I don’t know about you, but podcasts are one of my absolute FAVORITE ways to consume news and information! A great podcast is packed with valuable learning while still grabbing the attention and entertaining the listener. It’s no wonder podcast listening has skyrocketed in the last five years! If we as adults enjoy podcast listening, it’s no stretch to believe that kids listen and enjoy them too! If you are looking for a fun way to spice up your science instruction, here are some great science podcasts to use with students!
How To Use Podcasts With Your Students:
There are many different ways to incorporate your favorite podcasts into your science instruction. These interesting shows offer a little something different when you need to mix things up a bit! Here are a few of my favorite ways to use science podcasts with students!
Choice Board Option
I am a HUGE fan of using choice menus in my classroom! These are great to have on hand for fast finishers or days when you need to take a break from your normal, everyday routine. (Think the day after a unit exam or a day with shortened class periods.) Listening to a science podcast makes a great option for a choice menu.
Do you use rotational learning stations in your classroom? If so, consider adding podcast listening to some of your rotations! With a tech device (computer, iPad, or perhaps a cell phone) and a pair of headphones, students will be ready to listen! I also recommend creating a reflection question or two, just to be sure they stay focused.
Whole Group discussion
Occasionally, it can be nice to take some time for whole group listening and discussion. When everyone listens to a podcast episode together, this allows you as the teacher to pause periodically for discussion or reflection questions or to add some related instruction.
Where To Get Podcasts:
While some podcasts have their own website, nearly all science podcasts can be accessed through any major podcast platform. These include Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, and Acast. If you are setting your students up to listen individually, you can find the podcast episode link you’d like your students to use and post it to Google Classroom or whatever digital platform you use.
Science Podcasts To Use With Students:
If you ever listened to and enjoyed the exciting Ologies podcast, you’ll be delighted to learn that creator Alie Ward has developed a classroom-friendly version called Smologies. Each episode is dedicated to a particular topic that will grab at your students’ interest and foster a true love of science. With topics ranging from snails and slugs to aliens, this podcast has something for everyone.
What if you could take a masterclass in just thirty minutes or less? Well, you can! The Instant Genius audio podcast unpacks a wide variety of science topics that are sure to be a hit within your science classroom. Each unique episode features expert commentary on all sorts of fascinating topics, such as gravity, meteorites, and the intelligence of bees. (Yes, it is possible to measure the “smartness” of an insect.)
With two new episodes airing each week, there truly is something for everyone! Whether you are teaching earth science, physical science, life science, you’ll be sure to find some available episodes that support your curriculum and appeal to your middle school students.
Alright, so this one isn’t a true podcast, but rather, a YouTube channel. That being said, I still think it’s worth mentioning on this list! <ADD MORE> Veritasium is created and hosted by Dr. Derek Muller. Dr. Muller brings years of experience working in broadcasting (including a Bill Nye special) and has even won awards for a few of his documentaries.
So, yes, these aren’t your run-of-the-mill, amateur YouTube videos, but instead are expertly produced mini-documentaries that will grab the attention of science teachers and curious kids alike. A few of my personal favorites include:
- How Electricity Actually Works
- How Horses Save Humans from Snake Bites
- The Physics Question I Needed A Helicopter To Solve
Piqued your interest? It’ll do the same for your students! Give these amazing videos a watch…your students will thank you!
This NPR podcast is focused on the science of current events. In each podcast episode, host Emily Kwong shares new science discoveries and unpacks the science behind the headlines affecting daily American life. Recent episodes, for example, take a look at the impact of high temperatures being felt as we close out the summer months and concerns relating to Ukraine’s nuclear plant. With a new episode being aired each weekday, this podcast is packed with engaging content! It will make a great addition to your science teaching this year.
Another National Public Radio favorite, Skunk Bear is a science video YouTube channel. With most videos being less than 5 minutes in total length, Skunk Bear is a great way to grab your students’ interest, in short, bite-sized chunks. Each video presents a new topic that will get your students critically thinking about topics such as:
If your science education curriculum plans include geologic or evolutionary history, this podcast is for you! Eons: Mysteries of Deep Time takes a focused look at the history of life on earth. Each episode explores a different topic, such as “What was the first dinosaur?” and “Extinct Human Species.” This PBS podcast is part history show, part science exploration. It’s one you and your student do not want to miss!
This interesting podcast shares some lesser-known stories about huge achievements in science and technology. From the invention of the cell phone to the science behind Fitbit’s sleep tracking capabilities, each episode is a golden nugget of STEM content that your students are sure to love.
This podcast is tailor-made just for (you guessed it) KIDS!! Each episode answers specific questions kids have about science topics. Podcast host, Dan, is often joined by experts as they unpack these questions in an understandable and engaging way. This fun science show is perfect for a younger listening audience.
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