While it may seem like YouTube is the place for funny cat videos, it’s actually a great resource for students to learn! In fact, I often use YouTube to cram some information I may have missed the night before the test, and you can actually find valuable information if you watch the right YouTube channels. These are some of my favorite YouTubers, and many of them have videos on science and biology, so please check them out if you’re interested!
Note: I am not sponsored by or affiliated with any of the channels mentioned.
1. CrashCourse and SciShow
CrashCourse is many high school student’s go-to YouTube channel when studying for a test, and that’s for a good reason. They post all different types of videos, from study skills, to literature, to science, and the information is well-researched. The channel was started by Hank and John Green, with Hank Green mostly posting science videos and John Green posting videos about humanities. Since then, Hank Green has started a second YouTube channel, called SciShow, which features topics in biology, chemistry, and physics, while also exploring some questions in science. Overall, CrashCourse and SciShow are great resources for students to review for a test or learn new things!
I first came across The Thought Emporium when I became interested in biohacking, and this channel is definitely a great channel for those who are interested in doing biology at home since it features many different science experiments, such as growing spider silk, making food glow, and experimenting with meat glue. In addition to biology, the channel also has videos on radio communications, physics, and building scientific equipment. There are many videos about how to set up a biology lab at home, which includes building equipment such as a heat block and incubator, and I just enjoy watching all of the fun projects! He does a great job explaining the experiment, so it’s pretty easy to understand how the experiments work.
TED-Ed is one of my favorite YouTube channels, since they make short videos that are around five minutes long about many interesting topics, from cancer biology to philosophical questions, and it doesn’t hurt that the animations are adorable. Some of the videos on the channel answer questions, while other videos explore historical figures and events. You may have heard of TED-Talks, and on TED, you can view all of these amazing talks by notable people around the world. One of my favorite talks is “How CRISPR lets us edit our genome” by Jennifer Doudna, who is one of the researchers that discovered the uses for CRISPR, since it introduces a basic understanding of what CRISPR is. However, there are other TED talks about philosophical, political, and futuristic topics, so there’s definitely a talk to suit your interests!
This is another YouTube channel with amazing animations and informative videos about scientific topics, while also exploring some ideas about our future, such as geoengineering. I loved their video on COVID-19, which is titled, “The Coronavirus Explained & What You Should Do,” and while this video was made in March so the situation has changed since then, it gives a good description of the biology of COVID-19. Their videos are very clear and understandable, so I really enjoy watching their videos, particularly the ones about genetic engineering.
Unlike some of the channels previously mentioned, Dr. Gary Kaiser’s YouTube channel isn’t as well known as some of the others. Nevertheless, I came across his channel when finding information about how to prepare a slide for staining, and I found his demonstration to be more clear and informative than the other ones that I had watched, and he also has many other videos demonstrating laboratory skills and classes in microbiology, so I think his channel is a great resource for learning about techniques and microbiology in general. Dr. Gary Kaiser also teaches microbiology at the Community College of Baltimore County, so many of the demonstrations are actual techniques that students use in class!
While not exactly a scientific YouTube channel, studyquill, run by Jasmine Shao, a student at UCLA, is a channel that provides videos about study tips, calligraphy, bullet journaling, and other tips that are useful for high school students. Jasmine was one of the presenters during a seminar I attended, so I decided to check out her channel even though I don’t normally watch calligraphy or bullet journal YouTube channels. However, I found her videos to be very detailed and unbiased with beautiful filming and editing, so I think her channel is great for high school students who love organization and planning!
When I was around 10, my mom showed me a website with a periodic table of elements, and when you clicked on the elements, you could watch a video about the element presented by Sir Martyn Poliakoff from the University of Nottingham. I loved the website, and after that, I decided I wanted to be a chemist. However, I somehow forgot the web address and couldn’t find the website again, so I only rediscovered the videos when my chemistry teacher showed us the videos recently. Even after so many years, the videos are still fun to watch, and there’s a video about every element on the periodic table. There are also fun videos too, such as the one about destroying the new £5 banknote that was deemed “indestructible,” which as it turns out, it was destructible and now the professor is £5 short. Anyway, the channel provides entertaining and informative videos, so I would definitely recommend this channel!
In their comment section, you can see students commenting about how the Amoeba Sisters’ videos have saved their biology grade, which just shows how helpful their videos are. With cute animations and metaphors, the channel makes biology easy to understand. I’ve found it super useful to help study for my biology classes, and they also have videos on biotechnology, which are fun to watch. The channel is run by two sisters from Texas, Sarina Peterson and Brianna Rapini. Brianna Rapini, or Pinky, as she’s called in the videos, graduated from the University of Texas, Austin with a degree in biology and has taught high school biology!
