Harnessing the Power of Science Videos in High School Science (and some of my favorites!)

science videos

In today’s digital age, education is undergoing a transformative shift. Traditional teaching methods are being supplemented—and sometimes replaced—by innovative approaches that cater to the diverse learning styles of students. One such powerful tool is the use of science videos in high school science education. These videos offer dynamic, engaging, and interactive ways to explore complex scientific concepts, making learning both fun and effective.

The Benefits of Science Videos

1. Enhancing Understanding of Complex Concepts: Science can be challenging, with abstract concepts and intricate processes that are difficult to grasp through textbooks alone. Science videos can visually demonstrate these concepts, making them more accessible and easier to understand. For example, a video showing the process of mitosis can help students visualize cell division in a way that a static image cannot.

2. Catering to Different Learning Styles: Students have varied learning preferences. Some are visual learners who benefit from seeing information presented graphically. Others may be auditory learners who grasp concepts better when they are explained verbally. Science videos can cater to both these learning styles simultaneously, providing a richer educational experience.

3. Increasing Engagement and Motivation: High school students are digital natives who are accustomed to consuming information through videos. Incorporating science videos into the curriculum can capture their attention and increase their motivation to learn. Engaging content can spark curiosity and encourage students to explore topics further on their own.

4. Facilitating Hands-On Learning: Many science videos include experiments and demonstrations that students may not be able to perform in a typical classroom setting due to time, resource, or safety constraints. Watching these experiments can provide a practical understanding of scientific principles and inspire students to conduct their own investigations.

My FAvorite YOUTUBE CREATORS FOR SCIENCE

These are my go to video creators that I have used over and over again for the various science topics that I teach.

  • Life Science: The Amoeba Sisters are my number one favorite creators when it comes to all things biology. Even though they offer some video handouts on their website, I have made a collection of Amoeba Sisters handouts (with permission) to use with my standard biology students here. They keep my kids engaged before, during, and after the video, and make excellent notes!
  • Earth Science: Mike Sammartano makes even the dullest of Earth Science topics informative and interesting. Check out his channel here.
  • Astronomy: Who doesn’t love a short, to the point, and well executed video on any science topic. National Geographic 101 videos have got us covered! I especially enjoy them for astronomy and weather topics.

Check out my resource below that includes a video handout and other resource that can go with ANY SCIENCE TOPIC you’d like!

This is a collection of six engaging and meaningful no-prep sub plans that can be used with any science topic in any secondary science classroom! These science sub plans are the perfect resources to keep in your emergency toolbox or sub folder for when the unexpected happens! They are also great resources for regular science classwork!

The included generic one-page video handout is set up like a graphic organizer and has prompts that range from summarizing, drawing, analyzing, rating and reviewing, and more! Use on any science video in a pinch! Perfect for when you find a great YouTube video, but can’t find a good worksheet for it.

Best Practices for Integrating Science Videos into the Curriculum

1. Align Videos with Learning Objectives: It’s essential to choose videos that align with the curriculum and learning objectives. Each video should have a clear purpose and contribute to the understanding of specific concepts. Teachers should preview videos to ensure they are accurate and appropriate for the class.

2. Use Videos to Supplement, Not Replace, Traditional Teaching:

While science videos are a valuable resource, they should complement traditional teaching methods rather than replace them. Videos can be used to introduce a new topic, reinforce what has been taught, or provide a summary. Follow-up discussions and activities are crucial to deepen understanding and encourage critical thinking.

My Amoeba Sisters handouts cover an entire class from start to finish! Each one includes a short engagement activity (perfect for a bellringer), multiple choice questions in order of the video, independent practice activities, and an extension. Teachers and students alike love them for notes, lessons, and sub-plans.

3. Encourage Active Viewing: Students should be encouraged to watch videos actively. This can be achieved by providing guided notes, posing questions for students to answer while watching, or having them summarize the key points afterward. Interactive elements like quizzes and polls during the video can also enhance engagement.

4. Integrate Technology Thoughtfully: Leverage technology to make video content more interactive and accessible. Platforms like YouTube, Khan Academy, and TED-Ed offer a wealth of high-quality science videos. Additionally, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can provide immersive experiences that take learning to the next level.

5. Promote Discussion and Reflection: After watching a video, facilitate a class discussion to allow students to share their insights and ask questions. Encourage them to reflect on what they have learned and how it connects to other topics they are studying. This helps reinforce the material and fosters a deeper understanding.

MY FAVORITE SCIENCE DOCUMENTARY EVER

This movie just checks all the boxes for all secondary science classes. I show it religiously ever year and the students are so engaged with mouths wide open from start to finish. Currently you can stream it pretty much from anywhere. It is a long movie, so I like to use it at the end of the school year when I’m packing up, around Earth Day, or as an extended sub plan.

A Plastic Ocean is an engaging, effective, and informative documentary about the causes, effects, and human impacts of plastics in our oceans. The Plastic Ocean video handout includes 34 short answer questions that are timed in sequence to the video, and 6 summarizing and analysis questions. The questions are spaced out so that they do not go too fast or too slow and encompass the entire film from start to finish. This keeps students engaged and learning throughout this profound documentary.

Science videos are a powerful tool that can transform high school science education. By making complex concepts more accessible, catering to different learning styles, and increasing student engagement, these videos can significantly enhance the learning experience. When integrated thoughtfully into the curriculum, science videos not only make learning more enjoyable but also more effective. As educators, it’s our responsibility to harness the potential of these digital resources to inspire and educate the next generation of scientists.

science is real