How to boost student access to gifted and talented education resources

Fibonacci TED-Ed CC image public domain
“Gifted and talented” programs are designed to provide students with an enriched academic environment. For gifted children, this additional programming can have a huge positive impact on their lives. There’s just one problem: under the current testing system in US schools, many gifted students in Title One schools are never identified or given access to the enriched academic environment they need to thrive. How can elementary school teachers find and support more of the gifted students in their classrooms — right now? Della Palacios, a Colorado-based teacher, designed a TED-Ed Innovation Project to boost student access to gifted and talented education resources. Below, check out the new classroom resources that she created — and her notes on the project.

Here are 5 lessons that you can use with gifted and talented students in elementary school:

1. Origami history

2. The story of tangrams

3. The magic of Fibonacci numbers

4. The 3 C’s: creativity, crafting and kids

5. Where the sidewalk ends (LEGO Sculpture)


Student feedback:

Screen Shot 2016-09-22 at 3.39.10 PM
Palacio says: My biggest takeaway from the survey is how little exposure our students have had to innovative technology use, and how much they enjoyed the opportunity. I asked students, “In school, what is the coolest thing you’ve ever gotten to do using technology?” Answers included: “This” and “in technology would most likely be this.” Read more about this project here: Gifted and Talented Pathways.

This article is part of the TED-Ed Innovation Project series, which highlights 25+ TED-Ed Innovation Projects designed by educators, for educators, with the support and guidance of the TED-Ed Innovative Educator program. You are welcome to share, duplicate and modify projects under this Creative Commons license to meet the needs of students and teachers. Art credit: this Fibonacci spiral is public domain.

via TED-Ed Blog

5 back-to-school tips for teachers and parents

Pixabay public domain education image 1

Back-to-school time is the perfect moment to reboot your routines. Ready to try something new? From big ideas to small innovations, here are 5 tips to help you start off the school year on the right foot.

1. Adopt a growth mindset. Kids need to hear that their abilities are not “fixed” at birth, and that there is always room to improve. To teach students about the power of a growth mindset, share this TED-Ed Select.

2. Model kind behavior. To fight bullying in schools, start by modeling kindness in your own interactions. Kindness could mean practicing emotional first aid, creating a more inclusive classroom, or simply trying to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to students. For more ways to model kind behavior, see 6 effective ways to stop bullying.

3. Get creative. Want to teach creativity in the classroom? Here are 10 ways to do it. Want to start a daily learning ritual at home? Here’s how one family did it. Want some inspiration from great teachers? Check out these project ideas.

4. Build healthy habits. Students learn best when their physical and emotional needs are met. To start building healthy habits together, watch 7 TED-Ed Lessons for a healthier you.

5. Love unconditionally. Want to raise an amazing adult? This is how, says the former dean of freshman at Stanford.

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The physics of football (in TED-Ed GIFs)


In 1997, Brazilian football player Roberto Carlos set up for a 35 meter free kick with no direct line to the goal. Carlos’s shot sent the ball flying wide of the players, but just before going out of bounds it hooked to the left and soared into the net. How did he do it? Below, Erez Garty describes the physics behind one of the most magnificent goals in the history of football.


According to Newton’s first law of motion, an object will move in the same direction and velocity until a force is applied on it. When Carlos kicked the ball he gave it direction and velocity, but what force made the ball swerve and score one of the most magnificent goals in the history of the sport?


The trick was in the spin. Carlos placed his kick at the lower right corner of the ball, sending it high and to the right, but also rotating around its axis.


The ball started its flight in an apparently direct route, with air flowing on both sides and slowing it down. On one side, the air moved in the opposite direction to the ball’s spin, causing increased pressure, while on the other side—the air moved in the same direction as the spin, creating an area of lower pressure.


That difference made the ball curve towards the lower pressure zone. This phenomenon is called the Magnus effect.


This type of kick, often referred to as a banana kick, is attempted regularly, and it is one of the elements that makes “the beautiful game” beautiful.


But curving the ball with the precision needed to both bend around the wall, and back into the goal is difficult. Too high and it soars over the goal. Too low and it hits the ground before curving. Too wide and it never reaches the goal.


Not wide enough and the defenders intercept it. Too slow and it hooks too early or not at all. Too fast and it hooks too late.


