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

Thursday, October 1, 2020

NASA ScienceCasts Explains the Harvest Moon - It's Tonight!

Tonight is the night of the annual Harvest Moon in the northern hemisphere. The harvest moon comes on a different evening each year. If the weather is cooperative, tonight will be a great evening to get pictures of the moon rising. I hope that this year is the year I finally get a good one. 

The harvest moon is the full moon that is closest to the northern autumnal equinox. In the short video below the team at NASA ScienceCasts explains why it is called the Harvest Moon and why other moons have names too (have you heard of the snow moon or the wolf moon?). I found the video interesting, and I hope that you and your students do too.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Resources for Teaching and Learning About the Colorful Leaves of Fall

 Autumn is my favorite time of year. So much so that I wanted to name my younger daughter Autumn (vetoed by her mother). The crisp air, the smells of apple harvest, the colors of spawning brook trout, and the colors of leaves are just a few things that I enjoy about fall. All that to say, it's time for my annual posting of resources for teaching and learning about the transition from summer into fall.

The 2020 Fall Foliage Prediction Map is a feature of the SmokyMountains.com website. The map displays a week-by-week prediction of when leaves in the continental United States will be changing colors from now through the end of November. You can see the predictions change by moving the timeline at the bottom of the map. 

The Fall Foliage Prediction Map doesn't tell the whole story of why leaves change colors at different times in different parts of the country. I'd use the incomplete nature of the map's explanation as a jumping-off point for students to hypothesize and investigate why leaves change colors at different times in different parts of the country. I might also have them investigate why some trees have brighter leaves than others in the fall.

Videos
Reactions is a great YouTube channel from the American Chemical Society. I've featured a handful or more of their videos over the years. This video from Reactions explains how chlorophyll and the glucose stored inside trees create the red, yellow, and brown of fall foliage.



For an explanation of why leaves change colors that elementary school students can understand, watch the following SciShow Kids video.



Science Filmmaking Tips (previously known as Untamed Science) offers a good, partially animated, explanation of why leaves change colors, what produces the colors, and why bright and sunny days are best for viewing red leaves. The video is embedded below.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Three Video Lessons That Are Full of Poop

SciShow Kids has long been one my favorite YouTube channels for elementary school science videos. It went on hiatus for a while then it came roaring back a few weeks ago. One of the new releases on SciShow Kids is all about dung beetles. That, of course, brought out the ten-year-old in me and I had to watch it. This seems to be a pattern with me because I have previously featured a couple of other lessons about animals and their poop.

The new SciShow Kids video about dung beetles explains why dung beetles eat dung, how they get nutrition from it, and why people should never eat it.



Why Do Some Animals Eat Poop? explains why and how some animals get nutrients from eating the excrement of other animals. The video also mentions why the feces of some animals has more nutrients than that of other animals. Like all MinuteEarth videos, the description notes on YouTube for this video include a list of the references used in producing the video. Watch the video on YouTube or as embedded below.



Why Isn't the World Covered In Poop? is really a lesson about dung beetles and the role that they play in the ecosystem. In the lesson students learn how many types of dung beetles exist in the world, where they exist, and how dung beetles help reduce greenhouse gasses. And as a bonus, you can pick up a cheesy middle school-appropriate joke from watching the video.



You can find all three of these videos through the search built into EDpuzzle where you could then add in questions and clarifying comments. Here's an overview of how to use EDpuzzle.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Three Lessons on the Chemistry of Coffee

One of the things that I've missed the most over the last few months is going to my local coffee shop (Cafe Nomad) and having some of the excellent coffee that they brew. Try as I might, the coffee I brew at home just isn't the same quality of what they make at the cafe. (I also miss the community aspect of sitting in the cafe with friends). So what is it that goes into a perfect cup of coffee? A big part of that answer is found in the science of coffee. Reactions, one of my favorite YouTube channels, has a great video that explains the chemistry of coffee. I particularly like that the video explains chemical differences between light, medium, and dark roast coffees.



What's Actually Inside an Average Cup of Coffee? is a video that was produced by Wired. The video provides a short run-down of the chemical contents of brewed coffee.



I can count on one hand the number of times I've had decaffeinated coffee, but I still find How Do You Decaffeinate Coffee? published by Brain Stuff to be interesting. In How Do You Decaffeinate Coffee? viewers again learn about the chemicals in coffee and how how to remove the caffeine from coffee.



