so much easier to eat an Untapped Maple waffle than a Clif Bar in the middle of a hard workout. The Untapped Maple gels are way easier to choke down than anything else I've tried over the years. The waffles and gels were part of my fueling strategy when I completed Unbound Gravel 200

Monday, March 6, 2023

"But It's Still Sunny Outside!" - Short Lessons on Daylight Saving Time

Last night my daughters said, "but it's still sunny outside" when we told them it was time for dinner. It was then that I remembered that daylight saving time begins next weekend. So next weekend it will be even brighter outside when we start dinner. Not to mention that next Sunday my daughters who already wake up early will wake up even earlier. 

I'll do my best to explain daylight saving time to my daughters, but they might still be a little too young to fully grasp the concept. That said, if you or your students are wondering why we have to change our clocks next weekend, here are few short explanations.

Daylight Saving Time Explained

Daylight Saving Time 101

Daylight Saving Time Explained

TED-Ed has two lessons that aren't specifically about Daylight Saving Time but are related to the topic. First, The History of Keeping Time explains sundials, hourglasses, and the development of timezones. Second, How Did Trains Standardize Time in the United States? explains the role of railroads in the development of the timezones used in the United States (and most of Canada) today.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Great Art Explained

Despite the efforts of my friend Maggie, I don't always understand what makes one work of art great and a similar-looking one fit for display in a Hilton Garden Inn. I thought about that last weekend when I came across a YouTube channel called Great Art Explained. The channel seems to have been made for folks just like me. 

Great Art Explained features twenty-five videos that provide ten to fifteen minute explanations of some of the works of Van Gogh, Picasso, Warhol, Monet, Hokusai, and many others. The videos that I watched over the weekend explained both the artwork itself and the life of the artist and how that influenced their artwork. 

Applications for Education
Great Art Explained could be a good resource for art teachers as well as history teachers. The videos are short enough to be useful for flipped classroom lessons while still providing enough depth to spark good classroom discussions about the works. 

On a related note, you might also be interested in this collection of more than 900 art history books available to view online

Sunday, February 26, 2023

167 Math In "Real Life" Lessons

Math in Real Life is a series of 167 TED-Ed lessons and TED Talks. The "real life" context in these lessons isn't things like "how calculating percentages helps you be a frugal shopper." The "real life" context found in the videos in the Math in Real Life series is broad in nature. For example, you will find lessons about how math is used to guide ships and calculating rates of travel in space.

Applications for Education
The Math in Real Life series of TED-Ed videos, like most TED-Ed videos, could make nice extensions to your classroom instruction.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

"Why Does He Do So Much Sniffing?" - Another Question from My Daughters

If you read this blog regularly, you've probably picked up that I love dogs. So of course I was excited years ago when  TED-Ed published a lesson about how dogs "see" with their noses. And I enjoyed it again this week after my youngest daughter asked me why our dog does so much sniffing.

How Do Dogs "See" With Their Noses? provides a great explanation of how dogs noses work. The most interesting part of the video is the explanation of how dogs' senses of smell allow them to identify friends, foes, and potential threats. The video is embedded below. You can find the full lesson here.

Friday, February 24, 2023

A Good Series on How Computers Work

We use computers every day. But how many of us actually know how they work? Sure we know how to use the software, but I'm thinking about the hardware. How does that aspect of your computer work? has a good video series that addresses that question and more.

Through watching the videos in How Computers Work you can learn about memory, logic, circuits, binary, and the interaction between hardware and software. Get started by watching Bill Gates introduce the series.

Applications for Education
If you're planning to do any classroom projects with Raspberry Pi or Arduino, this series of videos could provide a nice primer for students. Similarly, the videos might help students complete the picture of how computers work after completing a hands-on Raspberry Pi or Arduino activity.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Stocks, Bonds, Options, and Economics

A couple of days ago I published a short video that I made to explain stock options. In planning to make that video I went back through my archives to look at some related resources that I've shared over the years. Here are some highlights from my archive of resources for teaching and learning about stocks, bonds, options, and economics in general. 

TD Ameritrade's YouTube channel offers a concise explanation of the difference between stocks and bonds. A much longer explanation is offered in this older Khan Academy video

TD Ameritrade also offers a concise explanation of how the bond market works and what bonds are used for (spoiler, they're not just for lame gifts from old uncles). 

Inflation Explained in One Minute provides a very basic explanation of the concept of inflation. It could be fine as a conversation starter or introduction to a lesson. However, if viewed on its own without additional information it might give students the impression that inflation is solely caused by changes in money supply. 

How Inflation Works is an excellent twelve minute video lesson produced by CNBC International. The video does a great job of explaining demand-pull inflation and cost-push inflation. Going beyond the basics the video also provides an excellent comparison of the economic theories of Milton and Keynes. Students will also learn how the consumer price index is calculated and how it is indicative of inflation. Finally, the video concludes with historical examples of inflation around the world and the causes of those hyper-inflationary episodes. I should note that the video will lend itself to introducing other concepts to your students including the importance of the federal reserve's interest rate.

