Back in the good old days of chalk talk and overheads, I took a certain pride in my geography diagrams of convergent and divergent plates and the global circulation model. In fact, I still use the whiteboard and coloured markers today for these same concepts.
However, I also recognize that the internet, with it’s power to diffuse ideas and materials, has some great resources online. That’s not to say there isn’t a lot (and I mean a lot!) of junk out there! So, as a classroom teacher, I am constantly on the lookout for short videos and animations that grab the attention of my students and explain a concept – ideal for the regular classroom and the flipped classroom.
For my purposes, visuals need to be short and to-the-point. Gone are the days of 45-minute film-strips and movies. Even back when I was in school watching them, I don’t think our attention spans were that much better than kids today. I look at those movies now and think – wow – there is a lot of (boring) filler in there! (Cue the sappy, melodramatic music!)
So, when I find a concept like MinuteEarth, I’m ecstatic. As they say on their Facebook page:
Science and stories about our awesome planet! On Youtube.
Their animated videos are two to three minutes in length, with thoughtful animations and visuals that are clearly articulated to allow students to easily understand them. What a great combination. Head over to YouTube and start discovering. And, if you really like their work and can afford to help them out, check out their Patreon page.