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There has been lots written on the benefits of using video for teaching science, much of which seems to make the same couple of points

  • animations and other forms of visualization can help get across difficult concepts such as the behaviour of particles or cells
  • we can use videos to show experiments and demonstrations that we couldn’t otherwise do.

My own view is that, where possible, we should use videos to supplement rather than replace live demonstrations. However, most science teachers will have had the horrible experience of a demonstration that failed to work and a video back-up is a great way to deal with this. Videos are also a great way to take another look at a demonstration or experiment that you’ve already done without having to set it up again. But we can do even more with science videos – we can use them in the classroom to enthuse, inspire and stimulate debate and we can even help students to make their own videos as a new and exciting way of getting them to engage with the subjects they study.

The web is teeming with free science videos that can brighten up science lessons, making both teaching and learning better and easier. Sadly, there’s no one place you can go to (yet) for all your science teaching needs but I’ll try to post any good videos I come across here on this site. In the meantime, here’s a list of some free video websites and individual videos that you might find useful if you’re a science teacher:

BBC Learning Zone Broadband Class Clips – probably the best site of its sort (and not just because I made a bunch of stuff for it). Curriculum-linked videos and relatively decent search facility.

Moustrap Chain Reaction – Great demonstration model of a nuclear fission chain reaction, also available in slow motion.

The Geiger-Muller Groove – one of my favourite student-made videos, summarising the properties of nuclear radiation. Shows how creative students can be and how video can be used as an innovative teaching tool.

The Stem Cell Debate – Series of short films looking at different aspects of stem cell research. Great resource for students doing coursework on this subject.

Cell Division – why have a diagram when you can see the real thing?

Particle Physics – A history of Particle Physics from the discovery of the electron to the building of the large Hadron Collider. Presented by Prof. Brian Cox. Can be used at KS4 or for A-level Physics.

Richard Feynmann – free videos of the great man’s lectures, thanks to Bill Gates.

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