Tag Archives: science

5 Cool Science YouTube Channels

by Hope Morley

science youtube channels

Image courtesy of cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Last month we shared five YouTube channels that offer great educational videos on a wide variety of topics. This week, we focus on the best YouTube channels for science videos.


LEVEL: Middle school

An offshoot of MinutePhysics, this channel offers “science and stories about our awesome planet!” Animated videos provide information about earth science subjects such as the atmosphere as well as life science topics about organisms. Its most viewed video is “Where Did Earth’s Water Come From?”

National Geographic

LEVEL: Middle to high school

The National Geographic Society, “one of the largest nonprofit scientific and educational institutions in the world,” was founded in 1888. Its YouTube channel contains thousands of videos, including scores of fun animal clips that feature the “World’s Deadliest” and “World’s Weirdest.” It also includes glimpses into peoples and traditions from around the world as well as videos about historical and current events. The channel offers information about nature and science, too. One playlist for National Geographic’s Genographic Project shows how the Society is tracking human origins and migration through DNA analysis.

The Periodic Table of Videos

LEVEL: Middle to high school

Video journalist Brady Haran works with University of Nottingham, England, chemists to produce short videos about every element on the periodic table from hydrogen to ununoctium. The channel also includes videos showing experiments at extremely slow rates of speed (it’s more entertaining that it sounds, trust me), such as pouring mercury into liquid nitrogen, which can lead to new discoveries that the scientists then share with their viewers. In “Hydrogen Explosions (slow motion),” Professor Martyn Poliakoff enthuses, “It’s always good for a scientist to be proved wrong.”

The Science Channel

LEVEL: Middle to high school

Developed through the Cassiopeia Project, this channel aims to provide teachers and students with videos that explain difficult concepts in astronomy, biology, and physics simply and clearly. The “From Big Bang to Man” series provides detailed descriptions about the “baby” universe, the universe today, how life evolved on Earth, the first humans, and people today. The Science Channel also includes dozens of videos about the Hubble Telescope.


LEVEL: Middle to high school

When Derek Muller was studying for his doctorate in Physics Education Research, he found that “addressing misconceptions first is often essential to engage the audience and promote conceptual change.” He applies this knowledge on the Veritasium YouTube channel, which gets its name from the Latin word for truthveritas—and the suffix -ium, a common suffix for many elements on the periodic table. Many of the offerings focus on physics. Viewed more than 9 million times, “World’s Roundest Object!” explains the history of the kilogram measurement and how to “eliminate the kilogram’s dependence on a physical object.”

What do you think about these science YouTube channels? Are there other channels that you would add to this list? Leave a comment below, or find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Hope bioHope Morley is a consultant and social media coordinator for Green Light Professional Development. She writes about social media, conferences, and anything else on the web that helps both students and teachers learn. Follow her @GreenlightLT

Forget Googling: Best Science Websites for the Classroom

by Helen Beyne

science websites for classrooms

image courtesy FreeImages.com

We’ve told you where to find free primary sources online and guided you through evaluating the accuracy of online sites. As you know, Google isn’t always the fastest or safest way to find great content, trustworthy online. We’ve pulled together a list of stellar science websites that you can feel confident both sending students to and using to bring scientific concepts to life in the classroom.


Scientific American
Scientific American, founded in 1845, is the “oldest continuously published magazine” in the United States. In addition to articles, the website also includes blogs, videos, and podcasts on a wide variety of science topics.

What began as a printed scientific journal in 1869 has expanded into a publishing group that covers chemistry, clinical practice and research, Earth and the environment, life sciences, and physical sciences.

Popular Science
The print magazine was established in 1872 and went online in 1999. The website includes sections on science, technology, and gadgets.

American Scientist
American Scientist was first published in 1913 and concentrates on science, engineering, and technology.

This magazine, which began as a print publication in 1970, focuses on “topics and subject matters researched, studied and exhibited by the Smithsonian Institution,” including science and innovation.

Science Daily
This website posts topical news articles and links about the latest research and news in various science fields.


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration website provides facts about and stunning images of our universe as well as information about the U.S. space program.

Sky & Telescope
This periodical has been sharing information about space for more than 70 years.

The first issue of this magazine was released in August 1973. The publication and website are geared toward amateur astronomers.


Encyclopedia of Life
Gathering scientific literature from several institutions—including the Biodiversity Heritage Library—the EOL advocates for “global access to knowledge about life on Earth.”

Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems
Connected with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), EOLSS is a community-created online encyclopedia. (subscription required)

Animal Diversity Web
ADW is a comprehensive encyclopedia of “the natural history of animals.”


American Chemical Society
The ACS, formed in New York in 1876, is dedicated to “improving people’s lives through the transforming power of chemistry.” The website has several education resources divided by level here.

Royal Society of Chemistry
This British group dates back to the mid-nineteenth century and offers links to thousands of chemistry resources for both teachers and students on its website.

Chemical Heritage Foundation
The mission of CHF is “to foster dialogue on science and technology in society.” The website includes oral histories and other archives.

Earth Science

U.S. Geological Survey
The USGS website offers comprehensive and up-to-date information about our planet.

The Geological Society of America
Founded in 1888, the GSA “provides access to elements that are essential to the professional growth of earth scientists.” Many resources can be found on its Education & Outreach page.


Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
WHOI’s mission is to “advance understanding of the ocean and its interaction with the Earth system.”

National Oceanographic Data Center
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) runs this site, which contains oceanic data as well as atlases.

