Science students will sometimes ask:  “What does a scientist do?”.  Many of the professional societies offer informtation about careers in their specialty.  I have used Connotea, a free service of The Nature Publishing Group, to collect links to those pages.  If a students asks you what a physicist, or biologist, or geologist does, go to this page.

I checked for broken links on February 8th, 2011.

You can sort my Connotea collection on any of the keywords on the left side of the screen.  The collection is currently sorted on careers.


Certain questions seem to arise periodically.  Requests for recommendations for good reading for science students falls into that category.  There are a few lists online that could be of use.  Those are listed below. 

In addition, it would be nice to collect recommended titles in one place.  If you will send titles of books that you find especially suitable for students, I will create a virtual library and share it.  You can leave comments on the blog, or contact me directly at

Last, but not least, I suggest that you work with your local librarian to find suitable materials.

NSTA Recommends is your best source for thoughtful, objective recommendations of science-teaching materials. Our panel of reviewers—top-flight teachers and other outstanding science educators—has determined that the products recommended here are among the best available supplements for science teaching. In the section called outstanding science trade books, you can limit by age level and format.  There are 95 book titles in the list.

Science NetLinks is part of Thinkfinity, a partnership between the Verizon Foundation and 11 premier educational organizations. The Thinkfinity partners include the AAAS, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Council on Economic Education, the National Geographic Society, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the International Reading Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, and the Literacy Network.  Here is the link to the  Science NetLinks suggested reading list.

Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page offers a list of books broken down by age groups.

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburg offers a service that break down by discipline suitable science and  technology books for young adults.

The ability to evaluate information is a critical skill to have.  There are several helpful web sites out there.

 Kathy Scrock’s web page “Brush Up on Internet Skills”  offers four lesson plans, including one on evalatuation. is an educational resource for high school teachers and students. It’s  designed to help students learn to cut through the fog of misinformation and deception that surrounds the many messages they’re bombarded with every day. Our site is a sister to the award-winning Annenberg Political Fact Check, which goes by the Internet address and monitors the factual accuracy of what is said in the nation’s political arena.

Both websites are projects of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, with funding for provided by a grant from the Flora Family Foundation.

QUICK, The Quality Information Checklist.

The Internet Detective:  Wise up to the Web is an excellent tutorial.

For the International Year of Physics (2005), the House of Experiments in Slovenia created a set of 50 posters designed to bring physics to the public.  The format is question and answer.  50 questions that are relevant to everyday situations were chosen and  short but scientifically correct and informative answers were provided.  One teacher commented:  “These are great!  They are just the type of question that students like to ask.”  I saved the image as a pdf and printed it off.

If you would like a scientific method poster for your classroom, you can find one at  It is a pdf file.  I am sure you can enlarge it with a plotter printer.

At the start of a new academic year, many teachers  look for decorative and informative posters for  the classroom.  Here are  a few suggestions.

American Physical Society

“Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Take Physics”

“Celebrate Women in Physics”

“Accelerate Your Mind”


“Minorities in Physics”

Tassia Owen, Public Outreach Specialist for APS,  will send posters to those who email her at physicscentral  To preview the posters go to:

Physics teacher Tony  Mangiacapre offers these resources for beginning the year (includes free physics clip art):

Physics teacher Brendan Noon offers this wisdom: When it comes to getting free posters, all you need to do is think about what images you want depicted and which government agency might be responsible for this information. Once you’ve determined that send an email telling them that you are  a poor educator looking to inspire students about that agencies purpose!

OSA Posters: 


Fermilab has some free posters:

These posters are not free, but have a modest price tag.

Looking for astrophysics posters try JPL:

Metric (SI) Resources are available for educators and children. These resources enrich the classroom curriculum and reinforce student learning. Links on this “Everyday Life” resource connect you to free and inexpensive materials suitable for different age groups. Contact:


or  NOAA

 Recently I have read several requests from new teachers asking for suggestions on how to connect with fellow STEM teachers.  This issue of Pat’s Picks will offer a few suggestions.The following two resources consist of materials that have been carefully selected by specialists. Both offer one the opportunity to create a virtual filing cabinet to share with students.comPADRE, the physics and astronomy portion of the National science Digital Library, offers 18 different collections. 

High school teachers will find the Physics Front Collection most helpful. The Nucleus collection is designed for students.

Project MERLOT also has materials for teaching physics.

In addition to these sites, individual teachers have created useful web pages.           

Brendan Noon              

Delores Gende AP Physics  

Sometimes science teachers feel isolated, especially if he or she is the only physics teacher in the district.  That is when social networking helps.           

 OPHUN-L            The State University of NY at Oneonta offers six different listservs for various fields of science.             

 PHYS-L  To look at the archives for the list, or to sign up, go to:  

Physics and Society  

Last, but not least, is TappedIn, a free social networking  system  which  allows a group to store and share documents and have virtual meetings to share ideas and materials.  I am a member of the Science Resources K-20+ and have a group for physics teachers.  One can log in as a guest to explore the system.   

I hope that you will take the time to explore some of these resources and find them helpful.


Pat the Retired Librarian

There are some excellent resources freely available on the Internet about the history of science.  Here are a few.

If one runs a search in Intute on science history, one retrieves over 2,000 links.  The good news is that one can limit to the physical sciences and narrow it down to 698. Intute (short for “internet tutorial” is the collaborative project of over 60 institutes of higher learning, the British Museum and the Brititsh library.

Intute offers Internet tutorials for each discipline. See the virtual training suite:

Another good source is the

The Net Advance of Physics: Review Articles and Tutorials in an Encyclopædic Format

This collection has biographies of many famous physicists and links to many other excellent resources, including the physics societies.

I hope that you find these resources helpful for your students.