If you or your students would prefer an animated lesson about inflation, The School of Life offers this solid explanation of cost-push and demand-pull inflation.

TED-Ed Lessons on Economics
TED-Ed has four lessons that could fit in well with a larger discussion and lessons related to inflation.

Why Can't Governments Print an Unlimited Amount of Money? explains the concept of quantitative easing in the context of the last two years.

What Give a Dollar Bill Its Value? explains the role of the Federal Reserve in trying to control inflation and deflation.

What Causes an Economic Recession? uses the context of the Bronze Age to introduce the factors that can lead to economic recessions today. Those include inflation, borrowing habits, saving habits, spending habits, and government decisions.

What Causes Economic Bubbles? uses the context of the tulip industry of the 1600's to explain what causes an economic bubble and what happens when it bursts.

How Does the Stock Market Work? is a TED-Ed lesson that provides a four minute overview of the origin of stock markets, why companies offer stock, and the basic factors that influence the prices of publicly-traded stocks. 

A Crash Course in Economics
Crash Course Economics is a thirty-six part video series. In it there are videos covering everything from the basics of supply and demand to the 2008 financial crisis to behavioral economics and a whole lot in between. 

60 Second Adventures in Economics
The Open University hosts a series of six short videos intended to introduce viewers to some of the basic concepts of macroeconomics. In 60 Second Adventures in Economics you will find short videos explaining things like the Paradox of Thrift and Comparative Advantage.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

A Brief Explanation of Options

As kind of a hobby I dabble in options trading (I made $6 last week). I mentioned this to a friend of mine last Friday and he, like many other people I've talked to about it over the years, said, "I've heard of that, but I don't what it means." That conversation inspired me to create a short video explanation of what options are. You can watch the video here or as embedded below. 

Video - A Short Explanation of Stock Options

Applications for Education
While I made the video to explain options to my adult friends, it could also be used as an introductory video in a high school business class. If your class is playing a stock market simulation game, this video might be helpful to you and your students.

This style of video is one of many that I teach you how to make in my self-paced Animated Explanations course.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Concise Explanations of DNS & IP

One of the things that quickly became clear when I started teaching an introduction to computer science course for high school freshmen was that while they are happy to use the Internet, they don't really understand how the Internet works. I suppose the same can be said for lots of adults too. The Domain Name Systems is the most important or at least most frequently used part of how people use the Internet today. PowerCert Videos, has a good video that explains how a DNS server works. I used this video in my classroom. offers a video on the same topic.'s video gets into a bit more of the history of the development of the Internet. I also showed this video to my students, but I didn't find it nearly as effective as the PowerCert video.

Applications for Education
If you have never built a website from scratch without the use of a service like Weebly or Google Sites, you may not have ever thought about the role of IP addresses and the domain name system in getting a website online. These videos can help students understand how that process happens and how DNS makes it easy to navigate the web today.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Learning About Languages and The Mysteries of Vernacular

Last week I wrote a blog post titled Two Lessons for a Wicked Cold Day. After publishing that post it occurred to me that readers who are not familiar with New England may be wondering why I chose the word wicked. Sure enough, someone emailed me last night to ask what I meant by "wicked cold." In New England we tend to use the word "wicked" as an adjective in place of extreme or very. For example, the Boston Celtics played wicked good defense against the Detroit Pistons last night.

The New England-style use of wicked originated is just one of many mysteries of vernacular. For more mysteries of vernacular lessons, take a look at TED-Ed's Mysteries of Vernacular series. Each of the 26 lessons focus on one word that is often used by English speakers. A history of the word's origins and evolution of its use is featured in each video lesson. The entire playlist is embedded below beginning with the word "yankee."

Words of the WorldWords of the World is a collection of videos featuring historians and linguists explaining the origins of and history of the use of words in the English language. The videos attempt to put the words into a somewhat modern context. For example this video about the word "guerrilla" makes reference to Che Guevara. The video I've embedded below explains the word "coup."

Langscape is an interactive map created at the Maryland Language Science Center. The Langscape interactive map displays more than 6,000 markers representing more than 6,000 languages. Each marker represents the native language of that location. Zoom-in and click on a marker to learn more about the language. When you click on the marker you will be able to find more information about that marker through links to pages on EthnologueLanguage Archives, and Wikipedia. Those pages will provide information about whether or not the language is extinct and its origins.

Sunday, February 5, 2023

How Birds Stay Warm in Winter - And How to Help Them

For the last few days it has been exceptionally cold here in Maine. Birds and squirrels keep showing up at our bird feeders despite the cold or perhaps because of the cold. While looking at the birds at our feeders yesterday my youngest daughter asked how the birds stay warm enough to not freeze their feet. It was a good question and I found the answer in this short BirdNerd video.  

By watching BirdNerd's How Birds Stay Warm in Winter video my daughter and I learned that some birds can regulate the temperature of their feet separately from the rest of their bodies. Watch the video to learn more about that and other ways that birds stay warm in the winter. 

