• CGI film still from Habitat Earth showing two sea otters on the ocean surface
  • Habitat Earth Poster
  • Expedition Reef and its awards
  • Fragile Planet Poster
  • Earthquake poster
  • Incoming! poster
  • Life: A Cosmic Story poster

Inspire your students with these stunning HD films, available for free for educational use. These award-winning shows, originally designed to display in an immersive planetarium dome, have been reformatted for educational use as stand-alone films or as a series of short, modular clips featuring science and environmental content.

Teacher Tip: For any of our videos, you can click the Settings cog in the YouTube footer to adjust the Quality to up to 1080HD, and you can also toggle on Full Screen. You can also select Closed Captions in over a dozen languages, including Spanish and Chinese!


Living Worlds

A spacecraft analyzes the spectra of a faraway world.

Duration: 25 minutes
Appropriate for: Grades 6-12; NGSS connections for high school
NGSS Connections: HS-ESS2.D; HS-ESS2.E; HS-PS4.B

Whether earthly or alien, all life leaves a trace. Join narrator Daveed Diggs on a journey through space and time to discover how life makes Earth liveable, where it could be found elsewhere in the cosmos, and what new technologies we might use to find it. Along the way, you’ll learn how light and color can help us spot other living worlds even from vast distances—and develop a new appreciation for the one-of-a-kind planet right beneath our feet.


Big Astronomy

big astronomy: people, places, discoveries

Duration: 30 minutes
Appropriate for: Grades 6-12; NGSS connections for middle school
NGSS Connections: MS-ESS1-2; MS-ESS2-5; MS-ESS1-3; MS-PS4-2

It takes a team of people with diverse backgrounds, talents and skills, working under unique sky conditions, to make a world-class observatory succeed. Big Astronomy will introduce you to cutting-edge telescopes in the remote mountains of Chile and to the people who make sure these instruments operate day and night, unlocking the secrets of the universe.


Expedition Reef

trapezia crab attacks a crown-of-thorns-starfish

Duration: 26 minutes
Appropriate for: All ages; NGSS connections for grades 5-12
NGSS Connections: 5-LS2-1; 5-ESS2-1; 5-ESS3-1; MS-LS1-6; MS-LS2-3; MS-ESS-2; MS-LS2-4; MS-LS2-5; HS-ESS-1; HS-ESS2-2

Travel the globe to explore coral reefs teeming with life and learn how scientists are racing to develop sustainable solutions to protect these vitally important ecosystems for the future. Along the way, discover how corals live, breathe, and reproduce, supporting a quarter of all marine life on Earth and providing critical benefits to human communities in our ever-changing world.


Fragile Planet

Fragile Planet poster

Duration: 25 min
Appropriate for: Grades 3-12

Develop a renewed appreciation for our fragile planet through the lens of astronomy. The show’s theme—Earth as the only known haven for life, and the importance of protecting it—echoes the themes of biodiversity and sustainability. From the three-dimensional terrain on Mars to the locations of extrasolar planetary systems, everything audiences see in Fragile Planet is based on astronomers’ best understanding of the Universe.



Incoming Poster

Duration: 25 min
Appropriate for: Grades 6-12
NGSS Connections: HS-ESS1.C

Asteroids and comets have collided with our planet throughout history, changing the course of life on Earth and shaping the world we know today. Incoming! explores the past, present, and future of our Solar System and the landmark discoveries scientists have made sending spacecraft to visit tiny worlds. Cutting-edge visualizations bring astronomical data from NASA missions to life while taking audiences on a ride through the dynamic story of our cosmic origins. Along the way, audiences will discover what these impacts from above can teach us—and how scientific advances may allow us to find and track cosmic threats before they reach planet Earth.


Habitat Earth

Habitat Earth poster

Duration: 24 min
Appropriate for: Grades 3-12
NGSS Connections: LS2.A; LS2.B; LS1.C; LS2.C; LS4.D; ​ESS3.C

We think of ourselves as self-sufficient, but humans live within an intricate network of plants, animals, and other life forms that support us in myriad ways. In this new show from the Academy, discover the beauty, variety, and vast complexity of these relationships—from the food webs of San Francisco Bay to the mutually beneficial partnerships in a Douglas fir forest community. You'll learn how life changes our planet—and how we benefit from our connections to the life that surrounds us.



Earthquake poster

Duration: A collection of 1-5 min video clips 
Appropriate for: Grades 3-12
NGSS Connections: ESS1.C; ESS2.A; ESS2.B; ESS3.B; PS4.A

​Head on a sweeping geological journey that explores the forces that transform the surface of our planet. Witness the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the break-up of Pangaea 200 million years ago. Data-driven visualizations illustrate Earth’s story, revealing how subtle motions and sudden ruptures have shaped our planet over eons—and how geological activity influences the course of human history. Originally a 24-minute Planetarium show, video footage and animations from this film became Exploring Earthquakes, a rich collection of resources co-presented by the California Academy of Sciences and KQED.


Life: A Cosmic Story

Life: A Cosmic Story poster

Although you'll have to come to the Academy to witness this show in the Planetarium dome, we've repurposed this clip for use by educators.

Take a journey inside a leaf of a redwood tree. Enter the stoma and view the inside of a plant cell, translucent enough to capture light from the sun. Fly by familiar structures like the nucleus and mitochondria, and settle into the chloroplast to watch photosynthesis at work. Reflect on the change in scale as you travel down to the molecular level.

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