The same physics make it possible to score another apparently impossible goal — an unassisted corner kick.


The Magnus effect was first documented by Sir Isaac Newton after he noticed it while playing a game of tennis back in 1670. It also applies to golf balls, Frisbees and baseballs. In every case the same thing happens: the ball’s spin creates a pressure differential in the surrounding airflow that curves it in the direction of the spin.


And here’s a question: could you theoretically kick a ball hard enough to make it boomerang all the way around back to you? Sadly, no. Even if the ball didn’t disintegrate on impact or hit any obstacles, as the air slowed it, the angle of its deflection would increase, causing it to spiral into smaller and smaller circles until finally stopping. And just to get that spiral you’d have to make the ball spin over 15 times faster than Carlos’s immortal kick. So good luck with that.

Watch the full TED-Ed Lesson: The “impossible” free kick

Animation by TOGETHER/TED-Ed

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How to help a teacher out

back to school 2


Everyone wants kids to thrive in school — but what about the teachers who are there to make that happen? What can parents and community members do that might be actually useful, valued and appreciated by educators? From the deeply practical (yes, money helps) to the more conceptual, here are 17 smart ideas for how you can help a teacher out this year:

1. Offer after-school tutoring

Tutoring is a good way to volunteer. “I would love to see parents creating initiatives to build an after-school tutorial program that is free for students to get extra help on homework,” says Josefino Rivera Jr., who teaches at an international school in Sofia, Bulgaria.

2. Give grocery store gift cards

“If a student is worried about eating, or they are going hungry, then they aren’t going to be focused on learning,” says Craig Zimmer, an educator in Ontario, Canada. That can make kids hard to reach in class — so he suggests donating grocery store gift cards to school counselors to pass them on to families in need. Why school counselors? Because they often know what’s going on at home with students, even if other people don’t.

3. Provide “weekend bags” of healthy food for kids

“The poverty in pockets throughout the United States would shock people (I think),” says Mitzi Stover of California. “Some kids don’t get meals outside of school, so weekends and days off are horrible for them,” says Rita Kitchen, who teaches in Ohio. A grocery bag of fresh, healthy food can help a family get through the weekend and have an immediate positive impact in a student’s life (thus immediately helping a teacher out!).

4. Scrounge art + school supplies

Basic art, school and craft supplies are always in demand. “I’ve had families who can meet the basic needs, but extra paper or a much-needed binder are luxuries,” says Karen Goepen-Wee, who teaches in Alberta, Canada. “Also, students always need craft supplies. Imagine not being able to practice how to write or color or create because your family can’t afford the basics like crayons, glue and craft paper.”

5. Create work-experience opportunities

Ontario-based educator Craig Zimmer wants students to get real-world context for what they’re learning. So, students in science class might visit science labs, while students in art class might work with artists. “Many teenagers have ideas about their future jobs, but never get the opportunity to see which ones really interest them,” agrees Ela Potocka of Warsaw, Poland. “Students need to visit workplaces in administration, government and other fields.”

6. Share your own skills and talents

Parents can help by lending their expertise to schools, or by showing kids what they do all day. “We need more ways to get students invested in their future through career education, mentorships, intern opportunities and field trips — especially in STEM fields,” says Jennifer Parr of Wisconsin. “Especially in high school, students can get lost in the shuffle and could really use more strong adult connections,” says Mitzi Stover in California. And it doesn’t have to be in person — you can talk to student groups halfway around the globe via video calls.

7. Help with teacher recruitment

“Better teachers — in terms of subject matter expertise and soft skills — can make a big difference for a school,” says Vipul Redey, an administrator in Bangalore, India. You might not have the expertise to help hire educators, but you can certainly spread the word about a school’s open teaching positions.

8. Subsidize Internet access

“My immediate school need and challenge is the lack of internet connectivity,” says Fred Sagwe, who teaches information and communications technology in Kisii, Kenya. “A solution like BRCK [a portable WiFi router] can be of great help to the school, parents and the community. If parents and the community can chip in funding for internet data bundles, that would be a godsend.”

9. Donate tech tools

“Schools in our district that are in affluent areas have one-to-one technology paid for by the district, while our school, which is in one of the poorest areas, has an average of four or five devices per class,” says educator Jeri Hammond in Florida, who’d love to figure out how to get a bunch of Kindle Fires for her Kindergarteners and first graders.