Junior Medical Academy is a nonprofit organization started by high school students to help improve biology education by providing lectures for students of all backgrounds. Their lectures include the Medical Biotechnology lecture, which is based off of Dr. Toni-Marie Achilli’s lecture called “Biotechnology in Medicine” at Brown University. I came across their YouTube channel when I saw their live lectures offered as part of the Wave Learning Festival, but I had missed the registration deadline, so I emailed them and they directed me to their YouTube channel, which contains recordings of previous lectures. While their primary activity isn’t making YouTube videos, I found the recordings that were posted to be super interesting and helpful!
AsapSCIENCE is run by Gregory Brown and Mitchell Moffit, who met while studying biology at the University of Guelph, and I love their channel. They answer some weird questions about science through whiteboard drawings and voiceovers, and they also make fun videos, such as science parodies. In fact, some of my favorite videos include their “Mitosis vs. Meiosis Rap Battle,” which is a funny way to introduce mitosis and meiosis, and “The Periodic Table Song,” which is exactly as it sounds, a song about the periodic table to the tune of Offenbach’s Can-Can. Some of the topics they have on their channel include the science of popular culture, climate change, and cool facts about your body.
You might know National Geographic as the channel for nature videos, but in addition to cute videos of polar bears, National Geographic posts quality videos about science in the natural world. For example, they frequently post videos on space, natural disasters, and genetics, which are all beautifully made and feature experts in the field. But if you prefer watching cute animal videos, National Geographic has lots of informative videos about animals, so it’s a great channel to watch when you’re feeling stressed!
For students interested in going to medical school, Med School Insiders is a super helpful resource that explores the reality of being a doctor and how it compares to other professions or specialities, as well as providing studying strategies that can be helpful for all students. For me, I think it’s a great way to get introduced to what it’s actually like to be a doctor, since I’m interested in working in the medical field as a researcher. The channel is run by Dr. Kevin Jubbal, a physician specializing in plastic surgery who graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Along with the school and studying side of being a student, college admissions is also a huge part of the high school experience. If you want to get into your dream school but don’t want to spend thousands of dollars for a private admissions counselor, SupertutorTV posts videos every week to help students prepare for the SAT/ACT, write their college essays, and get into their dream schools. The founder of the channel, Brooke Hanson, graduated from Stanford University and is a real test prep tutor, so this channel is a cheap and reliable college admissions resource for high school students. However, if you prefer reading over watching videos, you can find the same information on their blog!
Here’s another great YouTube channel with adorable animations and short videos that explore topics in science. Their videos often answer questions such as “Why Doesn’t All Thunder Sound The Same?” and “Are We Really 99% Chimp?” I love their song, “Rise of the Mesopredators,” which was done in collaboration with Science With Tom, who is also an amazing science YouTuber, as the video explains the mesopredators and ecosystems with different songs and raps. If you like short videos exploring interesting topics in science I would definitely recommend checking out their channel!
As you can tell, I love watching science parody songs, and acapellascience is the perfect channel to watch if you’re like me. They have many songs about chemistry, biology, and physics, such as their “The Molecular Shape of You,” which is a parody of the Ed Sheeran song “Shape of You.” The channel is run by Tim Blais, who graduated from McGill University with a degree in physics, and his channel a great way to watch fun videos while learning about science. While I’m definitely not the ideal judge for music since I’m a horrible singer, I think the vocals for the songs are pretty good!
While researching antibiotics and how they act, I came across a video about carbapenems by Ryan Sheehy. His YouTube channel provides lots of information about the different types of antibiotics, and many of these are dedicated to studying for the USMLE exam, commonly known as the “boards” exam to earn a medical license. I enjoy how straightforward his videos are, since he provides information about the mechanisms of the antibiotic, resistance mechanisms, side effects, and more, all in the span of under 10 minutes.
17. Richard Thornley
Often times, the videos that we are assigned to watch in chemistry class can be boring, but not Richard Thornley’s videos. He has a sense of wry humor that makes the videos much more entertaining, as the first time I came across his videos, I was watching a video on atoms and he said “Why don’t we include the mass of the electron? Because the mass of the electron is small. Idiot, of course they’re small,” which I found hilarious. In addition, his videos are for IB Chemistry students, so his channel is perfect for students who need specific content on IB Chemistry, since he provides tips about what you actually need to know for IB.
These are just some of my favorite YouTubers! There are many wonderful creators on YouTube, so please comment below if there are any you think I should check out!