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TED-Ed Lessons offer a video library and the chance to build and customize lessons for students--check out these fun summer lessons.

5 cool TED-Ed lessons for summer break


TED-Ed Lessons offer a video library and the chance to build and customize lessons for students

It’s summer break (or close to it) for students across the country, and after more than a year of hybrid or virtual learning for so many, the last thing we all want is to hop back on a device.

But screen time is a reality for most kids, so instead of mindless screen viewing, why not give kids some fun videos to watch, to learn from, and to share with others?

The TED-Ed platform is especially cool because educators can build lessons around any TED-Ed Original, TED Talk, or YouTube video. Once you find the video you want to use, you can use the TED-Ed Lessons editor to add questions, discussion prompts, and additional resources.

Take a look at some engaging and oddball TED-Ed videos for those “I’m bored” moments this summer:

1. How one design flaw almost toppled a skyscraper: In 1978, Diane Hartley was writing her undergraduate architecture thesis when she made a shocking discovery. After weeks of poring over the Citicorp Center’s building plans, she’d stumbled on an oversight that threatened to topple the 59-story tower into one of New York City’s most densely populated districts. Alex Gendler digs into the skyscraper’s potentially deadly mistake.

2. Who decides what’s in the dictionary? While the concept of a dictionary dates back to ancient civilizations, the first English dictionary wasn’t published until 1604. In the centuries that followed, many more dictionaries were written by individual authors who chose what to include or exclude, with most quickly becoming outdated. One 19th century lexicon had a different fate. Ilan Stavans digs into the history of Webster’s Dictionary.

3. Could you survive the real Twilight Zone? You’re traveling deep beneath the ocean’s surface, where faint lights flicker and toothy grins flash. Your mission is to survive these depths and journey to the surface after sundown to feed. And as a hatchetfish, almost every other deep-sea creature is trying to eat you. Can you complete the quest? Philip Renaud and Kenneth Kostel share how to survive the ocean’s Twilight Zone.

4. The woman who stared at the sun: In 1944, amateur astronomer Hisako Koyama’s latest endeavor was sketching the sun’s shifting surface. She spent weeks angling her telescope towards the sun and tracking every change she saw with drawings. Little did she know, these drawings were the start of one of the most important records of solar activity in human history. Alex Gendler details the incredible legacy of Koyama’s work.

5. How long should your naps be? Your eyes get heavy and gradually close… But wait! It’s only lunch time and you still have so much to do. Would taking a nap help? Or would it derail your day? Well, that depends on a few things— especially what stages of sleep the nap includes. Sara C. Mednick details the cognitive benefits of napping, and explores the optimal length and time of day for a quick snooze.

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Laura Ascione

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