5 brainiac brain facts (illustrated by TED-Ed GIFs)


The brain is an incredible organ; its complex networks are responsible for everything from determining attraction to detecting pain. It’s also extremely GIF-able. Enjoy these five brain facts, coupled with beautifully animated GIFs from some of TED-Ed’s favorite animators.

School’s back! TED-Ed staff’s favorite back to school traditions


Whether you’re a nervous student entering elementary school for the the first time or a veteran educator who has been teaching for decades, the first day back to school after summer break is always an adventure. In honor of all those schools heading back into session this month, we asked TED-Ed staff members to recount their favorite back to school ritual and to share an animated GIF that best describes the range of emotions they felt as they packed up for their first day back in class.

5 TED-Ed Lessons to use in your American History classroom


Carla Staffa, Burnsville Senior High School American history teacher (and all-around rockstar), uses TED-Ed Lessons in her classroom to supplement her curriculum, start conversation and spark curiosity. We caught up with Carla to find out which lessons she uses the most and what she hopes her students take away from each one.

8 things TED learned from our high school interns


From back row, clockwise: Tayler Blevins, Yaya Ly, Lucas Feuser, Franz Palomares, Iman Francis and Cedric Paul discuss animation

This summer, TED-Ed hosted five student interns from high schools around New York City. These interns, ranging from sophomores to seniors, helped us in our daily work and also joined workshops where they had the opportunity to ask different members of the TED staff about their jobs. Within each workshop, we also assigned them a small project. While the team’s expectation might have been that we would be ‘teaching’ these high school students, we quickly realized that they had just as much to teach us! Below are eight lessons the TED staff learned from our high school interns.

CERN scientists simplify space-time in 3 short videos

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 4.06.03 PM

Space is where things happen. Time is when things happen. And sometimes, in order to really look at the universe, you need to take those two concepts and mash them together. Space-time is a pretty confounding subject to wrap one’s head around, though, so we asked CERN scientists (and all-around super nerds) Andrew Pontzen and Tom Whyntie to break it down for us. Below, the full three-part series, complete with black holes, space-time diagrams and a load of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff.

TED-Ed Club Facilitator on student individuality, academic freedom and global connection


As we round out our first semester of TED-Ed Clubs, we wanted to know the answer to one big question: how are they going? So the TED-Ed Blog invited facilitators to share their experiences in this column, “TED-Ed Club Facilitators in the Field.” Below, thoughts from Jimmy Juliano, a teacher at Daniel Wright Junior High School who ran his first TED-Ed Club last spring. Look for more updates like this one in the weeks to follow.

What makes a hero? 3 TED-Ed Lessons about fiction’s finest figures


The hero is one of our most ancient and beloved literary character types. Heroes come in many shapes and sizes, from the classic, godlike Beowulf to the modern, more human Katniss Everdeen. Be they epic, tragic, romantic (or even an anti-hero), these characters can tell us a lot about ourselves and the world we inhabit. Check out these three TED-Ed Lessons that investigate the history and breadth of heroism, and ponder the question: what makes a hero … a hero?

6-time TED Speaker gives presentation advice at TED-Ed Club Workshop

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.47.17 PM

Does public speaking make you anxious? If the mere thought of giving a presentation makes your hands sweat and your heart rate increase, don’t worry, you’re not alone! Many TED Speakers have stage fright — and some have even come up with a few tricks on how you might tackle it. In this TED-Ed Club Workshop, six-time TED Speaker Rives provides a few tips, tricks and cheats on preparing a presentation for those TED-Ed Club Members who are about to present their own big ideas for the first time.

The brilliance of bioluminescence: A TED-Ed Lesson and TED Talk pairing


Did you know that there are animals that can actually create their own light? You’ve probably noticed this bioluminescence in the fireflies that might light up a park on a summer night. But there are also a lot of glowing fish and other sea creatures that hang out in the deepest, darkest depths of the ocean that use their luminous powers for survival, hunting and mating. In this TED-Ed blog series, we pair short, informative TED-Ed Lessons with longer, more in-depth TED Talks on the same subject. Today we ask the question: Which animals light up our curiosity?

How tsunamis work (in animated GIFs)


Alex Gendler’s TED-Ed Lesson “How tsunamis work” gives a thorough introduction to the towering terror of tsunamis, offering a comprehensive look at the history and science behind these swells. Here, we’ve broken down how these waves form in a series of animated GIFs.