Attention, teachers, fall has officially arrived! You may have already seen leaves changing and students rushing back to school in flannel and sweaters, so, in honor of the season, we’ve gathered a list of five engaging educational videos you can use in the classroom, or mine for inspiration for any other lesson plans you might have in the works. We hope these videos can help keep classrooms warm and vibrant from now until the chillier days in November and beyond!
Why do leaves change color?
It’s the simplest question we could think of for the season, and we found the answer in a video produced by the Untamed Science team! It all comes back to pigments and chemistry.
This is Dan, a 16-year-old who lost his hearing
And his story is not a bad choice to watch in class during Deaf Awareness Week (9/21–9/25). The United Kingdom’s National Deaf Children’s Society (which produced the video on Dan as well as others) has some excellent resources and even lesson plans for raising awareness among hearing students.
Bill Nye and why seasons change
Bill Nye the Science Guy—who still campaigns for science education, by the way—talked this through as part of his popular ’90s television show. The first 90 seconds of this clip, describing the importance of the Earth’s axis and tilt, still amount to one of most engaging, fun, and endearingly goofy explanations of the phenomenon we could find—and he does it with leaves on his head for most of the segment.
How the Electoral College works
Before we know it, October will be over and Election Day will have arrived! Even though the newest president won’t be decided this coming November, the lead-up to Election Day can still provide an opportunity to bring up civic engagement, history, and Schoolhouse Rock videos like this one and the Preamble (covered by Stephen Colbert).
Just for fun: Charlie Brown and that football
How could we leave this favorite off the list? There are plenty of classic Peanuts specials on YouTube and elsewhere on the Internet. Over 50 years after Charles M. Schulz created the strip, these specials are still universally beloved and air near holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving. Plus: A new Peanuts film comes out November 6, so—while we wouldn’t call them strictly academic—videos like these serve as a timely treat, and with football and the holidays on the horizon, this is the perfect season for them.