Veritasium in the Modeling Classroom


When I was a novice modeler I was constantly searching for quality online video resources to share with my students.  I quickly discovered that YouTube was rife with explanatory science videos, but I had a hard time finding ones that fit with my classroom culture. 

Modeling InstructionTM is specifically designed so students construct meaning without being told what to think and I needed videos that aligned with this philosophy.  That’s when I ran across this TedEd talk with Dr. Derek Muller.

Go ahead, watch it.  It’s worth it.  I’ll wait.

While watching this I actually found myself emphatically shaking my head in agreement with Dr. Muller.  I might have even shouted, “YES!” at the screen.  He described the need to have students voice misconceptions and engage in social interaction – this is what we do during our whiteboarding sessions!  I went to his YouTube Chanel, Veritasium, and started searching through his videos. 

Here are some of my favorites aligned with the units in Chemistry Modeling InstructionTM:

Unit 1

Atomic Theory:  The very first Veritasium Video!

Unit 2

States of Matter:  Illustrates how states of matter differ at the particle level

Supercooled Water:  Explains the phenomenon and replicates the experiment where water freezes almost instantaneoulsy

World's Longest Verticle Straw:  Explains how and why a straw works!

Unit 3

Misconceptions about Temperature: Derek compares temperatures of metal and non-metal objects

Misconceptions about Heat:  A follow up to the previous video

Unit 6

Cathode Ray Tubes Lead to the Thomson Model:  Derek recreates the cathode ray experiment


Thomson's Plum Pudding Model:  The first model with subatomic structure is proposed

And then just for fun - here's a video about Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle.  I don't get to teach this in my first year course, but I show it in my advanced class.

I know many of you are already using Veritasium in your classrooms.  What are your favorite videos?






Publication information
Pick Attribution: 

Dr. Derek Muller

Publication Date: 
Monday, October 19, 2015
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Comments 1

Dan Meyers's picture
Dan Meyers | Mon, 11/16/2015 - 09:19

This has a lot of relevant concepts that we go over in class. I will begin a blended learning pilot program next month with 9 other high school teachers in my district. I wonder how these will fit in better.