Flip On the Tube! 5 Made-for-TV Video Sites for Science Instruction

This is the third 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.) 

Made-for-TV Videos

Mythbusters http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/mythbusters/

Content Areas: Scientific process skills and engineering around a variety of topics

Intended Age Group: Most clips would be all right for ages 8+, though be sure to screen topics accordingly

Style of videos: Problem-focused vignette as two (or more) people try to design a solution

Sample video: Dimpled Car MiniMyth

 

Description: Mythbusters Jamie & Adam are at it again!  As most know, these two (and their newly-formed team) challenge widely-held beliefs of all shapes and sizes, using science to debunk myth.  Discovery.com has collected over 1,000 clips from the show on their website.  The clips- ranging from 60 seconds to 5 minutes- could serve a great purpose as a focusing tool, or as a model for engineering, problem-solving, or investigation.  The downside: the clips on this site are not really organized in any way.  To find something of value to you in your classroom, be ready to do some searching and some bookmarking.

NBC Learn http://www.nbclearn.com/

Content Areas: Physics (Science of NFL Football, Science of the WInter Olmpics), Chemistry (Chemistry Now!), and Earth Science (The Changing Planet)

Intended Age Group: I’ve used these resources with students as young as 3rd grade, as old as 12th.  

Style of videos: What you might expect in a feature story on the news- interviews, stock footage, telestrated explanations over video.

Sample video: The Chemistry of Chocolate

Description: The team at NBC News got collected, produced, and archived these resources for the K-12 classroom.  The subject matter of each collection puts the content into a context that matters to kids.  (My pesonal favorite: Science of the Winter Olympics!)  A select few videos (about 100 altogether) are free for use in classrooms, while the rest of the collection require a subscription.

One interesting tidbit: NBC Learn uses a media player called a Cue Card™ that supports various media besides video.  It is also “flippable”:  like a flash card, the media player provides bibliographic information, clickable keywords and a citation generator on the back, and a full transcript along the side.

SportScience http://search.espn.go.com/sports-science/videos/6

Content Areas: Mostly physics, though several touch on biology- or chemistry-related topics

Intended Age Group: Like NBC Learn, I have used these with all ages of student.

Style of videos: TV scientists pose a question, and measure data from athletes’ performance in order to answer the question

Sample video: Jayron Hosley – Reaction Time and Speed

Description: John Brenkus and the SportScience team mix Mythbusters with SportsCenter to bring SportScience, a show that digs into the science behind the world of sports.  In most situations, the clips consist of Brenkus posing a question about an athlete: “How does Rory McElroy drive the ball so far off the tee?”  “How fast is Jayron Hosley?”  “Can Chicago Bear Devin Heser outrun a real bear?”  The team then goes into data collection mode, strapping high-tech probes and tracking equipment to the athlete in order to study his/her movements.  The data is then analyzed in order to try and answer the initial question.

ESPN has collected about 100 3 to 5 minute clips on their website.  Unfortunately, like the Mythbusters site, the organizational structure of this site leaves a bit to be desired- teachers will need to be ready to spend a little time digging here to find just the content they need.  (Be sure to bookmark it in some way once you find it!)

Time Warphttp://dsc.discovery.com/tv/time-warp/time-warp.html

Content Areas: Bit of a mixed bag, though there is a lot of physics.

Intended Age Group: Generally for older viewers, though I think everyone could be easily awed by the super high-speed camera.  Given that explosions and fire are often a topic of conversation, be wary of the clip in its totality before assigning it.

Style of videos: Hosts Jeff Lieberman and Matt Kearney pose questions, and then film subjects with a super high-speed camera in order to see events in super slow motion (which hopefully helps to answer the question at hand).

Sample video:  Nucleation in a Soda Geyser

Description: Like SportScience, Time Warp digs into the science behind that which happens too quickly for our eyes to see.  Through the use of a high-speed camera, the hosts are able to capture many more frames per second than your average video camera, allowing us to receive much more information about what really happens in the blink of an eye!  The site has two different video sets.  One set of 20 videos from HowStuffWorks.com goes into more of an explanation for phenomena like bubbles, rockets, and fire walking.  The other is a collection of interactive videos where the user controls the speed and direction of the playback- perhaps to answer a question of his or her own!  While these vids may not be of enough substance to fly as flipped videos on their own, the interactive videos might cool enough of a resource to be used in the classroom during application time.

