TED-Ed videos

11 TED-Ed talks students can relate to

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

Educators know that engaging digital media is a surefire way to grab students’ attention. And using everyday topics students encounter in their personal lives is an even better way to engage them in learning.

With a wealth of resources online, educators can find content that meets students where they’re comfortable learning, with interactive and engaging presentation. TED-Ed lessons are among the resources that help students learn while engaging them in the subject matter.

TED Talks have grown in popularity in part for their inspiring and frank perspectives on any number of world issues, and educators can leverage these resources for learning.

Educators can build lessons around any TED-Ed Original, TED Talk or YouTube video through Ted-Ed. Once they locate the video they wish to use, they next use the TED-Ed Lesson editor to add questions, discussion prompts and additional resources. When the lesson is published, educators can monitor their progress and submitted work.

TED-Ed’s public lessons library offers customizable existing lessons for educators to use, as well.

(Next page: 11 TED-Ed lessons for students)

Here are 11 TED-Ed lessons your students might find engaging, thought-provoking, or funny:

1. Is DNA the future of data storage?
In the event of a nuclear fallout, every piece of digital and written information could all be lost. Luckily, there is a way that all of human history could be recorded and safely stored beyond the civilization’s end. And the key ingredient is inside all of us: our DNA. Leo Bear-McGuinness explains.

2. Why facts don’t convince people (and what you can do about it)
Humans aren’t rational creatures, but the folks at ‘Social Good Now’ have some ideas for what we can do about it.

3. How many ways are there to prove the Pythagorean theorem?
What do Euclid, 12-year-old Einstein, and American President James Garfield have in common? They all came up with elegant proofs for the famous Pythagorean theorem, one of the most fundamental rules of geometry and the basis for practical applications like constructing stable buildings and triangulating GPS coordinates.

4. Where do new words come from?
There are over 170,000 words currently in use in the English language. Yet every year, about a thousand new words are added to the Oxford English Dictionary. Where do they come from, and how do they make it into our everyday lives? Marcel Danesi explains how new words enter a language.

5. Will the ocean ever run out of fish?
When most people think of fishing, we imagine relaxing in a boat and patiently reeling in the day’s catch. But modern industrial fishing — the kind that stocks our grocery shelves — looks more like warfare. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Jennifer Jacquet explain overfishing and its effects on ecosystems, food security, jobs, economies, and coastal cultures.

6. Will we ever be able to teleport?
Is teleportation possible? Could a baseball transform into something like a radio wave, travel through buildings, bounce around corners, and change back into a baseball? Oddly enough, thanks to quantum mechanics, the answer might actually be yes… sort of!

7. How ingenious animals have engineered air conditioning
Are humans nature’s greatest architects? When we look elsewhere in nature, we find some pretty amazing animal architects. It’s Ok to be Smart looks at how some of these species have mastered physics to install air conditioning in their homes!

8. Can you find the next number in this sequence?
1, 11, 21, 1211, 111221. These are the first five elements of a number sequence. Can you figure out what comes next? Alex Gendler reveals the answer and explains how beyond just being a neat puzzle, this type of sequence has practical applications as well.

9. What makes things cool?
A 20th century industrial designer, who created some of America’s most iconic looks, developed a theory of coolness that has been backed up by various scientific studies. The Atlantic explains the science behind why we like what we like.

10. Is binge watching bad for you?
You’ve probably guessed by now that your eyes won’t go square from watching too much TV, but are there other side effects?

11. Why babies in medieval paintings look like ugly old men
Why are the babies in medieval art so ugly?

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