10. Donate backpacks, school supplies, or weather-appropriate clothes

“So many children need backpacks and school supplies,” says Camille Stawicki, a literacy coach in Michigan. Particularly in cold weather, there is also a huge need for clean, untorn clothing for needy kids. Appropriate clothing donations may include things like jeans, coats, hats, gloves, socks and boots. “I always ask my classroom to check their homes for gently used clothing and shoes for school-aged children,” says teacher Eric Johnson, who teaches middle school in Mishawaka, Indiana.

11. Teach kids to be resilient …

Parents need to build more resilience in their kids, says Jon Nash of Petone, New Zealand. “Stop protecting kids from the consequences of their own behavior,” he says.

12. … and to have heart and soul

It’s not enough to develop bright minds. We also need to help students to develop good hearts. Parents and community members can help by offering skills training in meditation, compassion and teamwork, says Alex Nemo Hanse of Florida.

13. Organize a weekend for the community to paint and decorate a school

“Our building is old and wants to be new,” says Mohammad Azam of Khairpur, Pakistan. Maybe local businesses could donate furniture. Be creative in kitting out a school. “We just finished a complete renovation of our auditorium,” says Michael Ashe of California. “Only a third was paid for by district funds. The rest came from donated services, equipment, and grants. We even added TV production!”

14. Endorse vocational skills

“Students need to be allowed to take a vocational path and be praised for doing so,” says Kate Ferrer of Wales.

15. Show up

Let’s find ways to involve parents in their children’s learning, while also teaching parenting skills, suggests Sarah Peterson Sheridan of Illinois. “It would be wonderful to fill our schools in the evening with parent/child cooking classes, Zumba, art classes and field trips.”

16. Be an engaged parent

“We need parents to get involved, ask the difficult questions, and listen to the answers, without aggression or blind belief that ‘their’ child is perfect,” says educator Iain Bogie from the UK. Meanwhile, sitting on a school board can be infinitely helpful. “We need parents or community members running for school board positions and roles of formal leadership,” says Kathleen Harsy of Illinois. “Contested positions would be a great problem to have!”

17. Respect your teachers!

“We all want to be regarded as experts and respected for our expertise by parents and community,” says Jenny Lehotsky of Illinois. Adds Jennifer Ward from Michigan, “Teachers need to feel valued by their administration as well. Meaningful and purposeful use of staff development time that incorporates the collective knowledge and experience of teachers is imperative for building a collaborative and creative school culture.”

The article above was adapted for TED-Ed from this articleImage credit: iStock

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How to create stop-motion animation at home

Stop-motion animation is a visual storytelling form that conjures up the illusion of movement by combining art, motion and metaphor to convey an idea. It’s also really fun to create, as 100+ first-time animators recently discovered during a workshop led by the TED-Ed Animation team. Ready to create your own stop-motion animation at home? Here are a few suggestions from TED-Ed Animators to help you get started:

Start with the basics. Before you begin filming, get inspired by the animated lesson shown above, which was produced with the help of first-time animators during the TED-Ed Summit animation workshop. Some of the stop-motion techniques used to visualize this lesson idea include pixilation, cut-out animation and puppet animation. Which one will you choose to try first? You can learn more about each technique — and how to do it yourself — by exploring the TED-Ed Animation Basics lesson series.

Embrace your constraints. You don’t need a lot of equipment and supplies to start creating stop-motion animation. One set-up might include props (such as Legos, Playdoh or magnet letters, etc), an iPad or laptop, a stop-motion app, table, black tablecloth, two lights, and a tripod or mount to stabilize the camera. Another set-up might include a flipbook of photos and your phone camera. For your first animation project at home, the idea is to start with the resources you have available and experiment. If needed, you can even fold your own origami iPhone stand.

Experiment with software. iStopMotion is the stop-motion software that new animators used to help create that animated lesson. It’s easy to test out on a MacBook Pro, and also available for iPad or iPhone. Other apps that you might try for iOS include: iMotion, Stop Motion Studio. For Android, try StopMotion Maker. Pro tip: remember to read through the software guide for whatever app you decide to use to capture animation.

Keep a growth mindset. Stop-motion animation projects can flex your creative problem-solving skills and help you to practice patience. Whether this is your first animation or your 15th, there is always something new to learn or try. So keep a growth mindset — and remember to have fun!