There are other things you can do to help birds in the winter besides putting out bird feeders and keeping them full. Those things are explained to young students in the SciShow Kids video titled How to Help a Bird.

Friday, February 3, 2023

Two Lessons for a Wicked Cold Day

Over the next two days here in Maine we're expecting some of the coldest temperatures and windchills of the last 50 years. As we say in Maine, it's going to be wicked cold! It's going to be so cold that kids will stay inside for recess and we'll leave the water dripping in our faucets overnight to prevent pipes from freezing. If you're experiencing some wicked cold weather right now or you're just curious about it, I have a couple of short lessons to share with you. 

How windchill is calculated:
The windchill is expected to reach -35F tonight at my house. The following video explains how windchill is calculated. The video comes from Presh Talwalkar.


The psychology of extreme weather:
Television news reporters like to use the word "extreme" whenever we have a lot of rain or snow in a short amount of time. Is the weather really "extreme" or is that just our impression of it? The following Minute Earth video takes on the topic of how extreme weather affects our thinking about weather patterns in general. I found the video to be interesting from a psychology perspective. The video is embedded below.


Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Get Ready for Groundhog Day With These Short Lessons

Tomorrow is Groundhog Day! Those of you who teach pre-K or early elementary grades you may have some students who are as excited about it as my pre-K and Kindergarten daughters are. If that's the case, you may be interested in watching the following videos that provide brief explanations of the origins of Groundhog Day.

Homeschool Pop offers a good explanation of Groundhog Day for kids. The video explains the origins of the tradition, where it's celebrated, and a couple of fun facts about groundhogs.

Turn to SciShow Kids for more fun facts about groundhogs. The video teaches where groundhogs live, what they eat, and how they adapt to get through cold winters.

This video from Storm Shield explains a bit of meteorology that goes into whether or not the groundhog will see his or her shadow.

This video from CGP Grey deals mostly with the origin of the tradition. Like most CGP Grey videos there is a fair amount of snark included in the video so review it carefully before deciding if it's appropriate for your students.

While not exactly about Groundhog Day, Why Do Some Animals Hibernate? is a good lesson to accompany discussion about Groundhog Day. 

Finally, Larry Ferlazzo has a growing list of many more resources for teaching and learning about Groundhog Day. Larry's list is where I found this short math lesson about Groundhog Day.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

What Are Carbohydrates and How Do They Impact Your Health?

One of my goals for early part of 2023 is to set a new personal best time at a bike race that I'm entered in for the third year in a row. To do that I'm watching my diet much more carefully than I typically do at this time of year. Like many people, foods that contain lots of cheap carbohydrates are my Achilles heal when it comes to sticking to my nutrition plan. Why is that? And what impact does that have on my body? Those questions and more are answered in a TED-Ed lesson titled How Do Carbohydrates Impact Your Health? 

How Do Carbohydrates Impact Your Health? explains what carbohydrates are, common food sources of carbohydrates, and how are bodies use carbohydrates. The lesson also explains what can happen to our bodies when we consume too many carbohydrates.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Short Lessons on Stocks and Bonds

A few nights ago I had a long zone 2 ride on my indoor bike trainer. Whenever I have one of those workouts scheduled, I queue up a favorite movie to watch. Last night I watched The Big Short starring Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, and Brad Pitt. For those who aren't familiar with The Big Short, it is a movie about how the housing and stock markets crashed in 2008 and how a few shrewd investors benefited from the crash. Watching the movie again this week prompted me to dig up some information about stocks, bonds, ETFs, and related investing basics.

Investing for Beginners is a playlist of videos produced by Fidelity Investments. Granted, the videos are from a financial services company, but they do offer a good introduction to the basics about stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.

Investopedia offers a playlist of short videos that define things like ETFs, dividends, and compound interest. That playlist is embedded below.

Friday, December 30, 2022

Best of 2022 - Periodic Table of Videos

As I do at this time every year, I'm taking the week off to ski and play with my kids, shovel snow, and generally not think about work. I have some of the most popular posts of the year scheduled to republish this week. New posts will resume in the new year.

For years I have referred readers to the University of Nottingham's Periodic Table of Videos. That table provides a video about every element that is in the Periodic Table. A few years ago the producers of the Periodic Table of Videos partnered with TED-Ed to create lessons about every element in the Periodic Table.

TED-Ed's Periodic Videos page features an interactive Periodic Table of Elements. Click on any of the elements to launch a video. Below the video you will find a link to the related TED-Ed lesson. (Note, I had to reduce my browser size to see the links). Each of the TED-Ed lessons follows the typical format of providing a handful of multiple choice and short answer questions. The lessons also include some links to additional references.

Here's the lesson about Technetium.

If the questions that the TED-Ed lessons ask are too simple for your students, you can customize the lesson after registering on TED-Ed. You can also create similar lessons by using EDpuzzle. Here's how to use Edpuzzle to create a lesson.