Updated: Jul 17
If you are searching for ways to educate your kids outside the classroom check these documentaries out, they are entertaining, educational, and enlightening films that can set excellent standards for a life filled with meaningful movie watching. Messages depicted in a good film sometimes resonate more deeply and have a greater impact than those in a book. Stories told through documentaries are powerful because they’re about real people and happenings.
SFK selected the best educational films on science, nature and modern technologies from Discovery, National Geographic and BBC.
These shows are a good alternative to a blockbuster or a smartphone surfing and a great way to spend an evening with your kids and learn about the world we live in.
Most of these movies are recommended for kids over 10 years old
1. Dream Big: Engineering Our World
Narrated by Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges, Dream Big: Engineering Our World is a spectacular look at man-made marvels that will forever transform the way you think about engineering. From the Great Wall Of China and the world’s tallest buildings to underwater robots, solar cars, and smart, sustainable cities, Dream Big celebrates the human ingenuity behind engineering marvels big and small, and shows how engineers push the limits of innovation in unexpected and amazing ways. With its inspiring stories of human grit and aspiration, coupled with extraordinary visuals, Dream Big reveals the compassion and creativity that drive engineers to create better lives and a more sustainable future for all.
2. Genius by Stephen Hawking
This series helps ordinary people understand the science behind the big questions ,of life the universe and time travel. Professor Stephen Hawking challenges a selection of volunteers to think like the greatest geniuses in history and solve some of humanity's most enduring questions. Every high school should make this part of the curriculum!
3. The Brain with Dr. David Eagleman
Six one-hour episodes that tell the story of the inner workings of the brain and take viewers on a visually spectacular journey into why they feel and think the things they do.
Locked in the silence and darkness of your skull, your brain fashions the rich narratives of your reality and your identity. Join renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman for a journey into the questions at the mysterious heart of our existence. What is reality? Who are “you”? How do you make decisions? Why does your brain need other people? How is technology poised to change what it means to be human? In the course of his investigations, Eagleman guides us through the world of extreme sports, criminal justice, facial expressions, genocide, brain surgery, gut feelings, robotics, and the search for immortality. Strap in for a whistle-stop tour into the inner cosmos. In the infinitely dense tangle of billions of brain cells and their trillions of connections, something emerges that you might not have expected to see in there: you.
This is the story of how your life shapes your brain, and how your brain shapes your life.
4. Blue Planet
Sir David Attenborough narrates this critically acclaimed series that dives deep into the marine environment of Planet Earth. Although two-thirds of the world's surface is covered with water, scientists know less about the oceans than they do about the surface of the moon. This limited series travels from various coasts to the poles to examine watery denizens ranging from the gigantic blue whale to microscopic coral polyps. Extraordinary footage and eloquent narration by David Attenborough highlight the BBC's remarkable wildlife series The Blue Planet: Seas of Life. "Ocean World" begins with astonishing views of a gigantic blue whale--the elusive Holy Grail of undersea photography--and the marvels continue to demonstrate the power, diversity, and profound ecological influence of Earth's oceans. "Frozen Seas" examines whales, walruses, penguins, and other creatures under the extreme conditions of the Arctic and Antarctic Circles. The next two episodes are even better. "Open Ocean" travels thousands of miles into the vast "liquid desert," where currents determine how the ocean's diverse life forms will assume their places in the food chain. More amazing, "The Deep" descends with a state-of-the-art submersible to the ocean's abyssal plain and beyond, filming such bizarre creatures as the fangtooth, bioluminescent jellies, transparent squid, the giant-mouthed gulper eel, and the never-before-seen hairy angler fish.
Experience the wonderment of our world in a way that will enthrall, captivate and inspire you! Award-winning aerial photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand and narrator Glenn Close take you on a spectacular voyage around the world in Home, a unique film with such breathtaking imagery, you’ll want to enjoy it time and time again. Similarly, plant life, Home tells us, broke up the water molecule and released oxygen into the atmosphere. Everything is linked, everything is part of a grand machine--the film makes this clear in scores of ways, and not just by telling us. Arthus-Bertrand reveals the intricate, breathtaking designs and patterns of glaciers feeding rivers, of animals feeding on plant life so more plant life can grow, of Australia's great Coral Reef's role in keeping the ocean in eco-balance. Of course, a big part of the story is the impact short-sighted humans have on these systems: the way we overfish, or drain deserts of scarce fossil water, or turn non-farming lands into perverse engines for agriculture. There is much to be alarmed at watching Home, but there is much to move one as well. --Tom Keogh "
6. The Incredible Human Body
Cutting-edge medical technology and riveting, life-or-death personal dramas combine in this unprecedented, from-the-inside-out exploration of The Incredible Human Body. Marvel at the revolutionary imaging system used to guide a surgeon's scalpel in a delicate brain-tumor operation. Witness a childless couple's fight to beat the odds and create a new life with a micro-technological assist. See how London cabbies are sending modern brain development theories on an unexpected detour. An astonishing excursion into the living bodies of real people, right down to their stem cells, this is the extraordinary inside story of the human machine as you've never seen it before.
7. Ted Ed
TED-Ed Animations are award-winning animated videos about ideas that spark the curiosity of learners everywhere. Every TED-Ed Animation represents a creative collaboration between experts. Such experts may include TED Speakers and TED Fellows, as well as educators, designers, animators, screenwriters, directors, science writers, historians, journalists and editors. These original animated videos answer all kidns of different questions that appear in kids minds like: "What do all languages have in common?", "What happens if you cut down all of a city's trees?" or "What's so special about Viking ships?"
8. Before the Flood (2016)
Using his celebrity status to draw attention to the problem of global warming, one of the most important and pressing issues of our time, actor and United Nations Messenger of Peace, Leonardo DiCaprio, travels the globe to witness firsthand the effects of an impending environmental disaster. By visiting ancient melting glaciers and levelled Indonesian tropical forests, DiCaprio unearths an urgent situation and the world's dependence on fossil fuels, going as far as to visit President Obama himself for an in-depth interview. But, can this crusade inspire the climate-change deniers?
9. That Sugar (2014)
One man's journey to discover the bitter truth about sugar. Damon Gameau embarks on a unique experiment to document the effects of a high sugar diet on a healthy body, consuming only foods that are commonly perceived as 'healthy'. Through this entertaining and informative journey, Damon highlights some of the issues that plague the sugar industry, and where sugar lurks on supermarket shelves.
10. Megastructures (2004-2011)
This series in an eye-popping tour of the greatest structures and machines ever created by human hands. from the fastest trains to the tallest urban towers, these structures are miracles of engineering, design, material innovation, and construction. They are products of top minds from around the world working together to produce icons of the modern world and landmarks of human achievement.