8 TED Talks on Cognitive Science, Math and Motivation to Inspire Teachers and Students

September 10, 2014

Take a break from your math homework and grading to watch these. Math by Akash Kataruka is licensed under CC by 2.0
Take a break from your math homework and grading to watch these. Math by Akash Kataruka is licensed under CC by 2.0

Everyone loves a good TED Talk. Here are a few of our favorites:

  1. The Beautiful Math of Coral — Margaret Wertheimer uses crochet techniques and sophisticated mathematical models to discover the hyperbolic geometry underlying the rainforests of the sea.
  2. The Puzzle of Motivation — Motivation works differently than you think. Career analyst Dan Pink explains what he’s discovered about humans and rewards.
  3. Sputnik Mania — In this math and science history lesson, filmmaker David Hoffman shares footage from “Sputnik Mania” which connects the arms race to the investment in science and math education. 
  4. Math Class Needs a Makeover — Educator Dan Meyer argues for a math class that teaches students how to think and shows how today’s math curricula fail to do so.
  5. Demystifying the Human Mind — Kaplan Inc. Chief Learning Officer Bror Saxberg explains how the brain learns and how technology can help, rather than hinder, that process. (Psst! Check out our blog post from when Dr. Saxberg visited our Houston office.)
  6. The Mysterious Workings of the Adolescent Brain — Teenagers’ brains are not wired like adults’. Hear from cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore on how this affects their decision-making.
  7. Visual Illusions That Show How We (Mis)Think — Al Sekel shares his research on how ‘violating expectations’ visually affects the experience of the viewer in interesting and unexpected ways.
  8. The World Needs All Kinds of Minds — Temple Grandin holds a doctoral degree in animal science and is one of the most distinguished in her field. She also has Asperger’s Syndrome. Her talk focuses on how different minds have different strengths and why we need to honor each and every one.

What would you add to our list? Watch a few of these and share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

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