All three of these videos are good candidates for use in an online science lessons created with EDpuzzle. Here's an overview of how to use EDpuzzle.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Volcanoes 101 - Updated

A few years ago National Geographic published a video titled Volcanoes 101. Last month they published a new video with the same name. The new Volcanoes 101 explains the types of volcanoes, their shapes, common locations, and what causes volcanoes to erupt.



On a related note, The BBC has a series of interactive guides that explain how natural disasters are caused. The series of guides is twelve years old, but still includes good information presented in a clear manner for students. Included in this series is a twelve part animated explanation of volcanic eruptions. The series also includes explanations of hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis.

Applications for Education
Volcanoes 101 is the right length and has the right style and pacing to make it an excellent choice for a flipped lesson intended to introduce the big concepts of a lesson about deserts. My go-to tool for making flipped lessons continues to be EDpuzzle. You can learn how to use EDpuzzle by watching the following video.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Cotton and the Life Cycle of a Tee Shirt

Last week TED-Ed published a new lesson titled Why Is Cotton In Everything? The lesson begins with an explanation of why cotton was used by the Inca in suits of armor. From there the lesson delves into the properties of cotton that make strong, soft, and flexible. The bulk of the lesson is then spent on how cotton fibers grow.


At the end of Why Is Cotton In Everything? there is a suggestion to watch The Life Cycle of a T-Shirt. That video explains how tee shirts are made and distributed around the world. The lesson also takes a look at the environmental impact of the tee shirt industry.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Why the Moon Seems Brighter in Winter

During lunch today one of my colleagues mentioned that he had trouble falling asleep a couple of nights ago because the moon was exceptionally bright. His comment reminded me of a great Minute Physics video that I found years ago. Why the Full Moon is Better in Winter explains how the combination of the position of the moon relative to Earth and snow on the ground make the moon appear brighter in the winter than in the summer. Take a look at the video as embedded below.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

The History of Corn - A TED-Ed Lesson

Pictures of corn like the one in this blog post have become symbols of fall harvest and Thanksgiving. Corn and many products made with it are a staple of the diets of many of us today. How did corn become a staple of our diets? What has enabled it to become one of the most cultivated crops in the world? And what are the consequences of cultivating so much corn? Those questions and many others are addressed in a new TED-Ed lesson titled How Corn Conquered the World.


Applications for Education
This TED-Ed lesson could be the jumping-off point for more or deeper lessons about how agriculture affects many parts of our lives whether we realize it or not. For example the graphs at toward the end of the lesson illustrate how increased corn production contributed to increased meat production and both of those things create environmental impacts. The increase in cheap corn production also increases the amount of cheap junk food which in turn can lead to obesity.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Thanksgiving Chemistry

The Thanksgiving Turkey Compilation from the Reactions YouTube channel explains two concepts related to the traditional Thanksgiving turkey. First, it explains how the deep-frying process works and how it helps to make a turkey more flavorful. Second, the video explains why turkey isn't the primary culprit in making you drowsy after devouring your Thanksgiving meal.


Applications for Education
This video could be a good introduction to a science lesson or a culinary arts lesson (I'm looking at you Erik & Norma). Of course, if you're worried that your students might not pay attention all the way through the video, you could use a tool like EDpuzzle to build questions into the video. In the following video I demonstrate how to use EDpuzzle for that purpose.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Fossils 101 - And How Scientists Know What Color Dinosaurs Were

National Geographic's YouTube channel has a great series called 101 Videos. The series contains 115 videos that provide five minute introductions to a wide variety of science topics. Fossils 101 is one of the recent additions to the series.

Fossils 101 explains to viewers what fossils are, fossil types, how fossils are formed, and what fossils can reveal to scientists about the past.


On a related note, a few years ago TED-Ed published a lesson titled How Do We Know What Color Dinosaurs Were? The video explains how scientists examine the melanosomes of fossilized feathers to determine the colors of some dinosaurs. The video then goes on to explain how the physics of light and color eventually lead scientists to their conclusions.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Try This! - A Series of Hands-on Science Lessons for Kids

Try This! is a series of videos produced by National Geographic Kids. Each of the videos in the series presents a hands-on science lesson or experiment that elementary school and middle school kids will enjoy.

