Science Education Free Videos
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There is a huge and steadily growing collection of free science and technology video materials available on the Web. A search of the meta site http://www.metatube.net/ using the search expression science OR technology video produced more than 595,000 hits on 1/25/2010.
Readers are encouraged to add to the list of videos and categories given below.
Bill Nye the Science Guy
A number of Bill Nye's videos area available free online. See http://www.ovguide.com/tv/bill_nye_the_science_guy.htm for 20 30-minute episodes from each of Season 1—Season 5. (Note that some of the videos are not available.)
- Neville, Helen (2009). Changing brains. University of Oregon Brain Development Lab. Retrieved 2/27/10 from http://changingbrains.org/. This nine-part video is available free online, can be downloaded for free, and can be purchased on a DVD.
For more information about brain science see Brain Science.
Carlson's Science Theater
Carlson (2008). Dr. Carlson's Science Theater. Retrieved 3/20/09: http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~mjcarlso/ST/videos.html. As of 3/20/09 the Website contained 30 videos of the types of science demonstrations that are typically used in chemistry and physics courses. The videos are made through a project funded by the National Science Foundation.
Here is information about Dr. Carson, quoted from the Website:
- Born in Minnesota, I went off to Caltech in California to attend college, graduating with a BS in Chemistry. Having met a very nice lady there, I stayed at Caltech to continue my education making it far easier to marry that nice lady. My PhD focused on Computational Theoretical Biochemistry - trying to develop forcefields for use in protein folding, which is a very hard thing to do. As I taught classes in graduate school, I began to realize that I found explaining science to be much more fun than doing research. After finishing my PhD, I moved to Boston and became a licensed middle school science teacher. A few years later I moved to Lafayette, Indiana where I am now a public high school teacher teaching physics and chemistry at a school just outside of town. Some of my favorite activities include playing boardgames, playing Ultimate and Volleyball, reading books, and getting to know the students at my school and my church.
Chemistry Comes Alive
Chemistry Comes Alive (n.d.). Chemistry Video Collection from the Journal of Chemical Education. Retrieved 3/1/09: http://www.jce.divched.org/JCESoft/CCA/pirelli/.
The Futures Channel (2008). Connecting learning to the real world. Science and technology. Retrieved 10/7/08: http://www.thefutureschannel.com/movies/science_tech_movies.php. Fifteen videos in the range of 3 to 6 minutes each. Example:
- Reliable robots. 5:35 minutes. When it comes to designing robots for space, making sure that they can complete their missions is the name of the game for NASA’s robotics engineers. That requires math, especially probability.
How Stuff Works
How Stuff Works (n.d.). http://videos.howstuffworks.com/science. Videos are preceded by short ads.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
JPL (n.d.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. Retrieved 11/20/09 from http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/video/index.cfm?id=827.
- The Khan Academy offers more than 650 free videos covering a wide range of topics, including physics and math.
- The videos I examined were about 10–15 minutes in length. They are informal (not carefully scripted in advance) "chalk and talk" presentations of moderate quality. A computer screen, with multiple colors of "chalk," is used with voice over to do the presentations.
- Many of the videos begin with a black screen showing only a white cursor. Others begin with a screen full of writing—perhaps left over from the previous video in a series. The "drawing" on the screen is mostly like modest quality on a chalkboard, although the computer system the teacher is using provides facilities for more precise (computer-like) drawing.
- The Kahn Academy contains well over a hundred short, free videos on a variety of science topics.
Miscellaneous Other Videos and Sources
- Amory Lovins: We must win the oil endgame. Quoting from the Website:
- Energy guru Amory Lovins lays out his plan for weaning the US off oil and revitalizing the economy in the process. It's the subject of his book Winning the Oil Endgame, and he makes it sound fairly simple: On one hand, the deadly risks of continued dependency, and on the other, some win-win solutions.
Charles Babbage Babbage's Mechanical Calculator Comes to Life. This video is approximately 4 minutes in length. (You also are forced to view a 31 second ad at the beginning.) Quoting from the Website:
- Charles Babbage completed plans for an elaborate, all-mechanical calculator in 1849. His Difference Engine #2 was so complicated, with more than 8,000 separate parts, that it was never built during his lifetime. But now, thanks to the efforts of dedicated, historically-minded engineers at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, plus a generous donation of cash from Microsoft gazillionaire genius Nathan Myhrvold, Babbage's Difference Engine is on display in Silicon Valley.
Most students find that there is a large difference between hearing a teacher or a textbook talk about Charles Babbage's work and actually a video such as this.
Physics Experiments (n.d.). Retrieved 7/17/09: http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/content/kitchenscience/wierd/. All examples are carefully explained, and some include short videos.
Powers of 10. Retrieved 10/14/08: http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=%22Powers+of+Ten%22+film+OR+video&ie=UTF-8&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&sa=X&oi=video_result_group&resnum=4&ct=title#.
This site provides access to several slightly different versions of a nine minute video illustrating powers of 10. The video was "Made by the Office of Charles and Ray Eames" for IBM." Many viewers describe the video as "awesome."
National Academies Press
The National Academies Press. Weekly 10-minute audio podcasts are available free at http://www.nap.edu/podcast.html?utm_medium=etmail&utm_source=National%20Academies%20Press&utm_campaign=NAP+mail+new+10.13.09&utm_content=Downloader&utm_term=.
National Science Foundation
The National Science foundation has a Multimedia Gallery that currently (as of 9/10/08) contains 92 free videos. These are adult or high school oriented.
NSF News http://www.nsf.gov/news/now_showing/index.jsp. About 60 videos.
NSF International Polar Year (April 6, 2009). Five National Science Foundation Arctic Videos. Retrieved 4/26/09:
NSF 2010 Winter Olympics
Sixteen short (4 to five minute) videos and accompanying lesson plans are available free.
