Free Science Education Videos

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Introduction

A 6/29/2016 Google search of the expression science education videos free download produced about 53 million results. This suggests that a huge amount of such material is available on the Web.

For example, the first item on Google's list is: 125 Great Science Videos: From Astronomy to Physics & Psychology. The first section of this collection is on Astronomy and Space Travel. The first two videos in this category are:

  • A Brief, Wondrous Tour of Earth (From Outer Space) – Video – Recorded from August to October, 2011, at the International Space Station, this HD footage offers a brilliant tour of our planet and stunning views of the aurora borealis.
  • A Universe from Nothing – Video – In 53 minutes, theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss answers some big enchilada questions, including how the universe came from nothing.

One example of the power of video to make a strong impact is Charles 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.

Here is an exercise you might want to try. Select a topic that interests you and that you want to explore on the Web. Then do a Web search of that topic using the search expression that includes the name of the topic followed by the words free video. My 6/29/2016 experiment using the search expression brain science free video produced about 47 million results.

I made extensive use of many such videos as I was doing research for and writing my free book: Brain Science for Educators and Parents.

Each chapter of this book includes and makes use of video material that is available free on the Web. The total list of about 50 videos, with Web addresses, is given at the end of the book. As an example, here are the videos that were used in the Preface.

Inner Game of Tennis. Quoting from the website: "In 1970 W. Timothy Gallwey, author of Inner Game of Tennis, demonstrates how to teach tennis without teaching. A woman who doesn't know how to play tennis at all can learn to play within 10 minutes."
Growing Evidence of Brain Plasticity. Quoting from the website: "Neuroscientist Michael Merzenich looks at one of the secrets of the brain's incredible power: its ability to actively re-wire itself. He's researching ways to harness the brain's plasticity to enhance our skills and recover lost function."
The Surprisingly Logical Minds of Babies. Quoting from the website: "An enlightening and amusing introduction to the amazing capabilities of the minds of babies. Laura Schultz argues that pre-toddlers and toddlers have mind capabilities that exceed the artificial intelligence of current computers—and the computers she expects to see for many years to come."

When making use of video material with a group of students, a teacher needs to be aware to the laws governing fair use. Click here for a short video overview on Fair Use.

The following two sections are examples of materials that caught my eye as I browsed the Web. The first is a list of major websites that I find interesting and informative. The second lists additional videos under the headings Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

Websites Covering a Number of Science-related Topics

How Stuff Works

How stuff works. This site contains ads and a large number of videos of considerably varying quality. Indeed, I was bothered by the amount of advertising interspersed between and in the free videos. However, I found many of the videos to be quite good.

Mythbusters

Mythbusters. Each episode typically contain several different "experiments" and detailed explanations of underlying science. The site contains eight years of episodes.

For example, see the episode, Do Try This At Home Special—Full Episode. This is a reversal on the usual warnings "Do not try this at home!"

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Three videos from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute are available. Quoting from the website:

Our planet has millions of species, including thousands of mammals, fish, birds, and reptiles, and even more butterflies, beetles, and other animals, each adapted to one of an enormous variety of habitats. The richness and diversity of life raises two of the most profound questions in biology: How do new species form? And, why are there so many species? The Origin of Species series tells the stories of the intrepid naturalists who have traveled the world, from the famed Galápagos Islands to the Malay Archipelago, in search of evidence and answers.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Click here for a list of free videos from NASA. For example, see All Video.

In addition, a section titled For Educators includes material divided into five categories:

  • Grades K-4
  • Grades 5-8
  • Grades 9-12
  • Higher Education
  • Informal Education

National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation has a Multimedia Gallery. As of 7/1/2016 this contained 1,005 videos that feature "Film, TV, Museums & More". These tend to be at the high school or adult levels Film, TV, Museums & More.

