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Best Instructional Videos: Geology

Geology may be a science that moves very slowly, but a number of videos bring the subject to life for students. Education World compiled some great videos that will get kids excited about the topic. For each one, we include a description and grade level. We also note the video’s capacity for engagement (“cool factor”).

The Geology and Formation of the Western Land of U.S.

Source: Despite the odd syntax of its title, this video is produced by the experts at World Earthquakes—a group that tracks earthquake data around the globe.

Grade level:  Sixth grade or higher

Run time:  44:59

Description:  This rather dramatic video shows geology in action—specifically, how the western part of the United States came to look the way it does. Production values are just okay (some of the bigger-ticket entries on this list blow it away visually) but it’s still well done and will hold older students’ attention.

Cool factor: Not as cool as some, but dramatizations of geologic activities add interest.


National Geographic Colliding Continents

Source:  National Geographic

Grade level:  All ages

Run time:  50:05

Description:  This video is a documentary of the Earth’s violent past and the movement of the tectonic plates. It is very well produced and was clearly created with an eye toward both education and entertainment.

Cool factor:  The video offers all the necessary drama to get students excited about Earth’s geologic changes.


Geology Kitchen: What is a Mineral?

Source:  Explorer Multimedia

Grade level:  All ages

Run time:  5:44

Description:  Instead of teaching about geology in a traditional way, this video takes the topic into the kitchen. Hosted by Devin Dennie, “The Hungry Geologist,” the episode focuses on what minerals are and how they can be used in cooking.

Cool factor:  This is a great way to show how science has a place in real life. Since the video is short, it’s a nice way to engage students who might otherwise find geology boring.


Geologic Evolution of North America: 600 Million Years to Present

Source:  IGP

Grade level:  Sixth grade and up

Run time:  3:04

Description:  This video shows how North America as we know it came about geologically. It’s strictly a prop for use while you teach, but in some ways it’s similar to a time-lapse video (like the ones that show a city street from dawn to dusk—except in this case, it’s showing a continent over a few hundred million years).

Cool factor:  What’s actually showing is pretty cool, but the execution is somewhat dull.


Article by Daniel Kline, EducationWorld Contributing Editor
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