In my quest to continually find engaging and innovative resources for educators, I’ve delved into the world of TED Talks once again, this time focusing on the fascinating intersection of STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. For math teachers and STEAM educators, these talks are a goldmine of inspiration and ideas. They offer a plethora of perspectives, from the artistry in science to the magic of mathematics, making them perfect for sparking a love of learning in students.

Whether you’re looking to invigorate your teaching approach or find new ways to engage your students in STEAM subjects, these talks, curated from TED playlists, are sure to enrich your classroom discussions and teaching practices.

Related: Best Math TED Talks for Teachers and Students

TED Talks on STEAM Education

Here is our list featuring some of the best TED Talks on STEAM education:

1. How I teach kids to love science, Cesar Harada

At the Harbour School in Hong Kong, Cesar Harada, a TED Senior Fellow, is revolutionizing science education. He has transformed his classroom into an expansive industrial space where students engage hands-on with materials like wood, metal, and optics. Here, kids don’t just learn about environmental science; they actively invent solutions for oceanic preservation. Harada’s philosophy, rooted in the principle of learning through making (and cleaning up one’s messes), is nurturing a new generation of passionate environmentalists.

2. A delightful way to teach kids about computers, Linda Liukas

Linda Liukas envisions a world where computer coding is a universal language accessible to children. In her talk, she reframes the perception of computers from complex, mechanical devices to creative, expressive tools ripe for exploration. Liukas advocates for a more colorful, imaginative approach to teaching coding, aiming to inspire children to become the innovative programmers of tomorrow, embodying the spirit of pioneers like Ada Lovelace.

3. Hands-on science with squishy circuits, AnnMarie Thomas

AnnMarie Thomas introduces an electrifying way to learn about circuits with “squishy circuits” made from homemade play dough. In her lively demonstration, she shows how this simple, playful approach can teach children about electrical properties. By using dough to light up LEDs and power motors, Thomas turns young learners into budding circuit designers, making science both fun and accessible.

4. Life lessons through tinkering, Gever Tulley

Gever Tulley, the founder of Tinkering School, shares the profound learning experiences children gain through tinkering. He illustrates how, with access to tools, materials, and a little guidance, kids can unleash their creativity and problem-solving skills, building everything from boats to roller coasters. Tulley’s approach emphasizes the value of hands-on learning and the power of imagination in fostering innovation and critical thinking.

5. Teach teachers how to create magic, Christopher Emdin

Christopher Emdin, a science advocate and educator, reveals the secret to captivating and effective teaching. Drawing parallels between classrooms and the dynamic environments of rap shows, barbershops, and churches, Emdin highlights the importance of engagement and storytelling in education. His vision is to empower educators to create a magical, relatable, and thrilling learning environment, transforming the way students experience science.

6. Psychedelic science, Fabian Oefner

Fabian Oefner, a Swiss artist and photographer, brings together art and science in a mesmerizing display of psychedelic imagery. He demonstrates how everyday scientific phenomena, like the interaction of crystals with soundwaves or the mixture of paint with magnetic liquid, can create stunning visual art. Oefner’s work is a vibrant testament to the beauty of scientific exploration and its artistic potential.

7. Math class needs a makeover, Dan Meyer

Dan Meyer challenges the conventional approach to math education that emphasizes rote learning and formulaic problem-solving. He argues that current math curricula deprive students of an essential skill: the ability to formulate problems. Meyer advocates for a radical change in teaching methods, proposing engaging, real-world exercises that encourage students to think critically and creatively about mathematics.

8. Do schools kill creativity?, Sir Ken Robinson

In a profoundly impactful talk, Sir Ken Robinson makes a compelling case for an educational system that fosters rather than inhibits creativity. He argues that current educational models, which prioritize academic achievement and conformity, stifle the creative potential inherent in every child. Robinson’s vision is for a transformation in education that cultivates creativity and acknowledges multiple types of intelligence.

9. How games make kids smarter, Gabe Zichermann

Gabe Zichermann explores the surprising benefits of video gaming, arguing that gameplay can enhance problem-solving skills and cognitive abilities in children. He suggests that the skills developed through gaming, such as strategic thinking and multit

10. How algorithms shape our world, Kevin Slavin

Kevin Slavin delves into the pervasive and often unseen influence of algorithms in our daily lives. From stock market fluctuations to espionage strategies, and even the selection of movies we watch, he illustrates how algorithms are making critical decisions on our behalf. Slavin raises important questions about our reliance on these complex systems and the point at which we might lose control over them, highlighting the profound impact of algorithms in shaping our world.

11. The magic of Fibonacci numbers, Arthur Benjamin

Arthur Benjamin, also known as the “mathemagician,” brings to life the fascinating world of the Fibonacci series in this engaging talk. He explores the intriguing properties of this famous sequence of numbers and demonstrates how they appear unexpectedly in various aspects of nature, art, and life. Benjamin’s presentation is a reminder of the beauty and inspiration that mathematics, often perceived as purely logical and functional, can offer.

12. Why I fell in love with monster prime numbers, Adam Spencer

Adam Spencer, a comedian and mathematics enthusiast, shares his fascination with “monster” prime numbers – extraordinarily long numbers that are only divisible by themselves and one. His talk is a journey into the world of these massive numbers, exploring the challenges and excitement involved in discovering new prime numbers. Spencer’s enthusiasm and humor make a seemingly esoteric topic accessible and engaging, revealing the captivating nature of mathematical exploration.

Final thoughts

To wrap up, these TED Talks are more than just presentations; they’re gateways to reimagining STEAM education. Each speaker brings a unique blend of expertise, creativity, and passion, offering invaluable insights into how we can make learning more dynamic, inclusive, and exciting. So, let’s take these ideas and insights back to our classrooms and continue to inspire the next generation of thinkers, creators, and innovators.

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