A child holding up a glowing star, illustrating a TED-Ed Lessons video on imagination.

5 unique TED-Ed Lessons to liven up the classroom

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

We’re past winter break, and while spring break is around the corner, we still have months to go before summer brings empty classrooms and a bit of relaxation. Teachers and students might need a bit of a pick-me-up, and these easy-to-use TED-Ed lessons can help.

Do you have a burning desire to learn about how imagination works? TED-Ed Lessons has a video for you. Wondering if a lottery windfall would actually improve your life? You can find a video on TED-Ed Lessons. You get the idea.

Read more: 8 TED-Ed Lessons to engage even the most uninterested students

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.

1. The neuroscience of imagination: Imagine, for a second, a duck teaching a French class. A ping-pong match in orbit around a black hole. A dolphin balancing a pineapple. You probably haven’t actually seen any of these things. But you could imagine them instantly. How does your brain produce an image of something you’ve never seen? Andrey Vyshedskiy details the neuroscience of imagination.

2. Under the hood: The chemistry of cars: There are over one billion cars in the world right now, getting people from point A to point B. But cars aren’t just a mode of transportation; they also teach an excellent lesson in chemistry. Cynthia Chubbuck navigates the intricate chemistry performed in our car engines that keep them from getting too hot or too cold.

3. Can you solve the troll’s paradox riddle? You and your brother have discovered another realm and set off exploring the new wonderful world. Along the way, you see a troll catching creatures in an enormous net. The troll agrees to release the creatures if you can come up with a statement that is both truth and false. Can you come up with the correct sentence and force the troll to release them? Dan Finkel shows how.

Read more: Top 5 TED-Ed Lessons on creativity

4. The most successful pirate of all time: At the height of their power, infamous Caribbean pirates like Blackbeard and Henry Morgan commanded as many as 10 ships and several hundred men. But their stories pale next to the most successful pirate of all time, who commanded 1,800 vessels, made enemies of several empires, and still lived to old age. Dian Murray details the life of the fearsome Madame Zheng.

5. Would winning the lottery make you happier? Imagine winning a multi-million dollar lottery tomorrow. If you’re like many of us, you’d be ecstatic, unable to believe your good luck. But would that joy still be there a few years later? Raj Raghunathan describes a phenomenon called hedonic adaptation, which may shed light on the answer.

Laura Ascione

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