Skip to main content

5 TED-Ed Lessons about awesome women in history

By Laura McClure on March 28, 2016 in TED-Ed Lessons

explorers_2 (1)

If it’s true that well-behaved women seldom make history, then we’d like to introduce you to a few of our favorite troublemakers. Here are 5 TED-Ed Lessons about remarkable women:

1. The pharaoh that wouldn’t be forgotten

Hatshepsut was a female pharaoh during the New Kingdom in Egypt. Twenty years after her death, somebody smashed her statues, took a chisel and attempted to erase the pharaoh’s name and image from history. But who did it? And why? Kate Narev investigates Hatshepsut’s history for clues to this ancient puzzle. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.

2. The true story of Sacajawea

In the early 19th century, a young Agaidika teenager named Sacajawea was enlisted by explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to aid her husband Toussaint Charbonneau as a guide to the Western United States. Karen Mensing debunks some of the myths that surround the familiar image of the heroic woman with a baby strapped to her back and a vast knowledge of the American wilderness. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.

3. The contributions of female explorers

During the Victorian Age, women were unlikely to become great explorers, but a few intelligent, gritty and brave women made major contributions to the study of previously little-understood territory. Courtney Stephens examines three women — Marianne North, Mary Kingsley and Alexandra David-Néel — who wouldn’t take no for an answer (and shows why we should be grateful that they didn’t). Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.

4. The wars that inspired Game of Thrones

Beginning around 1377, medieval England was shaken by a power struggle between two noble families, which spanned generations and involved a massive cast of characters, complex motives and shifting loyalties. Sound familiar? Alex Gendler illustrates how the historical conflict known as the Wars of the Roses served as the basis for much of the drama in Game of Thrones. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.

5. The immortal cells of Henrietta Lacks

Imagine something small enough to float on a particle of dust that holds the keys to understanding cancer, virology and genetics. Luckily for us, such a thing exists in the form of trillions upon trillions of human, lab-grown cells called HeLa. But where did we get these cells? Robin Bulleri tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, a woman whose DNA led to countless cures, patents and discoveries. Watch this TED-Ed Lesson below.

For more animated video playlists, sign up here for the TED-Ed weekly newsletter >>

Tags: Alexandra David-Néel, Hatshepsut, Marianne North, Mary Kingsley, Sacajawea, Women & Girls, Women's History Month