Making science fun: A science teacher’s top five favorite TED-Ed lessons


Kim Preshoff, longtime science educator and enthusiast at Williamsville North High School located in Upstate New York, explained the impetus behind using TED-Ed Lessons in both of her environmental science classrooms daily. We sat down with Kim at TEDActive 2014 to ask her about the lessons she uses most – and what she loves about them as a tool to educate.


Juan D. Martinez’s TEDYouth talk Detention or Eco Club: Choosing your future is a favorite of Kim’s to kick off the school year. It tells an inspiring story of a young man growing up around gangs in South Central Los Angeles. Kim hopes that the lesson can inspire her classes to understand how the environment can change lives.



Kim has used Matthew Ross’s lesson Vermicomposting: How worms can reduce our waste in conjunction with a unit on soil quality and its impact on farming and agriculture. This lesson particularly connected to one of her students whose family owns a farm.



Kim’s school is lucky enough to house a planetarium, so she was thrilled to connect David Laskin’s lesson Tracking grizzly bears from space with her students’ real-life experience.



Some of the lessons Kim uses teach a particular fact, while others focus on an attitude she’d like to impart to her students. Kim loves using David Gallo’s Deep ocean mysteries and wonders to celebrate the latter. “[My students] think everything has been discovered,” Kim shared, but even an expert like David Gallo finds such joy in knowing that there’s still something worth exploring and discovering. His joy for science is infectious.



Though Kim is currently teaching environmental science, above all she just loves science, having taught earth science, biology, and chemistry in past years. Kim’s personal favorite TED-Ed Lesson as a science lover? That would be Leslie Kenna’s The brilliance of bioluminescence.


  1. Cindy Henry

    I wish all teachers were this passionate about their lessons. Her students are very lucky to have a teacher that’s so excited about learning.

  2. Congrats to Kim. I have recently discovered TED-ed lessons and I think that it is an amazing tool of making your teaching attractive.
    Keep walking…!!!

  3. Heather T

    These are awesome – I love that you teach your kids there is always more to learn about the world we live in!

    • rick bubar

      Kim has an incredible way of making learning enjoyable and also make it pertain to real life through her own experiences. Sharing is caring and she shares her experiences everyday.

  4. Kelly Moore

    I consider myself very lucky to be able to work with an educator as passionate as Kim and I have learned a lot from her in the 2 short years I have been teaching Environmental Science. She is very dedicated to her profession and truly cares about kids and the environment.

  5. S. Grossman

    How nice to see Kim Preshoff’s comments in this blog! She is loved and respected by her students for her contagious passion for all things science and her quick wit. In the TED Ed spirit, she is a true collaborator and master teacher who engages all of her students in learning.

  6. Lee Ferenc

    What a true “agent of change” as a teacher and activist. She has inspired many with her environmentalist ideals and continues to instill “green and organic” values among her students. Glad that Ted has noticed and recognized a true teacher from the begining.

  7. Kim has invented several lessons for her students that we conduct in the planetarium (of which I am the Director). Her creativity and determination are remarkable! Her students are really lucky to have such a great teacher.

  8. Ashley Maxwell

    Jessica, thanks for your comment about how science lessons should be fun and interactive. I like how you said that when a teacher is enthusiastic about science, the kids become more excited to learn. My husband and I are looking into STEM assemblies that our son can go to at an elementary school to start enjoying learning.

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