At a Glance


  • STEM
  • Physics

Instructional Level

  • College & CEGEP


  • Waves, Optics and Modern Physics

Tasks in Workflow

Social Plane(s)

  • Group

Type of Tasks

  • Collecting & seeking information
  • Discussing
  • Creating & designing
  • Reading

Technical Details

Useful Technologies

  • YouTube

Class size

  • Small (20-49)


  • Single class period (< 90 mins)

Instructional Purpose

  • Application & knowledge building
  • Consolidation & metacognition


These mini-video projects require students to engage with course concepts and make connections to the world in which we live. In doing so, students will need to work in groups to engage with course concepts to brainstorm, research, and creatively showcase their work.
Students work in teams to research and prepare 2-4 videos of less than 2.5 minutes each. Each video presents a real-world phenomenon (or technology) along with an explanation and connections to in-class learning.
This activity stems from a socio-constructivist approach and fits within the UDL guidelines allowing students multiple means of engagement, representation and expression.
The video projects are spaced throughout the semester, ideally following the completion of specific topics, encouraging students to engage with the topic while it is fresh in their memory.

Instructional Objectives

  • Students will apply course concepts to showcase “real-world” phenomena
  • Students will collaborate and communicate scientific information in creative ways

Workflow & Materials


Activity Workflow

View on CourseFlow

Contributor's Notes

  • Allows students the opportunity to further explore topics of interest to them, while interacting with the content in a deeper and more meaningful way
  • Students are required to synthesize and explain a topic meaningfully with only a limited time
  • Having students work in teams to complete projects and give oral presentations in class can be extremely time intensive. This often limits teachers to a single assessment. Mini projects offer short low-stakes opportunities for students to develop these skills and receive feedback, preparing them for later projects and presentations

The major challenges for this assignment are topic selection and time management.

  • Not all students will automatically make connections to the world around them. Discourage them from explaining class work, and provide examples of both what you do want, and what you don’t want. In a course which covers geometric optics, a poor example would be a student explaining how the eye works as a lens, whereas a great example might describe how LASIK surgery can correct a visual impairment by changing the shape of the eye’s lens
  • Encourage students to explore topics individually before group meetings, and to try to limit their time spent brainstorming and planning. When students spend too much time on a video, it is almost certainly because they spent too much time in group discussion
  • Some students will make videos which are too long. I recommend 60 to 90 seconds per video, but I set a hard limit at 150 seconds
  • It is a good idea to devote a few minutes at the start (or end) of each topic to list off some “real world” examples of that topic, and generally provide good and bad examples for students.
  • A great set of examples of what I am hoping for is the “MinutePhysics” playlist on YouTube
  • The “phenomenon” does not have to be a “physics” one, but students must link it to ideas learned in our course. Likewise, students can showcase a piece of technology, which derives from an idea explored in class.
    o For example, describing a PET scanner or Stellar Nucleosynthesis would both require students to more deeply engage with the nuclear physics section of the course.
  • Allowing for some research time, students should be spending about half an hour (per group member) of homework time per video.
  • Expect some students may take up to an hour each, especially for their first video while they develop a process.
  • It might be wise to have students work in the same group for the videos, so they learn to develop a process and better manage their time.
  • If possible, showcase these assignments publicly so that students can see other groups’ work. Ask follow-up questions, and encourage others to do the same. Draw connections between assignments, and try to foster interest in each other’s work. is a great tool for those interested in curation.
  • Space the videos out with other assignments/tests. These videos should not distract from other assessments such as tests or lab reports.

Applied Strategies