For example, see SciGirls. Quoting from this website:

SciGirls is the only PBS series built on best practices for engaging girls 9-13 in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This Emmy Award-winning multiplatform project understands how today's "digital native" kids learn, communicate and connect.
SciGirls' third season, developed in partnership with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, highlights citizen science. Citizen science initiatives invite all curious, bright, ordinary people (like the SciGirls!) to observe and record data about everything from birds to beaches, monarchs to maple trees, and then share it with professional scientists for use in research.
In six new episodes, the SciGirls and their female STEM professional mentor partners dive into STEM adventures with the following citizen science organizations: FrogWatchUSA, Nature's Notebook, NASA S'COOL, Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, Celebrate Urban Birds, Seafloor Explorer. And of course animated characters Izzie and Jake are back, still getting into jams that can only be solved by the real-life SciGirls--and STEM.
In addition to these exciting new episodes, SciGirls continues to reach girls, educators and parents across all digital platforms. During Season Three, SciGirls' popular PBS Kids website has gone mobile with two new games.

PBS

As of 7/1/2016, the Nova Science Now site on PBS provides free access to over 400 videos. These are divided into three categories: full episodes, video shorts, and teacher videos.

PBS has a number of Sid the Science Kid videos available that are aimed mainly at preschool children.

The PBS Nature Series includes many videos suitable for use in classrooms. For example see the video Human Impact in the Sagebrush Sea. Quoting from the website:

Explore how humans are changing the high desert ecosystem in the video from NATURE: Sagebrush Sea. Humans have fragmented the ecosystem by extracting resources and building fences and roads in the high desert. Species are more at risk of extinction if their adaptations do not match the new environment.
See the Support Materials for an essay and document-based questions about conserving this ecosystem.

Science Media Group Digital Video Library

This Harvard University website includes 34 short videos on a variety of topics. Click here for a collection of 21 videos created in 2012. They are quite suitable for use in precollege science courses. For example, Build a Tower shows a student project to build a tower that can hold a heavy load and is made using a limited number of wooden sticks and some glue.


Tower building.png

TED 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 18 or less minutes in length. These talks are then made available free on the Web.

Many of the talks fall into the category of science and technology. Click here for a list of nearly 500 talks about various science topics. Click here for the complete collection of over 2,200 videos.

Each talk can be analyzed in terms of indirect and direct impact or relevant ideas for informal and formal 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.

WatchKnowLearn Science Videos for Kids

The WatchKnowLearn site provides access to more than 35,000 video and audio recordings. Examples as of 7/1/2016 include Computers and Technology (1,547), Mathematics (5,123), and Science (9,836).

Biology, Chemistry, Physics

Year-long courses in biology, chemistry, and physics are a standard part of high school course offerings in the United States.

Biology

iBiology. Bringing the World's Best Biology to You.

Click here to access this very large collection of educational lectures of varying lengths.

BioEd Online. This collection of Science Teacher Resources from Baylor College of Medicine now includes K-8 science. Quoting from the website:

BioEd Online's science video library includes content presentations, lesson demonstrations, professional development, and a lecture series featuring experts in biology, genetics, space life sciences and more.
Many videos have related slide sets for use in preparing and conducting your lessons. All are free and can be viewed on computers and mobile devices.

Chemistry

Chemistry Education Resources. This wide variety of resources is available from the American Chemical Society. Here are some examples of available resources. Quoting from the website:

Middle School Teaching Resources. Science Teaching Guide (Grades 6-8). Lesson plans, classroom activities, and background science information! Activity sheets and related reading! Video demonstrations and molecular model animations!
Elementary School Teaching Resources. Explore chemistry with our new resource for kids—Adventures in Chemistry. The website, acs.org/kids, captures the interest and imagination of pre-Kindergarten and elementary students through interactive activities divided into four sections: Experiments, Secret Science of Stuff, Games, and Science ABCs. Students are able to explore both online and offline with real materials to build a strong foundation in chemistry.
Classroom Hands-on Activities (Grades 3-5). Use these activities to enrich the study of various science topics taught in elementary school. Topics are aligned with curriculum for physical science, earth and space science, and some life science.
The activities focus on the process of doing science, including the importance of establishing an experimental control; changing and controlling variables; observing, measuring, and recording data; and drawing reasonable conclusions. Whenever possible, mathematics is incorporated into activities so that math and science skills are developed together.

