A topic as broad as the solar system is covered in incredible detail by videos of all types, and Education World has compiled some great ones that will get kids excited about the topic. For each, we include a description and grade level. We also note the video’s capacity for engagement (“cool factor”). Looking for a silly song to get your classroom charged up? Need a serious documentary? Maybe you want a short overview? They all exist, ready for use in your classroom.
The Solar System Song
Grade level: Pre-K through 3
Run time: 4:18
Description: Using charming but low-rent animation, this silly song gives kids a very basic overview of the solar system. The production values may be low, but the song is clever and the information is correct.
Cool factor: It’s not cool, but it’s campy and fun. Older kids might actually enjoy it, too. With over 10,000 plays on YouTube, the song is certainly popular.
Crash Course on Our Solar System and Beyond
Grade level: High school and above
Run time: 48:52
Description: This video has cool graphics, but can be a little dull at times. Despite the numerous scientific concepts thrown around (perhaps too many for one video), this could serve as a good overview for kicking off a unit on the solar system.
Cool factor: The narrator sounds like he’s trying a little too hard, but the video is well done and students shouldn’t be too bored by it.
National Geographic Live! Solar System Exploration: 50 Years
Source: National Geographic
Grade level: 6 through 12
Run Time: 28:41
Description: Offering scientific heavy hitters hosting and appearing in panels, this video pulls out all the stops. High-quality footage includes the first moon landing, and top-notch graphics add appeal.
Cool factor: Very high—at least in a world where Bill Nye (The Science Guy) and his dorky bow tie can be considered cool.
The Solar System HD
Source: Thomas Pickett
Grade level: K through 6
Run Time: 15:58
Description: This slow-moving video set to majestic music includes no narration and simply offers a visual "tour" of the solar system via NASA images.
Cool factor: This video is cooler than the typical dry science program and will help kids slow down enough to appreciate the beauty and wonder of the sun and planets.
Article by Daniel B. Kline, EducationWorld Contributing Editor
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