Still Ready to Flip? 4 Lecture-Style Video Sites for Science Instruction

This is the next in a series of blog posts, collecting links to websites that contain some interesting videos for teachers looking to “flip their classroom” without starting from scratch.  (For more on what it means to flip a classroom, see Monday’s introductory post.)  For each site below, I have tried to summarize by including information about

  • content areas collected on the site,
  • the intended grade level/age of viewers, and
  • the type/style of video (e.g. lecture with written notes, music video, made-for-TV)

There should also be an example video posted along each title.  Between the description, the links, and sample video, you should end up with a pretty good idea of what you’re getting into.  (Note: after being organized into categories, these sites are listed alphabetically by title, not based on any evaluation of relative quality.)

Lecture-Style Videos


Content Areas: Biology, Environmental Science, and Physics, as well as several other disciplines

Intended Age Group: These videos seem to align to high school textbooks, though most students of any age could probably follow along.

Style of videos: Predominantly one speaker over animated slides of information

Sample video: NOAA: Plate Tectonics

Description: As described in the last post, Hippocampus is a project dedicated to providing multimedia content on general education without charge.  I included it both here and in the Animated Video Explanation sections, since most of its videos are still lecture-based.  All in all, still a pretty solid ‘first stop’ on the road to finding the right content for a flipped classroom concept.  Don’t forget about the ‘new look’ webiste, still in beta version as of August 30, 2011.

Khan Academy

Content Areas: Earth, Life & Physical are all represented, as well as anything else they can find a speaker to talk about.

Intended Age Group: While focused on high school and college content, the language is such that most anyone interested could understand, regardless of age.

Style of videos: Lecture-style over an individual drawing in real time.

Sample video: Photosynthesis- The Calvin Cycle

Description: Like it or hate it, Khan Academy is a force when it comes to flipped classroom resources.  Sal Khan has collected seemingly thousands of lecture-style videos on his website, and made them free for the masses.  Most are anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes in length, using relatively straightforward explanations for interested parties to “sit and get” the requisite content.  In many ways, this resource is an audio textbook with a written video complement.  While it’s personally not my style, I wouldn’t hate on anyone using it.  After all, what is it that Ben Franklin once said…?

MIT OpenCourseWare

Content Areas: Much of MIT’s undergrad course materials is available here on the web, though not all courses have audio/video available.

Intended Age Group: These were generated for the use of college students, though I am sure they would be applicable to certain high school science courses.

Style of videos: Most I have seen are lecture-style videos of a professor engaging in demonstrations, explanations and derivations in front of a group of students.

Sample video: Work, Energy and Universal Gravitation (fast-forward to 45:40 for the start of the famous conservation of energy demo involving a 15-kg wrecking ball, and 48:10 for the actual drop)













Description: MIT has released video lectures and other course content for free via OpenCourseWares.  This means exactly what it sounds like it means: you and your students have access to a plethora of lectures by a variety of renown science professors at one of the most prestigious technical colleges in the whole world.  You can download them from iTunes U, watch them on YouTube, or view them at the website listed above.  The downside: finding the content to which you wish to direct students can be a chore, like finding a needle in the proverbial haystack.  Given that most of the lectures are 40+ minutes long (likely longer than you would hope students to watch on their own), you will have to be ready to scan through the vids to find exactly the content you wish for students to see, and then bookmark it in some way for future use.  (Pretty cool having Prof. Lewin in your living room though, right?)

Twig Science

Content Areas: Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, and Physics

Intended Age Group: These have different videos for all age students.

Style of videos: Most I have seen are documentary-style, with a single speaker scripted over archived footage from the BBC, NASA, etc.

Sample video: How Hot is the Earth’s Core?

Description: Twig Science is a company based out of the UK advertised as providing “outstanding short films on science…made with teachers, for teachers.”  They are not lying.  The videos I have seen are short (usually no more than 3 minutes or so), and outstanding in quality and clarity.  As described about BrainPop in yesterday’s post, Twig Science also offers several supplementary resources that could be used in conjunction with these videos, including sample lesson plans, checks for understandings, The organizational mindmap is an impressive feature, as well.  Also like BrainPop, Twig Science is a paid site.  The free videos give a taste of what’s inside (including a nice categorization between “Core Concept” videos and “Extension” videos), but to get full access, there’s a fee involved.


If you know of other sites that would fit this criteria, please share them in the comments section below.  Happy flipping!

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