Sunday, March 29, 2015

Using Ted-Ed videos to spark inquiry & research in grades 7-12

 I am a huge fan of inquiry- based research. But what if your students haven't been exposed to enough information to spark inquiry? I find that my seventh grade students tend to want to select a topic they know about, rather than explore a new topic for inquiry. In order to give students a sample of all different disciplines, I've started to show Ted-ED videos. These are incredibly engaging  animation shorts that cover a wide variety of topics--psychology, animals, science and technology, medicine, the human brain, and natural phenomena. Since our research & info graphic unit is approaching in seventh grade ELA, I've started to show Ted-Ed videos on Fridays. Students open up their notebooks and begin to write down questions they have about the material presented. So far, this has been a great way to introduce students to new material while facilitating inquiry for research assignments.
So far, students have shared the following questions:

  • "How does the salience network in the brain work?"
  • "How do neuroreceptors work?"
  • "How are memory and problem solving related?"
  • "Are there conditions in which people feel no pain?"
  • "Why is pain tolerance different in people?"
  • "How do elephants communicate?"
  • "Do elephants recognize individuals?"
  • "Do elephants have a culture?"
  • "How can we remove micro plastics from the ocean?"
  • "If plastic is made from natural substances, why is it toxic?"