Seeing inspirational and mind-blowing videos for kids
March 18, 2014 1:46 PM   Subscribe

What can I show children to inspire and wow them? I teach children aged between 9 and 11. I'm looking for video clips (or other) to show the children that will blow their minds - or at least, prompt discussion, broaden their horizons and take them outside of the confines of the four walls of the classroom.

We focus so much on the academic side of things at school - so much reading, writing, maths, etc. Of course we cover the other subjects too, as well as the social and emotional side of learning. I want to sometimes, though, be able to show the children something possibly completely random and unrelated to what we might be studying at that point, that will make them think, make them laugh, make them smile or spark something in their brains. Basically something worthy and with learning value, but different from anything we might cover as part of our curriculum-based learning.

I bookmark things as I come across them on the internet (clever infographics, videos, images), but would love to collect more ideas so that I have a bank of things to use when we have a spare ten minutes or so. It's difficult to give examples of what I'm after - and indeed, I'm not just after videos. Websites, texts, images, science experiments, games - I'm up for anything, although things that don't in themselves require a lot of time are preferable. Recently, for example, I came across a lovely gallery of pictures of 'amazing places' which the children found awe-inspiring. We plotted the locations on a world map, researched why a lake in one picture was pink, and generally enjoyed learning a bit more about the world around us. Another example would be Chris Hadfield's videos from space, which the children loved watching. Just yesterday we watched that video clip where a camera was attached to a bird, so you got a bird's eye view as it flew around, just because I thought they'd find it cool, and we had a spare three minutes.

Thanks in advance!
posted by schmoo to Education (21 answers total) 65 users marked this as a favorite
Kids (and adults) love this video for This Too Shall Pass from OK Go. I have seen it many times and it still amazes me and makes me tear up at the end because I am a giant sucker.
posted by altopower at 1:55 PM on March 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

The new take on Cosmos is perfect for this. But maybe too specifically curricular, though?

I saw someone on Facebook recently saying that they show their middle school students the Kid President series of viral videos. (Then again the tagline on their front page right now is "Don't be in a party, be a party," which, I don't know, maybe for 10 year olds, but in general gives me the heebie jeebies.)

I'm a sucker for the PS 22 chorus in Staten Island, New York.
posted by Sara C. at 1:59 PM on March 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Kid Should See This usually has a good assortment of stuff. Some of it may be too young, too old, too whatever for your kids, but if you sift through you should find a lot of worthwhile stuff.
posted by BlahLaLa at 2:05 PM on March 18, 2014 [12 favorites]

My kids went apeshit for the original Connections when I showed it to them. They were about the same age, maybe a bit younger. I don't know if it's available online anywhere, but I got copies from the local library.
posted by 2N2222 at 2:09 PM on March 18, 2014 [6 favorites]

I teach orchestra to 11-13 year-olds, so they're a little older than your kids and obviously have a specialized interest, but mine love it when I fill 10-15 minutes with a segment (one performer) of the From the Top videos available streaming from PBS. They're really talented teenage or tween musicians with enough backstory and goofiness to get my kids to buy in before a really great performance of not-always-classical music. I think there is something really powerful about kids seeing other kids accomplish something through dint of hard work.
posted by charmedimsure at 2:10 PM on March 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Where on Earth is Matt?

(Original project titled Where The Hell Is Matt? Wiki.)

Tear-inducing joy and fun for all ages.
posted by divined by radio at 2:13 PM on March 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

This animated Moby Dick is about 50 minutes long. It's a lot of fun, and a great launching point for all kinds of discussions. My five year old roots for the whale.
posted by colin_l at 4:16 PM on March 18, 2014

Planet Earth, the BBC show, has tons of incredible, amazing material. The Jungle episode was one of my favorites.
posted by sevensnowflakes at 4:18 PM on March 18, 2014

Powers of Ten blew my mind when I was around that age. YMMV.
posted by forza at 5:51 PM on March 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

My nine year old daughter loves:
How It's Made
Secret Life of Machines
Roadkill (some episodes are not appropriate for kids)
posted by Confess, Fletch at 6:08 PM on March 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

My kids (and friends and coworkers) love the Science Every Day podcast, by a NASA missile engineer in Huntsville. He does some fascinating work with high-frame-rate cameras. I'll bet your crew would love the episodes about cat physics and the Prince Rupert's drop.
posted by tigerjade at 6:09 PM on March 18, 2014

Cello Wars (Star Wars)
posted by RoadScholar at 6:18 PM on March 18, 2014

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Chorus
posted by RoadScholar at 6:24 PM on March 18, 2014

Previously on MetaFilter:
James Burke's popular television show Connections is available in its entirety online.
posted by ShooBoo at 9:08 PM on March 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I came in to recommend "the Kid Should See This" too. So much cool stuff!
posted by Joh at 9:29 PM on March 18, 2014

Wimp has cool and interesting videos. For example, I see one this month about the Leidenfrost Effect, one about a 15 year old wowing MIT, etc.
posted by Dansaman at 10:43 PM on March 18, 2014

2nding Five videos a day, family friendly. Some are only a minute long; some are touching, some are silly, some are educational, some are inspirational. Lame name, great site.

And 2nding SLOM, Secret Life of Machines. A great, great series. However, they're full shows, 25 minutes long.

Engineer Guy


TED talks. Most of these talks are 20 mins long. Many are aimed at grownups, but some are appropriate for your students.
posted by at at 11:27 PM on March 18, 2014

Don't forget Ted Ed. Mostly not mind-blowing, I guess, but consistently interesting and informative, on a very broad range of topics. My 6yo loves it.

And, as others have already mentioned, TheKidShouldSeeThis

I also subscribe to range of YouTube channels, such as SmarterEveryDay, Veritasium, Vsauce, HowStuffWorks, minutephysics, Periodic Videos, Vi Hart, The Slow Mo Guys, National Geographic, MinuteEarth, VideoFromSpace, and others
posted by snarfois at 4:51 AM on March 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Supersized Earth is a BBC documentary that is stunning, showing how people have shaped the world. Stunning photography in HD of things like the Burj Khalifa (where he window cleans!), Hoover Dam, Canal Project in China, Hong Kong, etc. etc. etc.
posted by defcom1 at 5:49 AM on March 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

nthing Connections. It blew my little mind when I first saw it and I can watch it endlessly if it shows up on Discovery or PBS.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:09 AM on March 19, 2014

Response by poster: Thank you so much for all the suggestions, everyone. Looking forward to checking them out!
posted by schmoo at 12:42 PM on March 19, 2014

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