Think time spent on YouTube is all homework distraction? That may not be the case. Here are some top YouTube channels that can give your teen an academic edge when it comes to math, science, world events and more.
YouTube Channel #1: Food for Thought
Hardly needing an introduction, TED’s award-winning education offshoot TED-ed is geared toward inspiring students around the world. With a network of over 25,000 teachers across the globe, TED-Ed strives to feed viewers’ curiosity. The channel’s animated videos are collaborations between experts in various fields, including the arts, natural sciences, history and technology. Videos range from topics like “Why Should You Read ‘Macbeth’?” “Why is it so hard to cure cancer?” and “The Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall.” TED-ed’s videos are brilliantly crafted, unpacking complex or potentially boring concepts and making them extremely engaging. Through striking visuals and expert commentary, Ted-ed’s videos take learning to the next level. Everyone can benefit from exploring this channel.
YouTube Channel #2: Offbeat Science
Ever wonder about man-eating lions, or what relationship advice you can learn from ants? Brain Scoop has you covered. An affiliate of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Brain Scoop is hosted by Emily Graslie, the museum’s Chief Curiosity Correspondent. The channel dives into a variety of scientific topics, including the features of different organisms, evolution, and emerging discoveries. The channel has the Field Museum’s resources at its disposal, so it often features interviews with scientist connected to the museum, as well as footage of on-site artifacts and specimens. Yes, some of the footage is graphic, but viewers are warned beforehand with the channel’s “Grossometer.” (If parents have YouTube Restricted Mode enabled, these will be edited out, as will comments.) Brain Scoop’s content is refreshingly unique, and Emily’s fun, goofy demeanor makes her a great host. She also offers a regular “Ask Emily” series, where viewers can pose specific questions and have them answered.
YouTube Channel #3: World Class Updates
With content ranging from current events, human rights, climate change and more, the UN’s YouTube channel brings to light various phenomena and key players around the world. It encourages students to start thinking like adults, with videos such as “Nuclear Power in the 21st Century,” “Over 1 million Central Africans are displaced,” and interviews with current UN Youth Delegates. The UN’s TV website (webtv.un.org) offers additional material, with daily coverage of UN Meetings in six different languages. This includes footage from the Security Council, General Assembly, Human Rights Council, etc. This channel is great for students in Model UN, those considering a future in Global Affairs, or anyone interested in the cutting-edge conversation around peacemaking and improving the world we live in.
YouTube Channel #4: RX for Flashcard Fatigue
Geared toward students who are bored by traditional textbooks and flashcards, YouTube Channel Kenhub strives to make fun and comprehensive tutorials about the human body and medical field. Utilizing high-quality animation and real-life footage, videos range from specific body parts to the role that anatomy plays in art. In additional to video lessons, Kenhub offers quizzes, articles and an interactive diagram of human anatomy. It’s a great resource for students who are enrolled in an anatomy course, interested in pursing a career in the medical field, or simply intrigued by the human body.
YouTube Channel #5: Advanced Math Hacks
While it’s not the most exciting YouTube Channel, WOWmath is a comprehensive math resource for high school students. Using Smart Board-like visuals, the narrator utilizes various colors and graphs, writing out the problems as he works through them. Videos tackle the entire curriculum of AP Calculus AB, Algebra 1 and 2 for the old California Math Standards, and Algebra 2 for the Common Core Standards. It also includes tutorials for Integrated Math 3 for the Common Core Curriculum. In this way, the channel is accessible to students at varying math levels, and they can easily find the video that relates to what they’re learning in the classroom at that given moment.
YouTube Channel #6: Inspiration Station
A product of RadicalMedia, THNKR is a highly acclaimed digital storytelling platform dedicated to expanding our minds. Told through human stories, the channel seeks to provide smart entertainment and empower its viewers. Its four different series—Bookd, Epiphany, Podium and Prodigies—showcase topics ranging from literature to innovation to the importance of conversation. The series Prodigies is particularly applicable to students, as it highlights the stories of incredibly bright young people. From Maira Kalman’s portraits to a prodigy teen cellist, from things you can learn from a gangster to an interview with Cory Booker—THNKR’s videos are consistently beautiful, relevant, and full of compassion and inquisition.
YouTube Channel #7: Fast-Paced Math With Pop Culture Addition
Patrick JMT’s videos are geared toward the more advanced math student, but they manage to keep lessons lighthearted and engaging. From diving into Math Proofs to graphing trigonometric functions, Patrick JMT’s videos are easy to follow yet go beyond what is taught in the classroom (and are relatively fast-paced). Bringing in examples of pop culture and current events, the channel includes videos like solving the “Two Door Puzzle” from ‘The Labyrinth’” and “Gerrymandering: Mathematically Gaming the System.” Host Patrick holds an MA in mathematics and has extensive experience teaching and tutoring math. His passion for the subject is infectious and encourages students to think on a more advanced level. It’s great for high schoolers who are fascinated by math and want to start working with real-world applications.
YouTube Channel #8: Making Complex Science Accessible
Having 20 years of experience teaching science in Montana, Bozeman Science host Paul Anderson encourages us to ponder big scientific questions and their implications. His videos cover topics in Anatomy and Physiology, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Earth and Environmental Science—making it a great supplement for a variety of high school classes. Bozeman Science also has playlists dedicated to specific AP classes. Anderson’s teaching experience is reflected in his clear and concise explanations, as well as his videos’ creative spin on explaining complex scientific topics. He excels at addressing subjects taught in the classroom and applying it to the real world.