Did you know that some cats are allergic to humans or that cows have best friends? No? Well, neither did I until I compiled this list of weird facts to tell students. The next time you notice your students’ attention waning, tell them one of these weird but true facts, and they will be amazed and eager to learn more! Not only will sharing these facts make your students surprised but there’s also a high probability that your students will think their teacher is pretty cool, too! Here are my 30 favorite weird facts that will amaze everyone in your class.
30 Weird Facts To Tell Students
1. Honey never spoils.
Honey has natural antibacterial properties, low water content, and a high acidic level, which makes it an inhospitable environment for microbes and bacteria. Archaeologists have even found pots of honey in ancient Egyptian tombs that are over 3,000 years old and still perfectly edible!
2. Bananas are berries, but strawberries aren’t.
Botanically speaking, bananas qualify as berries because they develop from a flower’s ovary and contain multiple seeds. On the other hand, strawberries are considered aggregate fruits because they form from a flower that has many ovaries.
3. Wombat poop is cube-shaped.
Wombats produce cube-shaped droppings, which are thought to be an evolutionary trait that prevents the droppings from rolling away, marking their territory effectively and allowing them to communicate with other wombats.
4. The shortest war in history lasted 38 minutes.
The Anglo-Zanzibar War, fought between the United Kingdom and the Zanzibar Sultanate in 1896, lasted for a mere 38 minutes, making it the shortest recorded war in history.
5. There are more possible iterations of a game of chess than there are atoms in the known universe.
The number of possible ways a game of chess can unfold is vast, with the Shannon number estimating it at ten to the power of one hundred and twenty, a figure that is astoundingly larger than the estimated number of atoms in the observable universe, which is around ten to the power of eighty.
6. Some cats are allergic to humans.
Just as humans can be allergic to cat dander, some cats can be allergic to human dander or other elements we carry, leading to itchy skin and other allergic reactions.
7. The Eiffel Tower can grow taller in the summer.
When subjected to heat, the iron structure of the Eiffel Tower expands, causing the tower to grow by up to 6 inches during hot summer months.
8. A jiffy is an actual unit of time.
A “jiffy” is a scientific term representing 1/100th of a second. It’s often used in electronics and computing.
9. Cows have best friends.
Studies have shown that cows become stressed when they’re separated from their preferred companions, suggesting that these animals can form close bonds and even have “best friends” within their groups.
10. The word “alphabet” comes from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet: alpha and beta.
These two letters combined give us the word “alphabet,” which represents all the letters in a given language’s system of writing.
11. The smell of freshly-cut grass is a plant distress call.
What we interpret as a fresh smell is actually a chemical compound called green leaf volatiles that plants release when in distress, a sort of SOS.
12. There’s an official world record for time traveling.
Due to the effects of time dilation, as explained by Einstein’s theory of relativity, astronauts on the International Space Station age slightly slower than people on Earth. Sergey Avdeyev, a Russian cosmonaut, holds the “time travel” record by aging 20 milliseconds less than he would have on Earth after 747 days in space.
13. An octopus has three hearts.
Two of the hearts pump blood to the gills, while the third heart pumps it to the rest of the body. When an octopus swims, its third heart stops beating.
14. There’s a species of jellyfish that is biologically immortal.
The Turritopsis Dohrnii, or “immortal jellyfish,” can revert back to its juvenile form after reaching maturity, and it can theoretically do this process indefinitely.
15. The Guinness World Record for the longest hiccuping spree is 68 years.
Charles Osborne, from 1922 to 1990, hiccuped continuously, totaling an estimated 430 million hiccups in his lifetime.
16. You’re more likely to be bitten by a New Yorker than by a shark.
Historically, reports of people getting bitten by other humans in New York outnumber reports of shark bites worldwide in a given year.
17. A group of flamingos is called a “flamboyance.”
Many animals have unique collective nouns, and flamingos are no exception with their striking and vibrant “flamboyance.”
18. Your taste buds have a lifespan of 10 to 14 days.
This is why when you burn your tongue, it can heal relatively quickly. New taste buds are constantly being formed to replace old ones.
19. The dot over the letters “i” and “j” has a name.
It’s called a “tittle.” This tiny dot has its own special name in the world of typography.
20. Vending machines are more deadly than sharks.
More people are reported to die each year by trying to shake a vending machine to get a snack than by shark attacks.
21. A day on Venus is longer than a year on Venus.
A day on Venus, which is the time it takes for Venus to complete one rotation on its axis, lasts 243 Earth days. A year on Venus, or the time it takes to orbit the sun, is about 225 Earth days.
22. A bolt of lightning is five times hotter than the surface of the sun.
A lightning bolt can reach temperatures of up to 30,000 Kelvin, while the sun’s surface temperature is around 5,500 Kelvin.
23. There’s a town in Norway called “Hell.”
And yes, it does freeze over! Hell, Norway, experiences freezing temperatures in winter months.
24. Slugs have four noses.
Slugs rely heavily on their sense of smell, and having four tentacles, or “noses,” helps them detect food and navigate their environment.
25. The inventor of the frisbee was turned into a frisbee.
Walter Morrison, the inventor of the frisbee, was turned into a frisbee himself! When he died, he was cremated, and his ashes were turned into a frisbee.
26. There’s a species of ant that explodes as a defense mechanism.
The “exploding ant” (Colobopsis explodens) from Southeast Asia can rupture its own body to release a toxic substance to fend off threats, sacrificing itself in the process.
27. The unicorn is the national animal of Scotland.
Though mythical, the unicorn represents purity, innocence, and power in Celtic mythology, and it’s proudly recognized as Scotland’s national animal.
28. The word “nerd” was first coined by Dr. Seuss.
In “If I Ran the Zoo” in 1950, Dr. Seuss wrote about a creature called a “nerd,” which is believed to be the first recorded use of the term.
29. Cucumbers are technically fruits.
While often treated as vegetables in culinary contexts, cucumbers develop from flowers and contain seeds, classifying them botanically as fruits.
30. You can’t hum while holding your nose.
When you hum, you exhale while producing a sound. Holding your nose closed prevents you from exhaling, which means you can’t continue humming for more than a brief moment. Give it a try!
Activity Ideas To Use These Weird Facts In Class
While you can certainly tell your students these weird facts and they will be amazed, there are some fun ways you can use these facts in classroom activities. Here are the activities that I find work best.
Two Truths, One Lie
This classic icebreaker game is a perfect activity to use these weird facts. Choose two of the facts and make one up yourself. Then, tell all three to students and have them guess which one is the lie.
To get students involved, you can print out the weird facts and give 2 to each pair/group of students and have them come up with their own lie. Then, have each group tell the class their two truths and one lie and have them guess which one is the lie.
Group Research Project
Another great way to use these weird facts in class is to put students into groups and give each group one of the facts to research. They can use their cell phones or the school computers/tablets to find out more about the weird fact before they present their findings to the class.
True Or False Quiz
Although many of the above weird facts don’t sound true, they are. This makes them perfect for a True or False Quiz. Put students into pairs or small teams and give them a piece of paper to write their answers on. For each round, tell them either one of the weird facts above or something false and have them guess if it is true or false.
Free Weird Facts PowerPoint
Download this free PowerPoint and use it in class to show these weird facts to your students.
More Fun Resources
If you enjoyed these weird facts, then check out these related resources you can also use in class with students:
Funny Would You Rather Questions
Funny What If Questions
50 Famous Quotes About Education
Time Filler Activities