Science Videos for World Builders

Increasingly, fine videos about science are coming to us through regular TV programming. Some of these videos are available to us for purchase on video tape. Many of these videos explain processes or explore ecosystems. Here is a listing of some of these videos. If you know of others, please share your knowledge!

Planet of Life

This series consists of seven programs about the development of life on earth. Each program lasts for about forty five minutes and is subdivided into smaller units. These units are suitable for showing as stand-alone enhancements to a lesson. Vivid images are interspersed with interviews with scientists and computer animations. This series is a good one for a world building class.


The Birth of Earth

See the planets forming right before your eyes, with vivid and interesting footage of the emergence of single celled life and the oxygenation of the atmosphere. Pictures of microscopic life forms are exciting.

The Ancient Ocean

An interesting examination of the first multicellular animals and their fossils in the Burgess Shale. Interesting computer images animate artists' interpretations of these organisms. A good companion book is Wonderful Life, by Stephen Jay Gould There are good sections on the developments that prepared the way for later organisms to move onto the land.

When Dinosaurs Ruled

Organisms leave the sea and adapt to life on land. There are good images of moving dinosaurs, and an extended discussion of the relationship between plants and animals, and the development of flowering plants.

Creatures of the Skies

Pterosaurs take to the skies, and the video goes on to examine the development of birds.

The Insect World

Explore a group of organisms that has prospered on earth for a very, very long time. Why have they done so well? How different are they from us? How do they compare with possibly alien species? Good discussion can come out of this one!

Apes to Man

Look at how our own species evolved.

Evolution's Next Step

Examines the impact of humans on this planet and explores possible strategies for our survival.

This set of programs comes from the Discovery Channel and costs $50.00 plus shipping.

The Miracle Planet

   Programs last for nearly an hour.

The Third Planet
An excellent program about the formation of the earth and mereorites.

The Heat Within
This program is about volcanism, tectonic plates, continental drift, mountain building and the deposition of metals. An excellent video for Session 2, the geology portion of World Builders.

The results of farming and human impact on the planet.

NOVA Videos

This is a long-running science series with many one hour programs, available for $30 each. Please send in your favorites!

Venus Unveiled #2210

Interesting films of the terrain of Venus, and discussion about the planet by scientists. Portions would be useful to a class.

Mammoths of the Ice Age

Excellent video about life form adaptation to environmental change.


For many more listings check the PBS web site at

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© Elizabeth Anne Viau, 1997. This material may be used freely for instructional purposes but not sold for a price beyond the cost of reproduction. As a courtesy, please inform the author if you use it at Thank you!