Updated October 2014

Ted-Ed: The Arts

Fun, fascinating video lessons connect content across disciplines

Learning rating
Not yet reviewed Editorial review by Common Sense Education
Community rating
Based on 2 reviews
Privacy rating
57%| Warning Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Subjects & Skills
Arts, Math, Social Studies, Creativity

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More than 60 video-based lessons span three areas -- Visual Arts, Performing Arts, and Value of the Arts. As with other Ted-Ed categories, the pre-made lessons include a video, questions, and links to related info, but can also be customized. In true TED fashion, the videos are bound to open eyes and spur conversation. Although most content is appropriate for middle or high school students, you'd be wise to preview any resources beforehand. A few clips, like “How to read music,” could be used with younger kids. 

There are plenty of STEM/STEAM connections (music meets math, science in photography) as well as ties to the humanities (Kabuki, Shakespearean insults). However, you'll need to hunt a bit to find these titles. Middle school teams especially will love weaving content across classes. Music teachers can introduce some advanced topics (see “A different way to visualize rhythm”). Of course, art teachers will embrace such creative how-to’s as making pop-up books and taking pictures, as well as blow-your-mind extensions like the “Taking imagination seriously” lesson. Standouts include "How playing an instrument benefits your brain," "How to read music," and "Is there a difference between art and craft?"

Full Disclosure: TED-Ed and Common Sense Education share a funder; however, that relationship does not impact Common Sense Education's editorial independence and this learning rating.

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Featured review by
Donald P. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Great start of videos, but need more.
This is a great start of what can be done with TED videos but there are unfortunately very few video choices here and some of the most famous TED talks on the arts are noticeably absent (including Phil Hansen's 'Embrace the Shake' and Sir Ken Robinson's 'How Schools Kill Creativity'. The videos that are here are great choices as 'starters' for lessons and deeper discussions about the arts for both students and teacher.
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