Updated November 2014

Ted-Ed: Social Studies

High-quality video lessons offer context, help kids connect

Subjects & skills
  • Critical Thinking

  • Social Studies
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Ted-Ed's Social Studies section houses a collection of free educational videos and lesson resources that support students' engagement with various social studies topics. Building on Ted's idea of sharing great ideas, the focus of the site is to share great social studies video resources and lessons. Videos range from 3 to 20 minutes and cover topics such as anthropology, civics, and history. Along with each video, there are links to additional resources, discussion questions, and short assessments to check for understanding.

The easiest way to use the site is to show the videos as-is in a whole-class setting, as a supplement to your lessons. However, with a free account, you can build your own original lessons on the site using Ted-Ed's platform and selecting from a wider variety of content, some of which is from other sources. The best videos from this collection are bound to encourage thoughtful discussions among your students; best of all, they're easily integrated into your existing curriculum.

Standout Videos:

  • "The language of lying"
  • "WWII: Why is it so important 70 years later?"
  • "Does your vote count?"
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Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
James D. , Other
I haven't taught a unit that didn't have some TED Ed connection. Great for global issues...

I can't think of a social studies unit that I have taught that did not have a connection to something from TED Ed. The videos are often very challenging, but they are also thought-provoking. Using them in class takes some advance preparation (especially if you are using them with middle and early high school students) to select the right video, perhaps select excerpts, and to prepare discussion items/questions. That said, it can be really worth it as you are essentially bringing engaging speakers who happen to be esteemed experts in their fields.

This is not a place to grab a video to show (and kill class time) on a slow day. This is a site to use with an eye towards extension and deeper understanding.

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