Middle school students can probably do all of the experiments in the Try This! series on their own. Elementary school students will need some help from adults. As you can see in the couple of videos from the series that I have embedded below, each video states the concept that can be taught with the experiment and concludes with a brief explanation of what happened in the experiment.



Applications for Education
If you're elementary school teacher who is looking for some hands-on science lessons to do with your students, the Try This! series could be a good source of inspiration for you. This could also be a good resource to share with parents who are looking for fun and educational activities to do at home with their kids.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

What's the Fastest Tire Pressure? - A Science Lesson

Global Cycling Network is a popular YouTube channel that produces high-quality videos about all aspects of bicycle riding. The videos are hosted by retired professional cyclists. The topics covered by GCN range from basics like picking a proper helmet to more nuanced topics like finding the tire pressure that will make you fastest on your bicycle. That's the topic covered in this GCN video featuring Emma Pooley, a retired professional cyclist who also holds a PhD in Geotechnical Engineering.

In What's the Fastest Tyre Pressure? Emma Pooley does some road testing of tire pressures before then heading into the classroom to explain the physics factors that influence the speed.


Applications for Education
Before showing this video to your students they could do some of their own testing of tire pressure on bicycles. Have them make some hypotheses about which tire pressure will be the fastest on their own bicycles. Or if your school is one that has bicycles available in the physical education department, make this experiment an outdoor activity during the school day.

The video could also be useful in demonstrating to students the many variables that must be accounted for when conducting an experiment. For example, in the first few minutes of the video there are many opportunities for students to identify variables that could affect the outcome of the experiment.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Lessons on the Science of Fireworks

The Fourth of July is Independence Day here in the United States. And nothing says, "Happy Fourth of July" like a fireworks display. Watching Fourth of July fireworks displays is a quintessential part of the American experience in the summer. I'm looking forward to the day when my daughters will be old enough to stay up late enough to watch the fireworks with me.

If your kids are old enough to watch a fireworks display, they might have questions about how fireworks work. Take a look at the following videos from NPR's SkunkBear, National Geographic, and Reactions to learn about the science of fireworks.






Thursday, June 13, 2019

66 Lessons on the Chemistry of Food and Beverages

Reactions is a YouTube channel that I've mentioned in a handful of posts in the past. The channel is produced by PBS Digital Studios and the American Chemical Society. All of the videos on the channel include chemistry lessons based on ordinary, everyday parts of life like food and beverages. In fact, Reactions has a playlist of sixty-six videos that teach short lessons about the chemistry of food and beverages. Some highlights from that playlist include 3 Egg-cellently Weird Science ExperimentsWhy is Pizza so Good? and Why Does Stinky Cheese Stink?  And who hasn't looked in the refrigerator and wondered Can I Still Eat This? All for of those videos are embedded below.










Applications for Education
All four of the above videos as well as dozens of others in the Food Chemistry playlist could be great to use to help students see how science, specifically chemistry, is a part of everyday life.

If you want to use these videos as part of flipped lesson or a classroom discussion, consider using EDpuzzle or Classhook. I have video tutorials for both of those services embedded below.


Friday, April 5, 2019

What Makes Birds Different Colors? - A Nice Lesson for Spring

The birds are starting to return here in northern New England. It's always nice to hear the first birds of the spring chirping away early in the morning after a long winter of silence early in the morning. I always like seeing orioles return. Orioles bring a nice splash of color to what is otherwise a drab landscape in the time after the snow has melted and before the plants have started to blossom. What gives colorful birds like orioles their colors? And why are there so many variations in colors of birds? Those questions and more are answered in a new Reactions video titled Why Are Birds Different Colors?


Applications for Education
This is the type of video that is an ideal length for introducing a topic through a short, video-based lesson created on a service like EDpuzzle.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Six Good Lessons About Man's Best Friend

As long-time readers of this blog know, I love dogs. Small dogs, big dogs, skinny dogs, and fat dogs, I love them all. And I have a particularly soft spot for older dogs in shelters (I've adopted three in the last decade). So it was with much interest that I watched the latest TED-Ed lesson about dogs.

A Brief History of Dogs traces the evolution of dogs from their origins as wild wolves to their current state as domesticated lap dogs. In the lesson you'll also learn how dogs and humans came to be as bonded as they are today.