Quoting from the Website http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/olympics/:
- NBC Learn, the educational arm of NBC News, has teamed up with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to produce Science of the Olympic Winter Games, a 16-part video series that explores the science behind individual Olympic events, including Downhill and Aerial Skiing, Speed Skating and Figure Skating, Curling and Hockey, and Ski Jumping, Bobsledding and Snowboarding.
- This groundbreaking project between the NSF and NBC Learn uses the global spotlight of the Olympics to make science more accessible and more interesting to students by showing how science helps athletes fulfill the Olympic motto: Citius, Altius, Fortius--Swifter, Higher, Stronger. Read more about the "Science of the Olympic Winter Games."
- Each video is complemented with lesson plans which include fun classroom activities. The lesson plans were written by teachers at Academic Business Consultants for grades 6-9 and are aligned with California State Standards. Get your lesson plans and activities at Lessonopoly.
National Space and Aeronautics Administration
NASA (4/15/03) Blowing bubbles. Retrieved 7/8/09: http://science.nasa.gov/ppod/y2003/15apr_plopfiz.htm. A short video illustrates using an Alka Seltzer tablet in a small amount of water to create bubbles in a wire loop in an orbiting space ship. A longer video discusses the science in more detail.
Nova (n.d.). Lots of PBS science videos, Retrieved 11/11/09 from http://video.pbs.org/video/1312522241/.
Mirror Neurons (2005). 14 minute PBS video. Retrieved 12/2/08: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/3204/01.html.
- PBS has a number of Sid the Science Kid videos available on the Web. A 8/17/08 Google search using the expression "Sid the Science Kid" PBS return over 300,000 hits. Some examples:
Science and Engineering in Student Lives
Short videos on conduction, convection, and radiation as they apply to construction of energy efficient housing. Quite suitable for se in precollege science courses.
TED Science Talks
The first Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) conference was in 1994. Since then, its scope has broadened. TED is now an annual conference that brings together a fascinating collection of some of the world's greatest thinkers and doers. They give short talks—typically, about 20 minutes in length. Many of these talks are then made available on the Web.
Many of the talks fall into the category of science and technology. A few of them are listed here. For the complete collection of over 600 hundred videos, see http://www.ted.com/talks/list.
Each talk can be analyzed in terms of indirect and direct impact or relevant ideas for informal and formal education. From that point of view, the talks are useful to anybody who is interested in Information Age education.
Many of the talks are somewhat futuristic in nature. They give a good sense of where various technologies are going, and how they will affect the world.
- Bassler, Bonnie (2009). Discovering bacteria's amazing communication system. TED. 18:14. Retrieved 4/11/09: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/bonnie_bassler_on_how_bacteria_communicate.html.
- This is a superb example of bringing some really important new research in cell biology to a level it can be understood by a diverse audience. Quoting from the site:
- Bonnie Bassler discovered that bacteria "talk" to each other, using a chemical language that lets them coordinate defense and mount attacks. The find has stunning implications for medicine, industry -- and our understanding of ourselves.
- Robert Ballard: Exploring the ocean's hidden worlds. 18 minute video, filmed February 2008, discussing underwater exploration. Quoting from the Website:
- Ocean explorer Robert Ballard takes us on a mindbending trip to hidden worlds underwater, where he and other researchers are finding unexpected life, resources, even new mountains. He makes a case for serious exploration and mapping. Google Ocean, anyone?
- David Bolinsky: Fantastic voyage inside a cell. Quoting from the website:
- Medical animator David Bolinsky presents 9 minutes of stunning animation that show the bustling life inside a cell. Built by his company, XVIVO, to teach Harvard medical students, the clip features sweeping cinematic values and even a little drama. It communicates not only the facts of life, but life's truth and beauty.
- Larry Brilliant: TED Prize wish: Help stop the next pandemic. A 26 minute video illustrating the science behind attempting to have early detection and early intervention to prevent worldwide pandemics.
- Jeff Hawkins: Brain science is about to fundamentally change computing. A 20 minute 2003 video of a talk by Jeff Hawkins. Quoting from the Website:
- To date, there hasn't been an overarching theory of how the human brain really works, Jeff Hawkins argues in this compelling talk. That's because we still haven't defined intelligence accurately. But one thing's for sure, he says: The brain isn't like a powerful computer processor. It's more like a memory system that records everything we experience and helps us predict, intelligently, what will happen next. Bringing this new brain science to computer devices will enable powerful new applications—and it will happen sooner than you think.
Quoting from the Website http://www.testtoob.com:
- You’ve entered a world of video sharing, community networking and scientific fun for middle school and high school students. Here in a sophisticated Web 2.0 setting, young people from around the world showcase their experiments, get feedback on their scientific trials, and learn from each other.
- TestToob is a place exclusively developed to showcase experiments done by school-age scientists. It offers the most up-to-date tools, fosters wonder, and gives youth an opportunity for creative self-expression. Simply, it’s a place to learn, to grow and to have safe fun.
- While TestToob is a geared to youth, parents and teachers are also essential parts of each student’s team. Every budding scientist needs a cheering section, competent mentors and safety suggestions. We want this site to enhance formal science education and to encourage students to consider science as an exciting and possible career destination.
- Regardless of age, grade, or experience level, we believe all students are inherently creative and natural scientists. Here on TestToob they can learn to film and share their experiments with a broader community in ways that will increase curiosity about the world around them in both the inventor and the viewer.
WatchNow Science Videos for Kids
This site provides access to nearly 15,000 video and audio recordings. Examples as of 2/2/2010 include Language Arts (1380), Literature (1161), Mathematics (1495) Science (2735), History (2832), and Social Studies (1198).
Author or Authors of this Document
The original version of this document was developed by David Moursund.