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Best Instructional Videos: Black Holes

As one of the most powerful objects in the known universe, black holes are the subject of considerable study. black holeTo help explain to students the complex physics behind black holes and separate fact from fiction, EducationWorld has curated the following collection of videos featuring some of the brightest minds in the field discussing these special phenomena.

In addition to a description of each video, we include a suggested grade level and note its capacity for student engagement (“cool factor”).

What is a Black Hole?


The team explores the latest discoveries, missions, trends and futuristic ideas, offering analysis of issues fundamental to our understanding of the universe.

Grade level:  Middle school and high school

Run time:  3:59

Description:  This video gives a basic overview of how black holes impact the space and celestial bodies around it. Viewers will learn about the Schwarzschild Radius, the size of black holes and the fact that they are not observable.

Cool factor:  Moderate. There are plenty of impressive, animated black hole models to keep students’ attention, and the dialogue, for the most part, avoids jargon.

Horizon: Black Holes

Source:  BBC

One of the most respected news agencies in the world, the BBC has won numerous awards for documentary and educational productions.

Grade level:  High school

Run time:  59:07

Description:  Taking a different approach to black hole studies, this program suggests that these mysterious phenomena could be the key to understanding the so-called “Big Bang” and what existed before it. The video introduces viewers to the astronomers attempting to image a black hole for the first time. Also featured are the theoretical physicists getting closer to unlocking their mysteries.

Cool factor:  High. This video not only explains the origins and impacts of black holes with impressive computer models and expert commentary, but it attempts to show how black holes may contain the keys to unraveling the mysteries surrounding the formation of the universe.

The Hunt for a Supermassive Black Hole

Source:  TED

Based on new data from the Keck telescopes, MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” recipient Andrea Ghez offers the latest findings on black holes.

Grade level:  High school

Run time:  16:26

Description:  This is an in-depth examination of black holes’ origins and impacts. Ghez explains how state-of-the-art adaptive optics are helping astronomers understand black holes, and she shares evidence that a supermassive black hole may be lurking at the center of the Milky Way.

Cool factor:  High. TED talks are largely informal, and this one is no exception. To aid viewers’ understanding, the speaker often makes real-world comparisons to the objects associated with black holes.


3 Questions: Black Holes

Source:  Discovery News

Grade level:  Late elementary grades, middle school and high school

Run time:  2:30

Description:  UCLA Astronomy Professor Mark Morris offers a very simple overview of black holes. He uses plain language while maintaining a high academic standard.

Cool factor:  Low. This video is brief and for the most part depicts Dr. Morris speaking in front of an encyclopedia collection. His presentation is, however, informative for a wide audience.


Article by Jason Tomaszewski, EducationWorld Associate Editor
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