A generation ago, teachers delivered lectures at the front of the class and developed rigid lesson plans designed to cover what they considered to be important. Today, U.S. governors and education experts are holding teachers and children to a higher standard. Students' attention spans have been whittled down to almost nothing due to the fast-paced nature of entertainment. Although teachers have to face many challenges, there are some tools that can help them do their job. Educational TV shows are a great way to discuss various topics in science, technology and engineering, and could be the key to unlocking children's curiosity. If you plan on entering a career in teaching, here are a few educational TV shows that you can integrate into your curriculum:
Cosmos is one of the most talked about educational shows on television today. Hosted and narrated by the preeminent scholar and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, "Cosmos" takes viewers on a journey through space, visiting alien worlds, massive stars and unexplored galaxies.
Produced in 2006, "Planet Earth" features the most stunning high-definition video footage of the animal kingdom. In each of the series's hour-long episodes, narrators David Attenborough and Sigourney Weaver cover one biome or habitat of Earth. The series discusses deserts, plains, fresh water lakes, polar tundras, mountains, seas, oceans and forest regions. While in each geographical area, the narrators discuss the indigenous plants and animals, and how each one plays a crucial role in its ecosystem.
Hosted by special effects experts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, "MythBusters" uses the scientific method to debunk or prove urban legends. Some of the most memorable "MythBusters" episodes include finding out which method is best for dispatching zombies, where to hide in the event of an earthquake, and if motorcycling across water is possible.
Taking audiences to manufacturing plants, farms and mills around the world, "How It's Made" shows how things like toilet paper, ice cream sandwiches, bubble gum and other common items are created from raw materials. The show does not water down its language, which holds the attention of older elementary school students.
What would you add to the list? Also, be sure to check out our article, "Teaching Strategies for Using Educational Television in the Classroom."