Physical Science

Helmed by the Institute of Physics, this site offers facts, experiments, and games.

American Physical Society
APS offers access to journals and a website called PhysicsCentral.

World Science U
This new site, launched by physicist Brian Greene, provides short videos and longer courses on physics and astronomy.

Helen bioHelen Beyne is a consultant for Green Light Professional Development. She has years of experience in creating innovative curriculum materials in reading, ESL, science, and social studies. She writes about IWBs and free online resources for teachers.

How Citizen Science Benefits Your Students

by Hope Morley

Citizen science projects

Image courtesy of moomsabuy | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Citizen science: you’ve probably heard the term, but what does it mean? And how does it relate to your classroom? Citizen science, sometimes referred to as crowd-sourced science, is just what it sounds like. Citizen science projects get the general population engaged in scientific observation, measurement, and data collection. They provide opportunities for people outside of traditional academia to make meaningful contributions to ongoing scientific research. You may even have already played a part, if you’ve participated in SETI@Home or solved puzzles at FoldIt.

You already know the value of hands-on, direct experience when it comes to developing STEM skills. And you may even already be designing Common Core units based around activities paired with scientific texts. Project-based learning, rich in context and authenticity, gives students a chance to practice 21st century skills like collaboration and digital literacy. Learners of all ages benefit from encountering real-life questions and finding their own answers. Citizen science projects, like the ones at SciStarter, provide ways for learners to jump in and start solving problems.

Allowing your class to choose a citizen science project guarantees that they’ll be interested and engaged in the topic of study. Zooniverse has a lot of options. You can also guide students to projects that have a clear link to themes and ideas that you are already working with. Many citizen science resources have a strong focus on supporting classroom instruction, and offer teaching tools to accompany the projects.

If you are concerned about the level of classroom technology required to make these science projects work, don’t worry. SciStarter has student-friendly projects that range from online-only to requiring computer access only for initial sign-up.

Are you currently incorporating citizen science into your classroom? Have you built a curriculum around getting students involved with citizen science? Leave us a comment and let us know how citizen science is working for you!

Hope MorleyHope Morley is a consultant and social media coordinator for Green Light Professional Development. She writes about social media, conferences, and anything else on the web that helps both students and teachers learn. Follow her @GreenlightLT

Today’s Virtual Field Trip Itinerary: the Opera, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Moon!

by Erin Dye

Virtual Field Trips

Take your students on a virtual field trip | Image courtesy of digitalart | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

During the recent days of budget cuts, not to mention liability waivers and parents who are too busy to chaperone, you may have seen your field trip opportunities dwindle. You probably already know that some websites can help to fill the void. What you might not know is that there are virtual field trip apps and websites that not only present information to students but also get closer than ever to actually transporting them to those museums, theaters, and historic sites. Even more exciting—students can now visit the bottom of the ocean, explore the Moon, and even follow in the footsteps of the characters in the books they’re reading.

So, it’s time to go—everybody get on the bus Internet!

Science Field Trips

Google Earth

Not to be confused with Google Maps (which is also a fantastic resource), this downloadable desktop or tablet app allows your students to explore the Earth, the Moon, and Mars in stunning detail. You can also set and save your own paths and destinations ahead of time.

Google’s Cultural Institute

Want your students to learn more about the Great Barrier Reef without flying them to the coast of Australia and getting them scuba certified? Simply pull up Google’s street view-style underwater exploration of the reef. There are also tours of hundreds of other sites.

American Museum of Natural History

The Museum of Natural History’s website has a detailed 360° self-guided walk through its museum. You can choose your gallery ahead of time or just amble through the corridors learning about fossils, plants, animals, and big, big diamonds.

Creatures of Light

Also created by the Museum of Natural History, for their special exhibition on bioluminescence, this beautiful, free iPad app explores the glowing creatures of the air, land, and sea.

Arts Field Trips 

The Metropolitan Opera

The Met’s iPad app provides interactive programs of their past three seasons, complete with audio and video of performances and summaries of the stories and productions themselves. The 2013–14 season includes classics such as Tosca, Rigoletto, and The Magic Flute.

Google Art Project

While asking students to perform an image search is great, it denies them the experience of a curated grouping of works. There’s almost no substitute for physically walking the halls of the world’s great museums. The exception to this rule? Google Art Project. Through this portal, dozens of the world’s finest museums offer virtual, street view-style explorations of their galleries.

Literature Field Trips

Google Lit Trips

Google Lit Trips allows your students to visit the real places mentioned in the books they read. All you need is the Google Earth app (desktop or iPad). For example, I recently toured 1940s Denmark on the Number the Stars tour, and then I trudged from Oklahoma to California with the Joads. These tours are organized by chapter so that students can really follow along.

The Secret Annex Online

It’s hard to visualize Anne Frank’s hiding place until you push aside the bookcase and walk through the hidden door. With the context provided by this 3-D model, students can truly relate to Anne’s experience in hiding.

We also love the National Parks app (free) and the Florence and Rome Virtual History apps (not free, but well worth the cost).

This list could go on and on. Look for another blog post coming soon that gives some pointers on creating lessons around these activities. Until then—what have you used for virtual field trips?

Bon voyage!

*Update: See a sample lesson plan for The Secret Annex here.

Erin DyeErin Dye is a consultant for Green Light Professional Development with extensive experience creating digital materials for interactive whiteboards and iPads. She writes about IWBs and free online resources for teachers.