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TED Talk Tuesday: Puzzles and Human Nature


I’m a big fan of TED Talks. I know they’ve been taking some heat lately and maybe that’s for good reason, but the fact stands that there’s still a whole lot you can get from most of these 20-minute (or less!) talks. Whether you’re looking for something educational or pure entertainment, TED Talks deliver on the spot.

This summer our homeschooling curriculum is to work our way through some old classic movies. “Harvey” and “Citizen Kane” are next up on our list.

Last summer we spent watching a bunch of TED Talks playlists. I LOVE the playlists you can find – I get ours through Netflix (on Instant Watch) but you can also access them through the TED Talks site itself.

A TED Talks playlist is a series of talks themed around a single idea, such as food or the brain or the cosmos. There’s rich variety in the talks contained in a single playlist – naturally some are better than others but overall they complement each other in support of a main theme with depth and diversity.

Earlier this summer we watched the Artistry and Illusion playlist on Netflix and it was terrific. If you have kids who are art-averse, this playlist a fun one – it brings the process of art to a very human level, connecting visual art with the hands that make it. It may not make your kids any more interested in art history than they were before, but they’ll come away with an understanding of the very human factors behind art, and that’s probably more valuable than art history anyway.

My favorite talk from this list is by Shea Hembrey called “How I Became 100 Artists.” It’s fabulously intriguing, if you only have time to watch one talk from the Artistry playlist, choose this one. It’s really a delight.

I stumbled upon this TED Talk the other day and it’s a fun one too, definitely one to watch with your kids. It’s given by David Kwong, who is a magician and crossword puzzle creator (what an awesome job description he has, don’t you think?)

After you watch it you and your kids will go round and round with theories, it’s impossible not to. And that’s exactly the point.

Once you’ve exhausted your own thoughts on the performance, take a few minutes to read through the comments below the video on the TED Talks page.

There’s a heck of a lot more food for thought there (and you can’t often say that about most comment sections, can you?!?).

No matter what Kwong's trick or method, I think he proves his point in spades, don’t you?


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