Physics

A great many years ago when I was a college undergraduate, Richard Feynman presented a physics lecture at my university. I hope the lecture by Feynman will give you as much pleasure at his lecture gave me. Quoting from the TED Talks website:

One of the best known and most renowned scientists in history, Richard Feynman pioneered quantum mechanics. His knack for accessible explanations made him a popularizer of physics of equal distinction to laypeople.
In this archival footage from BBC TV, celebrated physicist Richard Feynman explains what fire, magnets, rubber bands (and more) are like at the scale of the jiggling atoms they're made of. This accessible, enchanting conversation in physics reveals a teeming nano-world that's just plain fun to imagine.

Teach Yourself Physics. The Feynman video clips are from one of seven available at this site. Several of the sites provide complete physics courses.

Ultimate Collection of Free Physics Videos at the Futurism site provides access to videos of hundreds of college and graduate school physics lectures. For example, click here for a 10-week course in Basic Physics from University of California, Irvine.

The America Physical Society provides a variety of educational resources. Quoting from the website:

APS has partnered with AAPT, AIP, and AAS to create the ComPADRE digital library, a collection of electronic educational materials in physics and astronomy. Together, APS and ComPADRE have developed Physics to Go.

Powers of 10. is a good example of a short video (9-minutes) illustrating powers of 10—from very small to very large! Quoting from the website:

Powers of Ten takes us on an adventure in magnitudes. Starting at a picnic by the lakeside in Chicago, this famous film transports us to the outer edges of the universe. Every ten seconds we view the starting point from ten times.

Click here for another Powers of Ten video (6:06) showing changes of many orders of magnitude. The right side of this page contains links to a large number of videos.

Stephen Hawking is one of the best known physicists of m=current times. Here are three of his talks:

A 2013 talk. (1:28.)
Master of the universe, episode # 1. (48:11).
Did God create the universe? (36.39).

Click here for additional talks by Hawking and other leading experts.

Albert Einstein. A Google search on 7/20/2016 of the expression video Einstein produced more than 50 million results. Albert Einstein's research on general relativity has stood the test of time as well as many, many actual tests of these theories. See, for example:

Albert Einstein-How I see the world. (48:03).
Extraordinary documentary - Inside Einstein's Mind The Enigma of Space and Time - BBC Documentary. (58:20).
Click here for additional videos about Einstein and other scientists.

Free Online Educational Resources from IAE

Lists of Free Online Resources

Moursund, D. (2016). Fair use. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 7/17/2016 from http://iae-pedia.org/Fair_Use.

Moursund, D. (2016). Free educational videos. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 8/17/2016 2016 from http://iae-pedia.org/Free_Educational_Videos.

Moursund, D. (2016). Free IAE math education materials. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 8/17/2016 from http://iae-pedia.org/Free_IAE_Math_Education_Materials.

Moursund, D. (2016). Free math education videos. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 7/17/2016 from http://iae-pedia.org/Free_Math_Education_Videos.

Moursund, D. (2016). Free math software. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 8/17/2016 from http://iae-pedia.org/Free_Math_Software.

Moursund, D. (2016). Free open content libraries. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 6/27/2016 from http://iae-pedia.org/Free_Open_Content_Libraries.

Moursund, D. (2016). Free open source and open content educational materials. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 8/17/2016 from http://iae-pedia.org/Free_Open_Source_and_Open_Content_Educational_Materials.

Moursund, D. (2016). Free open source online databases. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 8/17/2016 from http://iae-pedia.org/Free_Open_Source_Online_Databases.

Moursund, D. (2016). Free open source software packages. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 8/17/2016 from http://iae-pedia.org/Free_Open_Source_Software_Packages.

Moursund, D. (2016). Free science education software. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 8/17/2016 from http://iae-pedia.org/Free_Science_Education_Software.

Moursund, D. (2016). Free science education videos. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 8/17/2016 from http://iae-pedia.org/Free_Science_Education_Videos.

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Author

The original version of this page was created by David Moursund and edited by Ann Lathrop.