Regular readers of this blog know that I am a great fan of TED, which shares "Ideas Worth Spreading" by posting FREE videos of some of the leading thinkers and doers across the world as they give presentations on important topics--all in 10 minutes or less.
Today, TED launched a new initiative called TED-Ed that will bring the TED philosophy to education (although I've used plenty of TED videos in my lessons already). TED-ED is a TED You Tube video channel dedicated specifically to "Lessons Worth Spreading." That is, TED-Ed posts more FREE videos of some exemplary lessons that TED has enhanced by adding appropriate animations or other features (when necessary--some talks are fine on their own).
Right now, TED-Ed has just a handfull of videos, but by next month, they plan to add lesson plans and tools that allow teachers to customized the videos to their own classes (such as embedding questions or comments, etc.). They are also accepting nominations for outstanding educators or animators to use in the project, as well as suggestions for desired lessons.
TED-Ed is geared to the high school level and above, but I think the videos I watched would be appropriate for mature middle school students as well. But check them out and judge for yourself. For example, in honor of my middle schooler who has been enthralled with the deep sea since he was 2 years old, watch the TED-Ed video below on "Deep Ocean Mysteries and Wonders:"