Online STEM Videos for Kids

Wait. . . . Isn’t this a blog about LGBT parenting? Yes, but sometimes parenting is just parenting—and with a son interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) subjects, this particular LGBT parent spends a lot of time looking for STEM resources. Herewith, some of the sites we’ve been enjoying lately as sources for STEM videos.

Not all of the below are “kids” videos per se, so evaluate them as you feel necessary. Personally, I felt most were appropriate for my nine-year-old—they’re short, fun, and not over-complicated. Not that he understood all of the scientific concepts in them, but he was entertained and sometimes amused, and that’s good enough for me at this point in his life.

  • TED, that fount of interesting talks by interesting people, has launched TED Ed, a site specific to educational videos. They’re heavy on STEM, although they cover humanities and social science topics as well. Each video also has an associated multiple choice quiz and links to related additional resources. The best part of many of these videos is the animation, which keeps my son’s eyes glued to the screen.
  • Bytesize Science, from the American Chemical Society, covers everything from carbon nanotubes to elephant’s toothpaste.
  • Vi Hart describes herself as a “recreational mathemusician,” and her videos are hysterical and captivating, if slightly over-caffeinated. The New York Times ran a piece on her in 2011 which is worth a read. (She majored in music, and never took a college math course.) The NYT also mentioned that when she was a senior in college, Hart “composed and conducted a seven-part musical piece based on the seven Harry Potter books.” That in itself makes her awesome in my mind, never mind the fact that she made a video about mathematical things you can try with Fruit By the Foot.
  • Science 360 from the National Science Foundation has short videos from NSF and scientists around the world. Their Web site has a number of featured videos, but their free iPad app has even more. If you’ve got an iPad, that’s the way to go. My son particularly likes the “Chalk Talk” videos that introduce various concepts. (They go a little fast, IMHO, but you can always pause or replay.)
  • NASA has a wealth of videos, among other resources. (Try the NASA TV iPad app, if that’s how you roll.)
  • Khan Academy has videos on STEM subjects among others, geared mostly for middle- and high-school students. Since my son is younger, we haven’t explored this much ourselves, but there’s a lot there, including assessment tools and badges for accomplishments. (Khan’s app is free on iPad, too.)

Any STEM video sites you like that I haven’t mentioned here? Leave a comment!

Those of you with an interest in STEM subjects and/or libraries may also want to join The Maker Mom tonight for the monthly Twitter STEMchat, this time on  ”Libraries as Makerspaces” (sponsored by the American Library Association). The fun starts at 9 p.m. ET with the hashtag #STEMchat. Details at The Maker Mom.

(For more STEM ideas, see my post on “Free Science iPad Apps for Kids.”)