If you are a middle school teacher, then you may have noticed that middle school-aged kids have a very short attention span. In my classroom, I try to “change gears” often to keep the kids engaged and interested. In my 50 to 60 minute class, I try to have at least 4 or 5 different activities to do. I use short, interesting videos to introduce a topic. Middle school-age kids pretend to be so cool, but they enjoy silly animated videos, and I am more than pleased to offer them. Here are a few of my favorite science channels.
This biology channel has been around for awhile. The two sisters who produce it have developed the channel over the past 10 years or so, which is reflected in the style and sophistication of the animation. My students will notice which episodes are the older ones (the animation is not as well drawn), but the variety of videos is amazing!
Many of the videos also have worksheets that go along with them that you can download and assign. Enjoy some time with Pinky and Petunia if you are teaching any life science or genetics!
They are constantly adding to the playlist and updating videos, so keep checking back. The kids will also enjoy a comic site from the same team.
2. ASAP Science
These two guys are very talented singers and do some amazing parodies for science. Make sure you preview the videos—there are a few lines that might be considered slightly risque. Often the inference goes over the heads of most of the kids, but sometimes I will see eyes widening.
My favorites by these guys are:
Science Wars– a Star Wars parody of the branches of science.
Lab Rules– a Dua Lipa parody for beginning of the year.
Take a look at their options – edgy, but the kids love them.
Middle school students write these parodies, and you can find all disciplines from fossils to body systems to genetics. My favorite is Phenotype for genetics. The kids laugh at the mom and the dad dancing in the video, and you have never seen eyes bluer than the lead singer kid.
Not a YouTube channel, but my students have always liked Studyjams from Scholastic. These are short 3-minute science animations (in the style of Brainpop) with related quizzes. Often there are karaokes that go with them. My favorite karaoke one is the rock cycle.
This channel also features silly animations, but the range of science disciplines it covers never ceases to impress. The kids love that his mustache is also his hands!
Here is another one that makes them laugh – the cheesier the better for middle school kids. These videos also have accompanying activities on the website.
These videos range in length, from 4 to 10 minutes on many science areas. Sometimes they can go a bit deeper into a topic, so I often will edit them to show across 2 days so as not to overwhelm them.
NASA prepares and hosts many environmental/weather videos.
This channel posts clips from everyone’s favorite Discovery shows with everything from Shark Week to Mythbusters!
10. Ted-Ed Channel
Bringing TED talks into the classroom, this channel has anything you want to know, plus great riddles to challenge kids with extra time.
Another channel with many choices— life, physical and earth science are all in there!
Kids really enjoy this series of musical lectures. The words are there as well, so they can learn from them. My favorite is the Cells Song.
These are amazing videos mainly for physical science.
A few I would recommend are:
UpsideDown InsideOut – They shot this in an airplane at zero gravity—- so much fun! When I was in Seattle at the Boeing factory, this was playing on the screen of one of the airplanes on display.
Needing Getting– all about sound in this one.
This channel has some great science tunes that the kids enjoy.
Some of my favorites are:
This channel features some great song parodies for all science topics.
What YouTube videos do you use in your science classroom?