Preparing students for activities in class can be challenging at first, but once the teacher establishes a solid source of materials for students to provide introductory knowledge, students have a wealth of reference knowledge from which they can build more skills. Resources that help establish the basic knowledge are known as primers. Primers prepare students to take on the challenges provided by teachers during classroom time.
Primers act in a way very similar to a lesson introduction. Students are given some information that triggers curiosity, asks an overall leading question about the content, provides a challenge to be completed at the end of the chapter/unit/year, and/or explains why learning the material is important. Across different subjects and age levels, primers will greatly vary. Primers will often include a question, an aspect of life that relates to students' lives, a demonstration of an equation or mathematical process, or recalling previous skills. Students watch this information to "get the gears turning" in synchronization with the topic being introduced.
Examples of Primer Videos:
Elementary Level: The Gas Giants
This video would allow students to gather information about the gas giants before coming to class. They could fill out an activity packet or answer a question about each planet. Afterwards, students can bring this knowledge to class and apply the knowledge even further in the classroom.
It is important to note that this video was made by a professional company. The animations and special effects are beyond what would be expected by a teacher initially, but with enough skill, a teacher could make a video of this quality. It is entirely acceptable to use materials created by others to supplement your classroom. Just make sure you give credit where possible, and you ensure the material is safe for your classroom.
Secondary Level: Multiplying Binomials by FOIL Method
This is a great video to send to students to watch for homework. After, the teacher can assign two problems for the students to try. They can replay the video as many times as they want so they can follow the process.
This video was done with a basic camera, one that can be found on a smartphone, iPad or other tablet, or even a webcam if the quality is good enough. Notice the videow as short and to the point, but the student can always watch the video again.