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TED-Ed Develops Animated Series Based on Lesson Plan Created by AISD Teacher

Math and Science Videos use Superheroes and Pop Culture to Explain Concepts

AUSTIN, Texas--An Austin ISD lesson plan is being shared globally by TED, a nonprofit organization famous for its inspirational 18-minute talks and its "Ideas Worth Sharing" tagline.

TED developed an animated video series based on a lesson plan created by Joy Lin, the math specialist at Linder Elementary School, who uses pop culture and superheroes to explain complicated theories in physics, biology and chemistry. 

TED selected Lin's lesson plan as one of only 18 in the nation to be developed into an animated video for TED's educational website.

Each winning lesson has been developed into a three-minute animated video, but Lin's lesson was the only one selected by TED-Ed to be developed into a series of six animated videos.

"TED and TED-Ed are recognized and respected around the world. It is a huge honor to have my lesson selected for a whole series," Lin said. "My passion is inspiring students and sparking their interest and understanding in math and science. I cannot think of a better way to do this than through an innovative animation." 

TED launched the six-part series of animated videos this summer. The videos are narrated by voice-over actor James Arnold Taylor, who is the voice behind Fred Flintstone and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Leonardo, among other animated characters.

Lin's videos use superpowers, including--super speedsuper strengthinvisibilitybody massimmortality and flight--to explain complicated concepts. The videos have already been viewed by thousands of learners throughout the world during the past two weeks.

TED, along with Kohl's Department Stores, launched the national competition last year to discover and share the most impactful and influential lessons on the TED-Ed website. Nominees for the award included teachers, parents and professionals from around the nation. Winners were selected based on program criteria that included their ability to transform a lesson into a visual story in less than three minutes and to inspire others with their creative approaches.  

Lin got the idea for her lessons while teaching at the Travis County Detention Center. Many of her students either struggled with math and science or were not interested in the subjects. Lin was encouraged by her mentor, Jim Britt, to think outside the box in order to achieve her goals.

To spark the interest of students and change their perception of the subjects, Lin decided to create a lesson that uses superheroes and pop culture to explain often-complicated concepts including Newton's Laws of Motion and the Law of Conservation of Mass.  

To view the videos, visit the TED-Ed website