These days my 2 older kids (aged 11 and 13), come home from school, grab some food from the pot (if I’ve been organized!), some fruit from the fridge or put some bread in the toaster. They then sit down at the breakfast bar, open up You Tube on the the kitchen computer and watch a few science videos. If I’m in the kitchen, I’ll usually get drawn in and start watching some video about whether zero is an even number, or what’s the longest straw that a person can suck a drink from or some other piece of coolness related to science, technology or medicine (STEM)
What’s interesting is that my kids are perfectly happy to watch a science video even if it doesn’t have fancy graphics or special effects, as long as the topic is interesting. Most of these videos are relatively short (3-15 minutes) so they’re perfect for a quick before/after school bite of science. I highly recommend these You Tube Channels to pre-teens and teens, but even my 6 year old has been known to insist that a video is restarted, so that he can find out about an interesting bit of science.
So in no particular order, here’s my Top 10 Science and Math You Tube Channels, along with their tag line, my short description and my current favorite video from each channel. Enjoy!
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About Numberphile: Videos about numbers – it’s that simple. Videos by Brady Haran
I love the way that Brady Haran and his team of mathematicians bring out the beauty of mathematics. These videos don’t use fancy video techniques but you’ll love the enthusiasm of the presenters as they reveal fascinating examples of how numbers and math contribute to the world. Many of the concepts use higher level math, but even if you don’t understand the math (I don’t always) you can’t fail to be drawn into their mathematical world.
About Vsauce: Our World is Amazing. Subscribe for Mind-Blowing Facts & The Best of the Internet
Without wanting to have favorites, VSauce is actually one of the channels on this list that I do watch every week. Michael from VSauce has a great way of starting off with a really interesting question such as “Why is Yawning Contagious, giving you the answer, but also bringing in lots of other related ideas that make you think literally, “That was cool!” VSauce videos have plenty of cool graphics to keep even the most distracted viewer entranced.
About brusspup: Optical illusions, Science and more!
Featuring some of the coolest optical illusions on the internet, Brusspup short videos tease the viewer by showing you the reality behind the illusions. These videos are a great way of introducing arty students to the way in which science and art are inter-linked.
About SciShow: Where the science goes.
Another favorite here. Whether it’s the fast talking or expressive hand gestures of the presenter, or the fast graphics, or just the way that SciShow asks and answers the questions that everyone wants to know, SciShow has become one of the most popular science based You Tube channels. Check it out and soon you’ll get sucked in too!
About TED-Ed: TED’s education initiative, is an online library of short, captivating videos that engage inquisitive learners all over the world.
TedEd, is the educational side of the TED (ideas worth talking about) franchise. Featuring videos across the whole of the school curriculum from arts to science/math to humanities, these often animated videos are tailor made for school students. The videos are from a variety of educators, each sharing their own unique view of a particular aspect of their field. You can check out some math specific TED Ed talks in my post: 9 Ted Talks to Get Your Teen Excited about Math.
6. Minute Physics
About MinutePhysics: Simply put: cool physics and other sweet science.- “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”~Rutherford via Einstein? (wikiquote)
Short videos highlighting small snippets of Physics (and math) using basic but quirky animation. Some high level concepts are covered but the videos, created by Henry Reich, never fail to entertain.
About Vi Hart: I’m a professional mathemusician at Khan Academy
Now working with Salman Khan at Khan Academy, Vi Hart is a favorite of math lovers everywhere. Her quick and beautifully drawn doodles highlight some of the cooler math concepts, while Vi’s friendly but speedy voiceover is a perfect way to demonstrate the excitement of the math she’s sharing. Don’t worry, you won’t understand everything she talks about but you’ll definitely be impressed by the math!
8. Smarter Everyday
About Smarter Every Day: I explore the world using science. That’s pretty much all there is to it. Watch 2 videos. If you learn something AWESOME, subscribe.
In the presenter’s own words “The goal is simple. Instead of just setting money aside for my 3 kids’ college fund, I spend it on making videos to educate the masses. Any donations I receive or revenue from the videos then becomes the college fund. This makes me more aggressive at saving for their college, and EVERYBODY GETS TO LEARN!” If your kids like science experiments, they’ll love Smarter Every Day.
About Veritasium: The science video blog from atoms to astrophysics!
More cool questions and more science experiments. Veritasium brings you the experiments behind the science and gives the viewer a cool insight into how scientists test out their theories. The video below is a great example of how Derek is able to make viewers care about the results of the experiments, and laugh as they watch along.
10. Periodic Table of Videos
About Periodic Table of Videos: Your ultimate channel for all things chemistry. A video about each element on the periodic table. And we upload new videos every week about science news, interesting molecules and other stuff from the world of chemistry.
Focusing on chemistry and the elements of the Periodic Table, this channel features professors from Nottingham University sharing some of the more fascinating areas of chemistry. Even though chemistry is my least favorite of the sciences, I’m happy to sit in front of the Periodic Table of Videos and brush up on my chemistry knowledge.
You Tube is great place to find cool and professionally produced science videos. Subscribe to your favorite of the channels above to have science facts and explanations on hand for a a dose of science entertainment each week.