Sciphile.org serves a population of science lovers and educators by providing them with free ideas and materials for science education and entertainment. It relies on a community of users and contributors like you to browse and test materials, rate lessons, comment, share, and contribute. If you benefit from our site — and we sincerely hope you do — the best way you can say thank you is to contribute your own brilliant science lesson. Whether it’s a lesson you developed in the classroom, something you taught your kid on a rainy afternoon, or just a clever idea you think is entertaining, we’d love to hear about it.
At sciphile.org we want you to contribute lessons and ideas of your own choice, in your own style, for your own needs. To facilitate that process, we deliberately try to avoid any detailed requirements on form, and we provide flexible authoring tools that make writing a lesson feel much like using a word processor.
The type of lesson we prefer to publish focuses on demonstrations or hands-on activities that encourage careful observation and inductive reasoning, both concepts at the heart of scientific practice. More and more often these days, students are directed to online lectures (or to textbook readings) to develop basic background in a subject outside of class, in an effort to offload much of the traditional lecturing and make room for more creative and engaging work in class. At sciphile.org, we concentrate on fun and engaging hands-on activities that teachers will want to bring back into their classrooms.
We subscribe to the idea that lessons often work best when they follow the "Wow that's cool! How does that work?" approach. The "wow that's cool" part comes from a single demonstration or activity that engages the student's attention and offers some direct interaction with the physical world. It might be a clever device, an unexpected result, or a whimsical experiment; whatever it takes to turn the lesson into scientific entertainment.
It may also invoke a puzzle that challenges the student's intuition about how something works, which leads naturally to the "how does that work?" part. Once you've captured the student's attention and focused it on trying to understand something, you have accomplished the most important step in teaching. Now the student is ready to learn the lesson behind the mystery.
Postings on sciphile.org are intended primarily for the educator or parent who wants to teach the material. For this audience, short lessons work best, involving just one activity or demonstration based on one or two scientific principles, with focused and detailed explanation. Explanations that benefit from more general scientific instruction might refer to a separate lesson containing that discussion. Other lessons might usefully offer surveys of related activities with a discussion of the science common to all of them.
As a rule of thumb, the teacher needs enough background and expertise to be confident about presenting the material, which often requires more detail than what is likely to be included in the class, and may include many links to outside resources. Lessons should be as complete as possible, not only in their scientific explanation, but also in the ancillary materials (figures, slide presentations, worksheets, etc.) that might be needed to bring the lesson into the classroom. Advice on presenting the material to different age groups or questions that might come up in class are always welcome.
Whatever lesson you'd like to share, we would be delighted to have you submit it for review and publication. Please check out our Getting Started - Publishing guide for details. We look forward to hearing from you.