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10 adorable animated characters from the first year of TED-Ed

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TED-Ed-anniversaryA year ago today, the TED-Ed website launched. Since then, the site has published 175 original animated lessons, ranging from “How simple ideas lead to scientific discoveries” to “Insults by Shakespeare,” with visits from more than 2,750,000 people. Teachers have used the site to create roughly 2,000 lessons per month around YouTube videos. (Here’s how.)

For an adorable look at more stats from TED-Ed’s first year, head to the TED-Ed blog. Below, we celebrate TED-Ed’s first birthday with our 10 favorite characters from TED-Ed lessons so far.

2-Aaron_Sams How is chemistry like dating? Educator Aaron Sams explains in the lesson “How to speed up chemical reactions (and get a date).” Meet Harriet, the red-headed scientist who, in high school, had a run-in with a crush in the hallway that led to a prom date. The process was strangely similar to the way particles move.
4-Liza_Donnelly In the incredible lesson “Inside a cartoonist’s world,” from The New Yorker cartoonist Liza Donnelly, this character shows the process of how cartoonists work. They are the playwright, director, stage designer, choreographer, and costume designer of these miniature, drawn plays.
7-Colm_Kelleher Mmmm, pizza.  It’s delicious — but also messy to eat. In the lesson “Pizza physics (New York-style)” this animated slice talks you through how to eat pizza neatly, while teaching you the mathematical and physics principals involved in the act.
6-Michael_Mitchell This green guy represents big unknown numbers — like the number of piano tuners in the city of Chicago and the number of M&Ms in a gigantic bin. In this lesson from educator Michael Mitchell, “A clever way to estimate enormous numbers,” learn a very cool way to estimate using the power of ten.
1-George_Zaidan Affectionately dubbed “yarn lady,” this character appears in the lesson “How do cancer cells behave differently from healthy ones?” Why the name? Because her organs and body are literally made of yarn – some crocheted, some knitted, some simply balled. Find out why the animators chose yarn (and seeds and candy) to bring this lesson to life in this how-to blog post.
9-John_Lloyd John Lloyd gave a classic TED Talk back in 2009 about the many things in the universe that are invisible. The talk got a magical, animated TED-Ed redux this year, in the lesson “What’s invisible? More than you think.” In it, Lloyd becomes a very knowledgeable park ranger walking you through the wonder of the world.
3-Aaron_Reedy These adorable line drawings are an animated renderings of educator Aaron Reedy and his wife, who was pregnant at the time. In the lesson “Sex determination. More complicated than you thought,” Reedy outlines the surprising factors that helped determine whether he’d have a daughter or a son.
8-Matthew_Winkler All heroes — from Harry Potter to Katniss Everdeen — are related to this generic hero and his journey. He appears in the lesson “What makes a hero?” in which educator Matthew Winkler walks you through the characteristics and life paths that all heroes have in common.
10-Tom_Whyntie How did the Earth, not to mention all of space, begin? In this lesson from CERN physicist Tom Whyntie, “The beginning of the universe, for beginners,” we find out. The lesson stars a talking sun, but the highlight for us is the appearance of Edwin Hubble, the scientist who first noticed that our universe is expanding — evidence of the big bang.
5-Michele_Weldon We love this fireman and dog from the lesson “Capturing authentic narratives,” from Michele Weldon. The lesson lays out the basics of good journalism — asking interesting questions while interviewing sources from official channels, sources who were affected by the story and sources who have interesting background information.