Twig Science http://twig-it.com/

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

Intended Age Group: These have different videos for all ages of 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.

 

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If you know of any other resources that fit this description, please share them in the comments boxes.  Happy flipping!

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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

Hippocampus http://www.hippocampus.org/

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 http://www.khanacademy.org/

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 http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm

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 http://twig-it.com/

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.

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

Ready to Flip? 3 Animated Video Sites for Science Instruction

Recent posts, tweets & articles have anointed “reverse instruction” and flipped classrooms as the wave of today’s future.  (See The Flipped Classroom Network for a short video description, and Dan Pink’s article on Karl Fisch‘s reverse instruction techniques for more examples of this type of instruction.  Or just Google ‘flipped classroom’.)  Teachers across the world are turning their instruction upside-down, delivering knowledge-focused content that would normally comprise class time as video homework instead.  Generally (though not always) lecture-driven, these videos open up opportunities to bring the application of content knowledge into the classroom, skills that had previously been saved for “drill & kill” homework.  It’s an interesting concept- one that I expect would appeal to those looking for ways to get more authentic learning opportunities through the classroom door, or others trying to shed the label of “sage on the stage” in favor of becoming the “guide on the side”.

Of course, in order to offer “take-home” exposure to content, one must have access to quality videos about the topics at hand.  As with anything else, you can either make them or find them elsewhere (or some combination of the two).  

Hence this series of blog posts, a collection of links to websites containing some interesting videos of all styles and subjects, any of which could potentially fit a teacher’s “flipping” needs.  Over the next week, I’ll publish posts where I have sorted video sites into one of four categories: Animated Video ExplanationsLecture-Style VideosMade-for-TV Videos, and YouTube DIY-Style Videos. For each site, 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.)

Animated Video Explanations

Brain Pop http://www.brainpop.com/

Content Areas: Earth, Life & Physical are all represented, as is Engineering (and several other disciplines, too)

Intended Age Group: In the site’s Standards Search, there are related videos and activities PK-12.

Style of videos: Animated cartoon characters responding to e-mail questions

Sample video: http://www.brainpop.com/science/energy/windenergy/ 

Description: These videos are usually between 3-5 minutes in length (something common among most of the more effective sites), making the point clearly and concisely.  Following each video, students have the option of completing an activity, taking a online quiz, or going into the FAQs to learn more.  The stories in the videos themselves bring some context upon which students could build within class time.  There’s also a nice little Educator’s Corner with some resources (including those for the IWB) that might be of interest.  One downside: This is a paid site.  While there are several “freebies” available on the site, those only help you out if they apply to your curriculum.

CommonCraft http://www.commoncraft.com

Content Areas: Organized into 4 categories: “Green”, “Money”, “Society”, and “Technology”.

Intended Age Group: Generally a site intended for adult learning, though I’ll bet kids grade 3 and up could follow just fine, depending on purpose.

Style of videos: Narration over cut-out images and hand gestures that visually represent the narrative text

Sample video: CFL Light Bulbs in plain English

Description: These videos are intended as “plain English” explanations of normally complicated Web 2.0 buzzwords: RSS, Cloud Computing, Blogs, and Social Media in the Workplace are but a few of the topics addressed by the site.  This is the first place I go when looking for ways to explain technically complex IT topics.  Fear not, those looking for non-tech content: the folks at CommonCraft have also created a couple of explanations around more people-centered topics such as Electing a US President and CFL Light Bulbs.  If nothing else, it’s worth looking at this style of video to give you some ideas of ways to present content to your own students.  And if you’re looking for a little laugh, check out Zombies in plain English.  “Remember, zombies don’t eat candy.  Only brains!”

P.S. Commoncraft also has a YouTube channel.

Hippocampus http://www.hippocampus.org/

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: Water & Life: An Overview

Description: HippoCampus is a project of the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education (MITE). According to the website, “the goal of HippoCampus is to provide high-quality, multimedia content on general education subjects to high school and college students free of charge.”  All in all, this is a pretty solid ‘first stop’ on the road to finding the right content for a flipped classroom concept.  While other paid websites may house more ‘engaging’ presentations than some of those available here, this site is so dense and full of great info that it would be a shame to pass it by.  Hippocampus is also in development of a new look for their site to serve more as a curator of free online digital content– as it fills out, the site would be another great place to kick-start ideas for your classroom.

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