Head Squeeze–a resource for engaging students in STEM subjects

At Head Squeeze, James May and his crack team of sci-geeks, maths-nerds and tech-heads provide answers to all your burning questions. From everyday curiosities to the latest mind blowing discoveries; our experts break it down for you and give their own left-field insights, sideways interpretations and bizarre, entertaining facts.”

You can find the free resources from head squeeze here.

Listen to James May talk about Head Squeeze:

Examples of the type of video (that you might use with students)

If you visit and find the resources useful, tell them that I sent you!

Science video clips to use in class from the BBC Learning zone

The BBC learning zone currently has some useful resources available for you to use in the classroom or link to from your own websites (perhaps those of you who share a blog/Twitter stream with your group).

Here they are, courtesy of the BBC, for your viewing and teaching pleasure!


Title Link
The ImagineersA series of inspirational films  (in production) celebrating the work of young engineers trying to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems. Presented by Fran Scott


Coming Soon!
Beneath the Lab CoatTV presenter Rani Price explores existing and future aspirational careers involving science, meeting young men and women working at the cutting edge of fashion, food, rocket science and computer chip technology.


The Science of Space DiveShort films explain how science made possible Felix Baumgartners amazing leap into the unknown. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01phpyy/clips
Made of MoneyRadio1 Newsbeat journalist Adina Campbell helps young people take control of their cash by creating a budget, finding a bargain, understanding debt and APR, and starting to save http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01pwwm9/clips
Alchemist’s ApprenticeCambridge chemist Dr Peter Wothers offers 12 Key Stage 3 students the unique opportunity to join him in his laboratory for a master class exploring the four ancient elements: Water, Earth, Air and Fire – with explosive results. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01rghrj/clips
Royal Institute Christmas Lectures (2012) http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01pp026/clips
The Code (reversion)Each film begins with a mystery that will be explained by a mathematical concept, taking viewers on an odyssey to uncover the code and reveal its meaning. Presented by Professor Marcus du Sautoy. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01bd49x
Genius of Invention (reversion)Our experts explain how these inventions came about by sparks of inventive genius and steady incremental improvements. They separate myth from reality in the lives of the great inventors and celebrate some of the most remarkable stories in British history. Coming Soon!
Wonders of Life (reversion)

Ep 1-Prof Brian Cox explores how Earth became host to the incredible natural world we see today.

Ep 2-Prof Brian Cox explains how life is shaped by both the environment and the laws of nature.

Wonders of the Universe (reversion)Professor Brian Cox witnesses the wonders of the universe through some of the most breathtaking environments on Earth. In the process, he reveals how the most fundamental scientific principles and laws explain not only the story of the universe, but the story of us all. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01117nd/clips
MegabitsFive short videos from real life work settings about about how computers actually work. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01kl16t/clips
3, 2, 1 Go!3 2 1 Go! takes kids into the mathematical world that underpins their favourite sport. Versions for Key 3 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01fhj81/clips
Materials: How they WorkScientist Mark Miodownik reveals the fascinating world of metals, ceramics and plastics. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01hkyfr/clips
Bitesize ScienceScientist and rapper Jon Chase has 60 entertaining minutes to reveal his top 20 demonstrations and brings school science to life using music, magic tricks and everyday objects such as toffees, coins, and cups of very sweet tea. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01hmz85/clips
Bitesize Space ScienceJon brings alive a series of fun and engaging demonstrations introducing the subject of space science to Scottish Nationals and GCSE pupils. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qy21k/clips
Inside the Human Body (reversion)Using spectacular graphics based on the latest science and stories of remarkable people around the world, Michael Mosley takes us on a fantastic voyage through our inner universe. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b015gncq/clips
Orbit: Earth’s Extraordinary Journey (reversion)Presenters Kate Humble and Dr Helen Czerski follow the earth’s voyage around the sun for one complete orbit, to witness the astonishing consequences this journey has for us all. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01h8n9m/clips



Using low/mid range visualisers for chemistry demos and why homemade might be best.

I’ve had a visualiser for a while now after I saw them in everyday use in Chinese schools.  Mine is an Avermedia CP130 visualiser which I generally use connected to a PC (greater resolution/ability to capture video/images).  I’ve used it to project up examples of student work for which it works very well.  It works well with printed images/flashcards and I’ve always been pleased with the results.

My KS4 students have been looking at trends in the periodic table.  I thought that a visualiser would be perfect for showing the reactions of the alkali metals, and for recording them to show absent students.  I tried to get the camera head into a suitable position but where it wouldn’t be at risk of jumping potassium which was easier said than done (I didn’t want to risk damaging it).  Let’s say I wasn’t very impressed.

This is typical of the still images I collected

This is typical of the video I recorded (I’ve removed the sound since it was captured using the microphone on my laptop and wasn’t much use).

I wasn’t impressed with the quality of the recorded video, and having the flexible neck on the camera didn’t allow the range of usable viewing angles that you would imagine.  My advice?  I’ve seen fellow bloggers talk about building a low cost visualiser (e.g. GlenGilchrist).  My advice is build your own – the quality of video from a home built visualiser will at worse be equal to the quality of the video I captured and would likely be much better.  As well as saving money you are more likely to be adventurous with a camera costing under £50.

BTW I’ll stick to recording my demonstrations with my Flipcam and mini-tripod!