Ian Byrd taught gifted students in Southern California. He now writes about gifted education at Byrdseed.com, produces videos for professional development at Byrdseed.TV, and travels to speak with teachers around the country.
Five Inspiring Resources
Sometimes it just takes a quick moment to inspire our gifted students to deeply explore a new topic. The web is rich with such information, imagery, and video clips. In fact, it can be too rich! Where to begin?
Here are five consistently great sources for inspiration. They’re perfect for finding exciting class openers, intriguing writing prompts, or simply ways to satisfy your own curiosity.
Be sure to preview anything before you share at school, not everything on these sites is necessarily appropriate for your students.
It’s Okay to Be Smart
It’s Okay To Be Smart is a blog written by Joe Hanson, Ph.D. He shares interesting science videos, images, and links.
National Geographic Found
National Geographic Found is a Tumblr site that goes through the magazine’s incredible photo archive. Here are some samples:
- A 1950 picture of porters carrying a car across a river in Nepal.
- A 1918 shot of a snow covered coal train.
- A photograph from 1912 of a volcanic eruption from above.
Each image could serve as a writing prompt or the seed of a curiosity-based project.
The Lego Collection shares incredibly impressive projects and show how far a person can take a simple resource like Lego.
- At 4000 meters, this is the longest Lego railroad track. It’s indoors too.
- A paper airplane launching machine made of Lego.
- Here’s a working loom using Lego Mindstorm.
What If? is written by Randall Munroe, a physicist and former NASA employee. He attempts to answer the wild “what if” questions that some of our gifted students are known for. Some highlights:
- What would happen if you tried to float a boat in bromine, mercury, and other liquids.
- Can we build a rocket fast enough to catch up to and retrieve Voyager I, the farthest manmade object from Earth?
- Can we speed the Earth’s spin up so that we don’t need leap seconds?
In Our Time
In Our Time is a weekly podcast from the BBC in which host Melvyn Bragg discusses a topic from science, history, art, religion, or philosophy with three experts on the subject. Bragg does an exceptional job of harnessing his guests’ expertise and translating it for the layman, all in about 40 minutes.
The archives are bursting with over 600 episodes, and include subjects such as:
- A discussion about Einstein and relativity
- A deep dive into the water molecule
- A history of The Arthurian Legend
Highly recommend for teachers looking to broaden their horizons.