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40 brilliant idioms that can’t be translated literally

TED-Ed tomatoes on your eyes

It’s a piece of cake. You can’t put lipstick on a pig. Why add fuel to the fire? Idioms are those phrases that mean more than the sum of their words. TED Translators are often challenged to translate English idioms into other languages. Which made us wonder: what are their favorite idioms in other languages? Below, TED Translators share their favorite idioms and how they would translate literally. The results are laugh-out-loud funny.

From German translator Johanna Pichler:

The idiom: Tomaten auf den Augen haben.
Literal translation:
“You have tomatoes on your eyes.”
What it means: “You are not seeing what everyone else can see. It refers to real objects, though — not abstract meanings.”

The idiom: Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof.
Literal translation:
“I only understand the train station.”
What it means: “I don’t understand a thing about what that person is saying.’”

The idiom: Die Katze im Sack kaufen.
Literal translation:
“To buy a cat in a sack.”
What it means: That a buyer purchased something without inspecting it first.
Other languages this idiom exists in: We hear from translators that this is an idiom in Swedish, Polish, Latvian and Norwegian. In English, the phrase is “buying a pig in poke,” but English speakers do also  “let the cat out of the bag,” which means to reveal something that’s supposed to be secret.

From Swedish translator Matti Jääro:

The idiom: Det är ingen ko på isen
Literal translation:
“There’s no cow on the ice.”
What it means: “There’s no need to worry. We also use ‘Det är ingen fara på taket,’ or ‘There’s no danger on the roof,’ to mean the same thing.”

The idiom: Att glida in på en räkmacka
Literal translation:
“To slide in on a shrimp sandwich.”
What it means: “It refers to somebody who didn’t have to work to get where they are.”

The idiom: Det föll mellan stolarna
Literal translation:
“It fell between chairs.”
What it means: “It’s an excuse you use when two people were supposed to do it, but nobody did. It has evolved into the slightly ironic phrase, ‘It fell between the chair,’ which you use when you want to say, ‘Yeah, I know I was supposed to do it but I forgot.’”

From Thai translator Kelwalin Dhanasarnsombut:

The idiom: เอาหูไปนา เอาตาไปไร่
Literal translation:
“Take ears to the field, take eyes to the farm.”
What it means: “It means ‘don’t pay any attention.’ Almost like ‘don’t bring your eyes and ears with you.’ If that were possible.”

The idiom: ไก่เห็นตีนงู งูเห็นนมไก่
Literal translation: “The hen sees the snake’s feet and the snake sees the hen’s boobs.”
What it means: “It means two people know each other’s secrets.”

The idiom: ชาติหน้าตอนบ่าย ๆ
Literal translation: “One afternoon in your next reincarnation.”
What it means: “It’s never gonna happen.”
Other languages this idiom exists in: A phrase that means a similar thing in English: “When pigs fly.” In French, the same idea is conveyed by the phrase, “when hens have teeth (quand les poules auront des dents).” In Russian, it’s the intriguing phrase, “When a lobster whistles on top of a mountain (Когда рак на горе свистнет).” And in Dutch, it’s “When the cows are dancing on the ice (Als de koeien op het ijs dansen).”

From Latvian translators Ilze Garda and Kristaps Kadiķis:

The idiom: Pūst pīlītes.
Literal translation:
“To blow little ducks.”
What it means: “It means to talk nonsense or to lie.”
Other language connections: In Croatian, when someone is obviously lying to someone, you say that they are “throwing cream into their eyes (bacati kajmak u oči).”

The idiom: Ej bekot.
Literal translation: “‘Go pick mushrooms,’ or, more specifically, ‘Go pick boletes!’”
What it means: “Go away and/or leave me alone.”

From French translator Patrick Brault:

The idiom: Avaler des couleuvres.
Literal translation:
“To swallow grass snakes.”
What it means: “It means being so insulted that you’re not able to reply.” 

The idiom: Sauter du coq à l’âne.
Literal translation:
“To jump from the cock to the donkey.”
What it means: “It means to keep changing topics without logic in a conversation.” 

The idiom: Se regarder en chiens de faïence.
Literal translation:
“To look at each other like earthenware dogs.”
What it means: “Basically, to look at each other coldly, with distrust.” 

