Life on Mars

It’s surprising how few teachers seem to have heard of the TED Talks. They are, simply, brilliant. More teachers should be “spreading the ideas” in them to their students. I’m going to try and post more videos here that are particularly suitable to the KS4 curriculum. Some of the best talks have no direct link to the curriculum but are nonetheless worth giving up 20 minutes of class time for. I treated one of my Year 10 classes to this talk by Dan Gilbert which shows how science can help us look at things differently, in this case “happiness”. My students liked it so much they were evidently talking about it outside class – I had another class in the same year group ask if I was going to show it to them.

The talk below, about the possibility of life on Mars, is the kind of thing that works really well with a “top set” science class. At 20 minutes, it may seem too long for classroom use, but I’ve found that the TED speakers can hold the attention of a Year 10 class. Moreover, my students seem to appreciate being treated to “grown-up” stuff like this – the fact that the talks are aimed at adults mean they lack the patronising qualities of much of the stuff that is produced specifically for students. Trust me, your students will thank you for introducing them to these talks.

My final tip for using these videos is to make use of the fact that TED allow you to download and save the files – thus avoiding any internet related problems when showing them in class.

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