Magic and the Brain

Nova scienceNOW – Magic and the Brain

In an effort to try to building on our understanding of how our brains work, scientists have turned to a group who has made a profession out of knowing how the brain perceives in order to deceive it: magicians. Watch as some well-known magicians share some (not all) of their secrets in order to try and understand how the brain processes visual information.


  • I found this video utterly fascinating and thought that teachers could use this, at the very least, to spark a class discussion about the brain and what we see (or don’t see). Science teachers could use this to talk about the importance of accurate observations of experiments and why lab partners don’t always observe the same things.

Duration: 12:07
Watch the Video
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PBS Presents: Absolute Zero

Absolute Zero – The Conquest of COLD (Gr. 6-12)

On this, the shortest day of the year, I point you to the NOVA episode Absolute Zero from PBS online. Watch as scientists trace the history of the study of “cold” from the invention of the thermometer to scientists making artificial cold to harnessing cold to allow us to survive in today’s cities in the middle of summer. You can watch the streaming video in its entirety (1:41:18 total length) or select one of the 10 chapter segments the episode is broken into.


  • Take a moment to look at the additional resources found beneath the video player window. Find resources on Absolute Zero, Temperature Scales, Milestones in Cold Research and a Matter of Degrees.

Thanks to Free Tech for Teachers for sharing this find.

Nova ScienceNOW

Dolphin Reading Testing

Scientists at the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences in Honduras, along with Cedana the dolphin, are working on a skill that we humans consider a sign of intelligence: reading. While Cedana attempts to “read” various symbols that instruct her to perform specific tasks, she must also keep a motherly eye on her daughter, Pigeon.


  • Create a story using only pictures with Keynote and/or iMovie.
  • Compare and contrast different types of reading. Using GarageBand, team up with a partner and record a radio broadcast where you debate the different types of reading.
  • Create a How-To guide for successfully performing a task, like reading, when there are distractions present.

Nova ScienceNOW website