5 best VR video lessons to engage your students in the classroom

Digital media is a powerful tool in the 21st-century classroom, and for many teachers, virtual reality is the latest tech to make the list. Here are five of the best 360-degree VR video lessons from Discovery Educator Network that you can use in your classroom today. You can access each of these diverse and engaging experiences through a VR headset if you have one — but for the budget-conscious, you can also use just a regular computer browser.

Racing Extinction: From Fishing to Ecotourism

Discovery VR Ecotourism

This video takes students to Isla Mujeres, a Mexican island community that’s moving from fishing as their primary way of life and income to leveraging tourist interest, which allows them to support themselves and preserve their ocean habitat.

Lesson activity: Pair this video with Discovery Educator Network’s learning strategy “3 Truths … 1 Lie,” which teaches students key ideas and details.

Seeker: The West and Africa’s Growing Middle Class

Discovery VR Africa

In this lesson, students learn about life for Africa’s middle class, which is often ignored in Western media coverage that focuses instead solely on war and famine.

Lesson activity: Try DEN’s learning strategy “Multiple Perspectives,” which helps students understand point of view and purpose.

America’s Civil War: Desertion

Discovery VR Desertion

This video transports students back in time to the American Civil War to discuss desertion, a common act among soldiers due to the draft and harsh conditions they faced.

Lesson activity: Evaluate the choice to desert with “Step Inside,” an activity where students consider a topic from multiple perspectives.

Jump into the Unknown

Discovery VR Canyon

Show students the power of nature in a way they’ve never seen before. Drop into a 400-foot canyon and experience a mind-blowing pendulum swing between the cliffs.

Learning activity: Try DEN’s “Six Word Story,” where students can practice summarizing and selective word choice.

Harley and the Davidsons: Enter the Motordrome

Discovery VR Motordrome

Re-create a motordrome race from the early 1900s Industrial Revolution, where “dangerous stunts” took on a whole different meaning than entertainment today.

Learning activity: “Paper Slide” focuses on retelling a story or concept through video by narrowing in on key points and support evidence.

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