The idiom: Les carottes sont cuites!
Literal translation:
“The carrots are cooked!”
What it means: “The situation can’t be changed.”
Other language connections: It’s bit like the phrase, “It’s no use crying over spilt milk,” in English.

From Russian translator Aliaksandr Autayeu:

The idiom: Галопом по Европам
Literal translation:
“Galloping across Europe.”
What it means: “To do something hastily, haphazardly.”

The idiom: На воре и шапка горит
Literal translation:
“The thief has a burning hat.”
What it means: “He has an uneasy conscience that betrays itself.”

The idiom: Хоть кол на голове теши
Literal translation:
“You can sharpen with an ax on top of this head.”
What it means: “He’s a very stubborn person.”

The idiom: брать/взять себя в руки
Literal translation:
“To take oneself in one’s hands.”
What it means: “It means ‘to pull yourself together.’”
Other languages this idiom exists in: Translators tell us that there is a German version of this idiom too: “Sich zusammenreißen,” which translates literally as “to tear oneself together.” And in Polish, the same idea is expressed by the phrase, “we take ourselves into our fist (wziąć się w garść).” 

From Portuguese translators Gustavo Rocha and Leonardo Silva:

The idiom: Quem não se comunica se trumbica
Literal translation:
“He who doesn’t communicate, gets his fingers burnt.”
What it means: “He who doesn’t communicate gets into trouble.”’

The idiom: Quem não tem cão caça com gato
Literal translation:
“He who doesn’t have a dog hunts with a cat.”
What it means: “You make the most of what you’ve got.” Basically, you do what you need to do, with what the resources you have. 

The idiom: Empurrar com a barriga
Literal translation: 
“To push something with your belly.”
What it means: “To keep postponing an important chore.”

The idiom: Pagar o pato
Literal translation: 
“Pay the duck.”
What it means: “To take the blame for something you did not do.”

From Polish translator Kinga Skorupska:

The idiom: Słoń nastąpił ci na ucho?
Literal translation:
“Did an elephant stomp on your ear?”
What it means: “You have no ear for music.”
Other languages this idiom exists in: Our translators tell us that in Croatian, there’s also a connection made between elephants and musical ability in the phrase, “You sing like an elephant farted in your ear (Pjevaš kao da ti je slon prdnuo u uho.).” But in the Latvian version, it’s a bear who stomps on your ear.

The idiom: Bułka z masłem.
Literal translation:
“It’s a roll with butter.”
What it means: “It’s really easy.”

The idiom: Z choinki się urwałaś?
Literal translation:
“Did you fall from a Christmas tree?”
What it means: “You are not well informed, and it shows.”

From Japanese translators Yasushi Aoki and Emi Kamiya:

The idiom: 猫をかぶる
Literal translation: 
“To wear a cat on one’s head.”
What it means: “You’re hiding your claws and pretending to be a nice, harmless person.”

The idiom: 猫の手も借りたい
Literal translation: 
“Willing to borrow a cat’s paws.”*
What it means: “You’re so busy that you’re willing to take help from anyone.” 

The idiom: 猫の額
Literal translation: 
“Cat’s forehead.”
What it means: “A tiny space. Often, you use it when you’re speaking humbly about land that you own.”

The idiom: 猫舌
Literal translation:
 “Cat tongue.”
What it means: “Needing to wait until hot food cools to eat it.”

*Yes, Japanese has quite a few cat idioms.

From Kazakh translator Askhat Yerkimbay:

The idiom: Сенің арқаңда күн көріп жүрмін
Literal translation: “I see the sun on your back.”
What it means:Thank you for being you. I am alive because of your help.”

From Croatian translator Ivan Stamenkovic:

The idiom: Doće maca na vratanca
Literal translation:
“The pussy cat will come to the tiny door.”
What it means: “Essentially, ‘What goes around comes around.’”

The idiom: Da vidimo čija majka crnu vunu prede
Literal translation:
“We see whose mother is spinning black wool.”
What it means: “It’s like being the black sheep in the family.” 

The idiom: Muda Labudova
Literal translation:
“Balls of a swan.”
What it means: “It means something that’s impossible.”

