Showing videos in the classroom can be tricky: While NOVA's documentaries provide vivid examples with beautiful images, many students use this time to take a mental timeout. This can be prevented by treating the video like you would a piece of scientific text. Provide a pre-viewing activity that gives the students a purpose for viewing and an analysis task while watching. For example, ask the students to identify the claim the producers are making. What evidence and reasoning do they provide to support that claim? Some teachers have added pause points to NOVA videos that include questions for students using Edpuzzle. Others have kids view clips or full-length videos as out-of-class assignments, either to preview an upcoming lesson or as the prompt for a blog post or upcoming writing task. It's also possible to let students explore and find content that appeals to them to start a research project.
Teachers will likely want to visit the PBS LearningMedia-sponsored NOVA Education site, which provides teaching guides and resources for each program. Its features for bookmarking and saving favorite videos might be the best, most strategic way for teachers to navigate and use this vast library of resources.Continue reading Show less
NOVA's website both features and supports the acclaimed science television series of the same name. Videos, articles, and interactives are available on topics including Ancient Worlds, Body+Brain, Evolution, Military+Espionage, Nature, Physics+Math, Planet Earth, Space+Flight, and Tech+Engineering. Users are connected to multiple award-winning companion websites, including NOVA Education, NOVA Now, NOVA Labs, NOVA Next, The Nature of Reality, Gross Science, and The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers. While most of these facets are collections of videos and articles that address a central question or topic, NOVA Now is a podcast, and NOVA Labs is a set of interactives that let students explore scientific concepts in a more hands-on way.
The core of this site is its compelling collection of science documentaries, which users can view online via YouTube. The Teacher Video menu can help teachers find videos or short clips that are well suited for classroom use. Documentaries like "Detecting Life on Other Planets" feature leading scientists and their research. Many are linked through PBS LearningMedia, where teachers can save favorite resources on their dashboard.
The NOVA site in its entirety is a vast landscape of resources. No matter the topic you want to address, you can almost certainly find a video or article that applies. Even teachers in other disciplines can find plenty to get discussions going, showcase the blending of history and science, or explore different cultures. But it's the quality of the videos that truly makes NOVA shine.
They are captivating: The level of cinematography and editing ignites wonder in a way a textbook or static photos just can't. Most begin with a clear thesis and are often narrated as a compelling story. Though teaching supports don't run alongside the videos on the main NOVA site, a treasure trove of extensions and supports are available just a few clicks away. Because there is so much to explore, it could get overwhelming for teachers to find exactly what they need. And without solid context and guidance, the videos could just become passive experiences. However, it would be very difficult to find a richer resource for amazing science documentaries about so many relevant topics.
Key Standards Supported
Ratios And Proportional Relationships
Use ratio and rate reasoning to solve real-world and mathematical problems, e.g., by reasoning about tables of equivalent ratios, tape diagrams, double number line diagrams, or equations.
Compute unit rates associated with ratios of fractions, including ratios of lengths, areas and other quantities measured in like or different units. For example, if a person walks 1/2 mile in each 1/4 hour, compute the unit rate as the complex fraction 1/2/1/4 miles per hour, equivalently 2 miles per hour.
Recognize and represent proportional relationships between quantities.
Decide whether two quantities are in a proportional relationship, e.g., by testing for equivalent ratios in a table or graphing on a coordinate plane and observing whether the graph is a straight line through the origin.
Identify the constant of proportionality (unit rate) in tables, graphs, equations, diagrams, and verbal descriptions of proportional relationships.
Represent proportional relationships by equations. For example, if total cost t is proportional to the number n of items purchased at a constant price p, the relationship between the total cost and the number of items can be expressed as t = pn.
Explain what a point (x, y) on the graph of a proportional relationship means in terms of the situation, with special attention to the points (0, 0) and (1, r) where r is the unit rate.
Use proportional relationships to solve multistep ratio and percent problems. Examples: simple interest, tax, markups and markdowns, gratuities and commissions, fees, percent increase and decrease, percent error.
The Number System
Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving the four operations with rational numbers.
Key Standards Supported
Reading Informational Text
Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced.
Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.
Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.
Introduce claim(s) about a topic or issue, acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.
Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.
Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among the claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.
Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences the claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
Key Standards Supported
Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past.
Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms to infer evolutionary relationships.
Analyze displays of pictorial data to compare patterns of similarities in the embryological development across multiple species to identify relationships not evident in the fully formed anatomy.
Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increase some individuals’ probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment.
Gather and synthesize information about the technologies that have changed the way humans influence the inheritance of desired traits in organisms.
Use mathematical representations to support explanations of how natural selection may lead to increases and decreases of specific traits in populations over time.
Communicate scientific information that common ancestry and biological evolution are supported by multiple lines of empirical evidence.
Construct an explanation based on evidence that the process of evolution primarily results from four factors: (1) the potential for a species to increase in number, (2) the heritable genetic variation of individuals in a species due to mutation and sexual reproduction, (3) competition for limited resources, and (4) the proliferation of those organisms that are better able to survive and reproduce in the environment.
Apply concepts of statistics and probability to support explanations that organisms with an advantageous heritable trait tend to increase in proportion to organisms lacking this trait.
Construct an explanation based on evidence for how natural selection leads to adaptation of populations.
Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in: (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species.
Create or revise a simulation to test a solution to mitigate adverse impacts of human activity on biodiversity.
Earth and Human Activity
Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.
Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.
Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.
Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.
Earth’s Place in the Universe
Analyze and interpret data to determine scale properties of objects in the solar system.
Develop a model based on evidence to illustrate the life span of the sun and the role of nuclear fusion in the sun’s core to release energy that eventually reaches Earth in the form of radiation.
Communicate scientific ideas about the way stars, over their life cycle, produce elements.
Evaluate evidence of the past and current movements of continental and oceanic crust and the theory of plate tectonics to explain the ages of crustal rocks.
Apply scientific reasoning and evidence from ancient Earth materials, meteorites, and other planetary surfaces to construct an account of Earth’s formation and early history.
Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth’s materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.
Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales.
Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions.
Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.
Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses results in changes in weather conditions.
Develop and use a model to describe how unequal heating and rotation of the Earth cause patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation that determine regional climates.
Develop a model to illustrate how Earth’s internal and surface processes operate at different spatial and temporal scales to form continental and ocean-floor features.
Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
Develop a model based on evidence of Earth’s interior to describe the cycling of matter by thermal convection.
Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth's systems result in changes in climate.
Plan and conduct an investigation of the properties of water and its effects on Earth materials and surface processes.
Develop a quantitative model to describe the cycling of carbon among the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere.
Construct an argument based on evidence about the simultaneous coevolution of Earth's systems and life on Earth.
Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
Develop a model to describe that when the arrangement of objects interacting at a distance changes, different amounts of potential energy are stored in the system.
Apply scientific principles to design, construct, and test a device that either minimizes or maximizes thermal energy transfer.
Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object.
Develop and use a model of two objects interacting through electric or magnetic fields to illustrate the forces between objects and the changes in energy of the objects due to the interaction.
Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.
Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
Use a computer simulation to model the impact of proposed solutions to a complex real-world problem with numerous criteria and constraints on interactions within and between systems relevant to the problem.
Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
Ask questions to clarify relationships about the role of DNA and chromosomes in coding the instructions for characteristic traits passed from parents to offspring.
Matter and Its Interactions
Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures.
Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.
Gather and make sense of information to describe that synthetic materials come from natural resources and impact society.
Use the periodic table as a model to predict the relative properties of elements based on the patterns of electrons in the outermost energy level of atoms.
Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Apply scientific and engineering ideas to design, evaluate, and refine a device that minimizes the force on a macroscopic object during a collision.
Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer
Integrate qualitative scientific and technical information to support the claim that digitized signals are a more reliable way to encode and transmit information than analog signals.
Use mathematical representations to support a claim regarding relationships among the frequency, wavelength, and speed of waves traveling in various media.
Evaluate questions about the advantages of using a digital transmission and storage of information.
Evaluate the validity and reliability of claims in published materials of the effects that different frequencies of electromagnetic radiation have when absorbed by matter.
Communicate technical information about how some technological devices use the principles of wave behavior and wave interactions with matter to transmit and capture information and energy.