TED-Ed videos

These 10 TED-Ed videos will hold your students’ attention


Engaging TED-Ed videos help students learn about STEM concepts with real-world relevance.

Here are a number of TED-Ed lessons on topics including math, science, social studies, and technology–start your foray into TED-Ed videos with these, or create your own:

1. Meet The Frog That Barfs Up Its Babies: These extinct frogs used to barf up their babies—and now scientists are trying to bring them back from the dead. Here’s the scoop from Gross Science.

2. How the popsicle was invented: Each year, approximately 2 billion popsicles are sold worldwide. But where did the idea for this tasty treat come from? In the eleventh installment of our ‘Moments of Vision’ series, Jessica Oreck shares the distracted origins of the popsicle.

3. What are the challenges of nuclear power? Our ability to mine great amounts of energy from uranium nuclei has led some to bill nuclear power as a plentiful, utopian source of electricity. But rather than dominate the global electricity market, nuclear power has declined from a high of 18 percent in 1996 to 11 percent today. What happened to the great promise of this technology? M.V. Ramana and Sajan Saini detail the challenges of nuclear power.

4. Why are sloths so slow? Sloths spend most of their time eating, resting, or sleeping; in fact, they descend from their treetops canopies just once a week, for a bathroom break. How are these creatures so low energy? Kenny Coogan describes the physical and behavioral adaptations that allow sloths to be so slow.

5. Why do we itch? The average person experiences dozens of individual itches each day. We’ve all experienced the annoyance of an inconvenient itch — but have you ever pondered why we itch in the first place? Is there actually an evolutionary purpose to the itch, or is it simply there to annoy us? Emma Bryce digs deep into the skin to find out.

6. Why do people get so anxious about math? Have you ever sat down to take a math test and immediately felt your heart beat faster and your palms start to sweat? This is called math anxiety, and if it happens to you, you’re not alone: Researchers think about 20 percent of the population suffers from it. So what’s going on? And can it be fixed? Orly Rubinsten explores the current research and suggests ways to increase math performance.

7. Why cartoon characters wear gloves: Have you ever noticed that a bunch of cartoon characters wear gloves? Why is that? Vox investigates.

8. How An Igloo Keeps You Warm: If you ever find yourself stranded in the snowy Arctic (or bored in Minecraft), you’re gonna need to know how to build an igloo. But how can building a house made of ice keep you warm? It’s Okay To Be Smart explains.

9. The exceptional life of Benjamin Banneker: Born in 1731 to freed slaves on a farm in Baltimore, Benjamin Banneker was obsessed with math and science. And his appetite for knowledge only grew as he taught himself astronomy, mathematics, engineering, and the study of the natural world. Rose-Margaret Ekeng-Itua details the numerous accomplishments of Benjamin Banneker.

10. How small are we in the scale of the universe? In 1995, scientists pointed the Hubble Telescope at an area of the sky near the Big Dipper. The location was apparently empty, and the whole endeavor was risky – what, if anything, was going to show up? But what came back was nothing short of spectacular: an image of over 1,500 galaxies glimmering in a tiny sliver of the universe. Alex Hofeldt helps us understand the scale of this image.

Laura Ascione

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