The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many of us live overnight. Many schools and universities have shut their doors and transitioned to virtual & remote learning. Others are working from home or are taking this time to self-isolate and focus on hobbies, family and staying healthy.
If you're one of the millions of students or people that are now at home for at least a few weeks (maybe more), watching documentaries is going to be a great way to continue learning about interesting and diverse topics even if you're outside of the classroom.
Here are five of our favorites.
1. Netflix: Our Planet
"Our Planet" is a documentary series on Netflix. Similar to the well-known "Planet Earth," "Our Planet" consists of eight almost hourlong episodes dedicated to a different ecosystem on Earth.
From the deserts and grasslands to forests to coastal seas, you'll learn about various ecosystems around the world, the organisms within them and how they're being affected by things like deforestation, pollution, climate change and the overall human impact.
These episodes are incredibly high-quality and show things in nature that few people have ever seen with their own eyes. Be careful with this series: It's incredibly easy to binge-watch!
2. Hulu: Jane
Jane Goodall is one of the most well-known primatologists and anthropologists in the world. Her groundbreaking research studying chimpanzees showcased how these creatures form distinct relationships, form social groups & bonds and act as family units in the wild.
In the National Geographic documentary called "Jane" (currently available on Hulu), you can learn all about Jane Goodall's life, research and passion for the protection of chimps and other animals. Students will also get to learn the details of Jane's experiments and studies while getting an in-depth look on how a professional scientist lives and works.
3. Amazon Prime: Unseen Enemy
This documentary on modern disease and epidemics is definitely fitting for the times.
Perfect for students and people interested in microbiology and infectious disease, "Unseen Enemy" aims to uncover why, in the 21st century, we're still seeing many sudden and widespread diseases around the world.
This documentary looks at the discovery and spread of three well-known modern epidemics: the flu, Zika virus and Ebola.
The documentary looks at how many influences can affect the spread of severity of an epidemic or a pandemic including population growth, urbanization of the world, climate change, travel, modern medicine and more.
4. YouTube: Journey to the Edge of the Universe
If you're looking for science documentaries that skew more toward physics, space and astronomy, look no further than this completely free offering on YouTube called "Journey to the Edge of the Universe_."_
This documentary produced by National Geographic and the Discovery channel will take you through our solar system and beyond to learn about planets, the formation of them, stars, black holes and other large mysteries of our galaxy and others.
You'll get views of space from the famous Hubble telescope, learn basic physics and astronomy concepts and perhaps get a little existential!
5. YouTube: Mankind Rising - Where Do Humans Come From?
This documentary that's available for free on YouTube looks at how humans came to be through thousands of years of evolution. It uses animation to showcase anthropological and scientific findings throughout history.
Using a time lapse, you'll journey from some of the first cells through each evolutionary step that brought us to where we are today. You'll learn about evolution, genetics, mutations, natural selection and many more concepts that scientists have learned, explaining the complex chain of events that lead to a species' development.
About the Author
Elliot Walsh holds a B.S in Cell and Developmental Biology and a B.A in English Literature from the University of Rochester. He's worked in multiple academic research labs, at a pharmaceutical company, as a TA for chemistry, and as a tutor in STEM subjects. He's currently working full-time as a content writer and editor.