A Brief History of Dogs isn't the first lesson that TED-Ed has published about dogs. How Do Dogs "See" With Their Noses? was released about four years ago. It 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.



If you've ever wondered why dogs tilt their heads in response to a question or other prompt, SciShow has some answers for you in the video embedded below.



Why dogs pant is another question your dog-owning students may wonder about. SciShow Kids has that answered in the following video released last week.



Whether its from a deer, a moose, a horse, or any other mammal, my dogs have a hard time not scooping up a mouthful of poop. While I don't like the habit, thanks to Why Do Some Animals Eat Poop? I know why they do it. Why Do Some Animals Eat Poop? explains why and how some animals get nutrients from eating the excrement of other animals. The video also mentions why the feces of some animals has more nutrients than that of other animals. Like all MinuteEarth videos, the description notes on YouTube for this video include a list of the references used in producing the video. Watch the video on YouTube or as embedded below.



"why do animals have tails?" SciShow Kids has the answer to that question in their latest video. The video explains how some animals use their tails to communicate and some use them for balance. The video also explains why humans don't need tails.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Short Lessons for the Arrival of Spring

The first chickadees and ducks of the spring have started to arrive in my neighborhood. Aside from the calendar, hearing the birds reminds us all that spring is almost here. If you're tired of winter and looking for some spring-themed lesson ideas, take a look at the following resources.

Last year The New York Times published an animated map of spring foliage. The map, put together by Henry Fountain and Jeremy White, is a time-lapse map that shows when the "first leaf" of spring typically appears in each state. The data represented in the map comes from the USA National Phenology Network. The animation moves quickly, but you can pause it by clicking on it.

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 new 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.




Try one of these tools for creating flipped lessons out of these videos. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

A Handful of Resources and Ideas for Valentine's Day Lessons

Valentine's Day is only a couple of days away. If you're looking for some last minute activities to do in your classroom, take a look at these resources.

Why Do We Love? is a TED-Ed lesson that explores some philosophies on why people love. The lesson won't provide you with any clear answers, but it will make you think. And isn't that what philosophers want you to do?



Storyboard That offers templates for designing and printing Valentine's Day cards. To do this your students will first have to create a simple three-frame storyboard. Then they can print the story in a foldable card format. In my video embedded below I demonstrate how to create a Valentine's Day card on Storyboard That.



Canva offers design templates for almost every card-giving occasion. That includes offering Valentine's Day card designs. In the video below I demonstrate how to use Canva to design cards.



If you're wondering if you can use Canva with students under the age of 13, please read this statement from Canva's CEO Cliff Obrecht.

The Science and Math of Valentine's Day
The following video from It's Okay To Be Smart (produced by PBS Digital Studios) explains why humans kiss, the history of symbols associated with kissing, and some cultural views of kissing. When I saw this video I immediately thought of my friends who teach middle school and high school health classes.


The following fun video, also from It's Okay to Smart, attempts to use math to determine the odds of a 25 year old woman finding love in New York. (Remember, the video is just for fun).


Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Friday, January 18, 2019

Colds, Flu, and Boogie Wipes - Timely Science Lessons

As anyone who has heard me speak this week can attest, I'm getting over a miserable cold. I'm not the only one as this cold has affected my kids and many others in our community. We're going through a lot of boogie wipes in our house. Thankfully, none of us have had the flu. But what's the difference between a cold and the flu? How can you avoid catching either one? Those questions and more are answered in the following videos.

Colds, the Flu, and You is a video from SciShow Kids that is appropriate for elementary school classrooms.




How is a cold or flu passed from person to person and what exactly is it doing to your body? NPR answers those questions in the following animated video.



Did you get your flu shot this year? This TED-Ed lesson explains why you should get one every year.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The History of Science

The History of Science is a Crash Course series that just came to my attention when I stumbled onto The Atomic Bomb: Crash Course History of Science #33. The entire series features videos hosted by Hank Green in which he explains how big questions in science were answered and how big breakthroughs were made. Like most Crash Course videos these are heavy on the presenter (Hank in this case) and light on visual aids. And they're probably best used with students who already have a firm understanding of the basics of the topics.


Try using these videos in EDpuzzle to build comprehension and reflection questions for your students to answer while watching or after watching the videos.