TED-Ed: Lessons Worth Sharing

TED-Ed: Lessons Worth Sharing

United States

TED-Ed’s commitment to creating lessons worth sharing is an extension of TED’s mission of spreading great ideas. Within TED-Ed’s growing library of TED-Ed animations, you will find carefully curated educational videos, many of which represent collaborations between talented educators and animators nominated through the TED-Ed website (ed.ted.com).

Episodes

5 tips to improve your critical thinking - Samantha Agoos  

Every day, a sea of decisions stretches before us, and it's impossible to make a perfect choice every time. But there are many ways to improve our chances -- and one particularly effective technique is critical thinking. Samantha Agoos describes a 5-step process that may help you with any number of problems.

Who am I? A philosophical inquiry - Amy Adkins  

Throughout the history of mankind, the subject of identity has sent poets to the blank page, philosophers to the agora and seekers to the oracles. These murky waters of abstract thinking are tricky to navigate, so it’s probably fitting that to demonstrate the complexity, the Greek historian Plutarch used the story of a ship. Amy Adkins illuminates Plutarch’s Ship of Theseus.

Can you solve the frog riddle? - Derek Abbott  

You’re stranded in a rainforest, and you’ve eaten a poisonous mushroom. To save your life, you need an antidote excreted by a certain species of frog. Unfortunately, only the female frog produces the antidote. The male and female look identical, but the male frog has a distinctive croak. Derek Abbott shows how to use conditional probability to make sure you lick the right frog and get out alive.

How fiction can change reality - Jessica Wise  

Reading and stories can be an escape from real life, a window into another world -- but have you ever considered how new fictional experiences might change your perspective on real, everyday life? From Pride and Prejudice to Harry Potter, learn how popular fiction can spark public dialogue and shape culture.

Why do we hiccup? - John Cameron  

The longest recorded case of hiccups lasted for 68 years … and was caused by a falling hog. While that level of severity is extremely uncommon, most of us are no stranger to an occasional case of the hiccups. But what causes these ‘hics’ in the first place? John Cameron takes us into the diaphragm to find out.

The psychology of narcissism - W. Keith Campbell  

Narcissism isn’t just a personality type that shows up in advice columns; it’s actually a set of traits classified and studied by psychologists. But what causes it? And can narcissists improve on their negative traits? W. Keith Campbell describes the psychology behind the elevated and sometimes detrimental self-involvement of narcissists.

What can Schrödinger's cat teach us about quantum mechanics? - Josh Samani  

The classical physics that we encounter in our everyday, macroscopic world is very different from the quantum physics that governs systems on a much smaller scale (like atoms). One great example of quantum physics’ weirdness can be shown in the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment. Josh Samani walks us through this experiment in quantum entanglement.

How to build a fictional world - Kate Messner  

Why is J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy so compelling? How about The Matrix or Harry Potter? What makes these disparate worlds come alive are clear, consistent rules for how people, societies -- and even the laws of physics -- function in these fictional universes. Author Kate Messner offers a few tricks for you, too, to create a world worth exploring in your own words.

Will future spacecraft fit in our pockets? - Dhonam Pemba  

When you picture a rocket, you might imagine a giant ship carrying lots of fuel, people and supplies. But what if the next wave of spacecraft were small enough to fit into our pockets? Dhonam Pemba details the future of microspacecraft, and how scientists at NASA are hoping to use micropropulsion to launch these tiny vessels outside of Earth’s orbit.

How we see color - Colm Kelleher  

There are three types of color receptors in your eye: red, green and blue. But how do we see the amazing kaleidoscope of other colors that make up our world? Colm Kelleher explains how humans can see everything from auburn to aquamarine.

The language of lying - Noah Zandan  

We hear anywhere from 10 to 200 lies a day. And although we've spent much of our history coming up with ways to detect these lies by tracking physiological changes in their tellers, these methods have proved unreliable. Is there a more direct approach? Noah Zandan uses some famous examples of lying to illustrate how we might use communications science to analyze the lies themselves.

Dark matter: The matter we can't see - James Gillies  

The Greeks had a simple and elegant formula for the universe: just earth, fire, wind, and water. Turns out there's more to it than that -- a lot more. Visible matter (and that goes beyond the four Greek elements) comprises only 4% of the universe. CERN scientist James Gillies tells us what accounts for the remaining 96% (dark matter and dark energy) and how we might go about detecting it.

Comma story - Terisa Folaron  

It isn't easy holding complex sentences together (just ask a conjunction or a subordinate), but the clever little comma can help lighten the load. But how to tell when help is really needed? Terisa Folaron offers some tricks of the comma trade.

From the top of the food chain down: Rewilding our world - George Monbiot  

Our planet was once populated by megafauna, big top-of-the-food-chain predators that played their part in balancing our ecosystems. When those megafauna disappear, the result is a "trophic cascade," where every part of the ecosystem reacts to the loss. How can we stay in balance? George Monbiot suggests rewilding: putting wolves, lions and other predators back on top -- with surprising results.

The famously difficult green-eyed logic puzzle - Alex Gendler  

One hundred green-eyed logicians have been imprisoned on an island by a mad dictator. Their only hope for freedom lies in the answer to one famously difficult logic puzzle. Can you solve it? Alex Gendler walks us through this green-eyed riddle.

History vs. Andrew Jackson - James Fester  

Andrew Jackson was both beloved and loathed during his presidency. In this imaginary courtroom, you get to be the jury, considering and weighing Jackson's part in the spoils system, economic depression, and the Indian Removal Act, as well as his patriotism and the pressures of the presidency. James Fester explores how time shapes our relationship to controversial historical figures.

The story behind the Boston Tea Party - Ben Labaree  

In 1776, American colonists were taxed heavily for importing tea from Britain. The colonists, not fans of "taxation without representation", reacted by dumping tea into the Boston Harbor, a night now known as the Boston Tea Party. Ben Labaree gets into the nitty-gritty of that famous revolutionary act.

What is the universe made of? - Dennis Wildfogel  

The atoms around you have existed for billions of years -- and most originated in the flaming, gaseous core of a star. Dennis Wildfogel tells the captivating tale of these atoms' long journeys from the Big Bang to the molecules they form today.

How interpreters juggle two languages at once - Ewandro Magalhaes  

Language is complex, and when abstract or nuanced concepts get lost in translation, the consequences may be catastrophic. Given the complexities of language and cultural exchange, how do these epic miscommunications not happen all the time? Ewandro Magalhaes explains how much of the answer lies with the skill and training of interpreters to overcome language barriers.

Is there a disease that makes us love cats? - Jaap de Roode  

Today, about a third of the world's population is infected with a strange disease called toxoplasmosis -- and most of them never even know it. And while the parasite can multiply in practically any host, it can only reproduce sexually in the intestines of cats. Could this disease be the reason so many people love cats and keep them as pets? Jaap de Roode shares what we know about toxoplasmosis.

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