The idiom: Mi o vuku
Literal translation:
“To talk about the wolf.”
What it means: “It’s similar to ‘speak of the devil.’”
Other language connections: In Polish, “O wilku mowa” is the equivalent.

From Tamil translator Tharique Azeez:

The idiom: தலை முழுகுதல் (Thalai Muzhuguthal)
Literal translation: “To take a dip or pour water over someone’s head.”
What it means: “To cut off a relationship.” 

The idiom: தண்ணீர் காட்டுதல் (Thanneer Kaattuthal)
Literal translation: “Showing water to someone.”
What it means: “It means to be someone’s nemesis.”

From Dutch translator Valerie Boor:

The idiom: Iets met de Franse slag doen
Literal translation:
“Doing something with the French whiplash.”
What it means: “This apparently comes from riding terminology. It means doing something hastily.” 

The idiom: Iets voor een appel en een ei kopen
Literal translation:
“Buying something for an apple and an egg.”
What it means: “It means you bought it very cheaply.”
Other language connections: Spanish translator Camille Martínez points out out that when something is expensive in English, you pay two body parts for it (“it cost me an arm and a leg”), whereas in Spanish you only pay one — either a kidney (“me costó un riñón”) or an eye (“me costó un ojo de la cara”).

From Korean translator Jeong Kinser:

The idiom: 똥 묻은 개가 겨 묻은 개 나무란다
Literal translation: 
“A dog with feces scolds a dog with husks of grain.”
What it means: “It’s a bit like, ‘People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.’”

The idiom: 오십보 백보
Literal translation: 
“50 steps are similar to 100 steps.”
What it means: “I think of it as, ‘Six of one, half a dozen of the other.’”

This article has been adapted for TED-Ed from this great TED Blog post.

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Introducing TED-Ed Weekend events!


TED-Ed Weekend events are special gatherings that bring together students from TED-Ed Clubs worldwide for a chance to take over TED Headquarters in New York City. Twice a year, TED Headquarters will give the stage to the world’s youth for inspiring performances, hands-on workshops, and riveting TED Talks delivered by members of TED-Ed Clubs.

Cool, a new event series celebrating TED-Ed Clubs! What should we expect?
TED-Ed Weekends will feature an amazing lineup of youth speakers from around the globe. The first TED-Ed Weekend event will be Saturday, December 3, 2016. In addition to experiencing great talks delivered on stage at TED Headquarters, attendees will get a chance to connect with experts, learn valuable new skills, explore ideas that matter, join hands-on media and animation workshops, and form lasting friendships within the global TED student community.

How were the youth speakers selected?
The TED-Ed Team receives many video submissions of talks given by TED-Ed Club Members. After watching all of these videos, we’ve invited some Club Members to give their talks on THE big red circle at TED Headquarters in New York City.

Awesome! Who can attend?
We built a theater in our office (crazy, right?) but it still has a limited number of seats. There’s a maximum of 5 students from each TED-Ed Club who can attend. This limit does not include chaperones.

Who can be a chaperone? How many TED-Ed Club Members can one chaperone supervise?
An adult Club Leader, Club Advisor, or parent may be the chaperone for up to 5 students. If Club Members are accepted, parents will receive more specifics regarding chaperones and guidelines for attendance of the event.

How do we get to New York City? Where do we stay?
TED-Ed Weekends are all-day events and free to attend. However, we cannot provide transportation to and from TED Headquarters in NYC, or lodging for attendees. The first TED-Ed Weekend event will be on Saturday, December 3, 2016. Once accepted, attendees who plan to stay in NYC over the weekend will receive a list of possible lodging options. Upon acceptance, we will also connect attendees who would like to coordinate lodging in NYC.

Sounds like an amazing opportunity. Can students fundraise to come?
Definitely! Feel free to reach out to your principal or local school board for advice on funding student opportunities such as TED-Ed Weekends. In addition, DonorsChoose can be a good way to gather fundraising dollars for student enrichment opportunities.

Wonderful! How do I apply?
Ask your Club Leader! They should have received an email with the application link to send out to their Club Members. (If not, they can email TED-Ed at to get the application sent to them.)

TED-Ed Weekend events are for students in TED-Ed Clubs. Apply to start a TED-Ed Club now so you don’t miss out on this series of events! To learn more about the TED-Ed Clubs program or to create your own club, visit TED-Ed Clubs.

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