Okay, I'm only partly kidding. I figured in the first week of June, we all could use a break from thinking too hard, so I've gathered this collection of funny, intriguing, and moving cat (and other animal) videos to entertain you while you wrap up your school year -- or celebrate the start of summer! Happy watching.
Video Playlist: Animal Magnetism
Watch the player below to see the whole playlist, or view it on YouTube.
- Best Funny and Cute Cat Videos Compilation 2014 (04:01)
Three million YouTube viewers can't be wrong. (That's actually small potatoes in the cat video world; I found several with over 30 million views!) This must be a truly brilliant compilation of cat videos to make you giggle.
- Amazing Animal Superpowers (08:03)
Joe Hanson from It's Okay to Be Smart shows us how evolutionary traits in the animal kingdom provide real-life examples of the kinds of powers usually reserved for comic book heroes and villains.
- Cat Herding (01:13)
Anyone who has worked in a classroom knows that dealing with a room full of energetic kids can feel like herding cats. But check out the "real" cat-herders in this parody ad from 2000 -- not a job for the weak!
- 23 Unusual Animals - Mental Floss (09:30)
- Dog Does Maths - Extraordinary Animals (03:30)
Lest the math teachers feel left out, I've included Maggie the Jack Russell terrier, who will delight you as she pits her math skills against a class of seven-year-olds. Read this blog for more insight on how this is possible.
- Animal Heroes Who Will Melt Your Heart (01:36)
Buzzfeed is shamelessly going for the feels on this one, which rounds up four stories of animals rescuing people and other animals. I'd top this list with Tara the Hero Cat, who saved a four-year-old from an attacking dog. Get the Kleenex!
- Moral Behavior in Animals -- Frans de Waal (16:56)
Can animals show empathy, cooperation, fairness and reciprocity? These are traits usually only expected from humans, but in this TED Talk, Dutch primatologist Frans de Waal shares some surprising video footage that shows animals may have more in common with us than we thought.
- Six Stories Behind Animal Names (06:58)
Oxford biologist Sally Le Page of Shed Science takes us on an etymological journey by sharing the origins of several unusual animal names. I could listen to her accent and snippets of British humor all day!
More Resources for Teaching About Animals
Whether you truly believe the Internet is made of cats or not, there's no doubt that most people love watching, playing with, and learning about animals -- kids perhaps even more than adults. I've gathered some resources below to help get your students excited by bringing animals into your lesson plans, whether you're teaching science or English language arts.
- "The Best Sites for Learning About Animals," by Larry Ferlazzo via Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day
- The Best Animal Books via GoodReads
- Nature Videos for Educators via PBS
- Animal Lesson Plans via Teachnology
- Lesson Plan: Investigating Animals Using Nonfiction for Inquiry via ReadWriteThink
- Animal Lesson Plans via Discovery Education
- Popular Animal Lesson Plans, Grades K-6 via TeacherVision
- Animal Lesson Plans for Teachers via The Humane Society