9 Ted Talks to Get Your Teen Excited about Math


Do have a tough time getting your teen or pre-teen interested in talking about math? Well there’s a cool new website Ted Ed which takes ideas worth talking about in areas such as the arts, health, psychology as well as mathematics and creates lessons, quizzes and talking points to help kids engage more deeply with the topics.


Here are 9 engaging videos from Ted Ed featuring math ideas worth talking about. Grab your teen, pick a video and give the quizzes a go!

1. How Folding Paper Can Get You to the Moon

The incredible potential associated with exponential growth can be seen through this video that explores the simple folding of paper. Can you get to the moon when you fold one piece of paper forty-five times? Quizzes and points for discussion can be found at http://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-folding-paper-can-get-you-to-the-moon

2. How Many Universes Are There?

Chris Anderson explores how physics increases the understanding of reality itself. No one knows exactly how many universes are in existence making this a great question for teens to explore. Quizzes and points for discussion can be found at http://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-many-universes-are-there

3. Deb Roy: The birth of a word

Deb Roy, a researcher for MIT placed video camera around his home to show how a child’s language skills develop naturally over time. Watch this nice summary of over 90,000 hours of video to show how a simple “gaaaa” turns into the word “water.” Quizzes and points for discussion can be found at http://ed.ted.com/lessons/deb-roy-the-birth-of-a-word


4. Marcus du Sautoy: Symmetry Reality’s Riddle

From an arabesque’s dizzying beauty to subatomic particles, symmetry is what makes the world go round. Marcus du Sautory, an Oxford mathematician gives us a glimpse at what connects symmetrical objects. Quizzes and points for discussion can be found at http://ed.ted.com/lessons/marcus-du-sautoy-symmetry-reality-s-riddle.

5. Kevin Alloca: Why Videos Go Viral

YouTube’s trends manager shares his thoughts on the web’s silly videos giving four of the reasons that videos end up going viral. Quizzes and points for discussion can be found at http://ed.ted.com/lessons/kevin-alloca-why-videos-go-viral.

6. Peter Donnelly shows how stats fool juries

The mistakes that regularly occur when human beings interpret statistics are pointed out by Oxford mathematician Peter Donnelly. He also shows how devastating the impact can be when criminal trials are affected by these errors. Quizzes and points for discussion can be found at http://ed.ted.com/lessons/peter-donnelly-shows-how-stats-fool-juries.

7. Kevin Slavin: How Algorithms Shape Our World

The world is controlled by algorithms and Kevin Slavin shows us how complex programs on computers can find the price of stocks, architecture, movie scripts and tactics used in espionage. We are warned that the outcome is out of our control when we do not understand the code that we have written. Quizzes and points for discussion can be found at http://ed.ted.com/lessons/kevin-slavin-how-algorithms-shape-our-world.

8. The Beauty of Data Visualization

Simple diagrams are used to show patterns and connections not typically seen in complex sets of data such as status updates to Facebook, media buzz and military spending. Quizzes and points for discussion can be found at http://ed.ted.com/lessons/david-mccandless-the-beauty-of-data-visualization.


9. Hans Rosling shows the Best Stats You’ve Ever Seen

Hans Rosling uses the urgency and drama of a sportscaster as he lays the myths surrounding the developing world to rest by presenting data in a way you have never before seen. My personal favorite! Quizzes and points ofr discussion can be found at http://ed.ted.com/lessons/hans-rosling-shows-the-best-stats-you-ve-ever-seen.

Caroline Mukisa
About The Author: Caroline Mukisa is the founder of Maths Insider. A Cambridge University educated math teacher, she's been involved in math education for over 20 years as a teacher, tutor, Kumon instructor, Thinkster Math instructor and math ed blogger. She is the author of the insanely helpful ebook "The Ultimate Kumon Review" and insanely useful website "31 Days to Faster Times Tables" You can follow her math tips on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @mathsinsider

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3 thoughts on “9 Ted Talks to Get Your Teen Excited about Math

  1. Thanks anyway for the videos you have posted here together with the article which can help our kids love Math..

  2. This blog post is great! As a mother, I am constantly seeking new ways to get my two sons excited about math. I recently started doing a program called Brainetics (www.brainetics.com) – and have found so many different ways to make math fun and my kids are enjoying it. Just something to check out. Keep up the great content!

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