SERIES PREMIERE: BIOLOGY

 

We’re launching a new series on Socratica! Today we released our first video about Biology. 

We’re starting with that most important molecule, DNA.  DNA provides all the instructions an organism needs to develop, survive, and reproduce.

Before you can really appreciate how DNA works to do all these vital tasks, you must understand the structure of DNA. That’s why we’re starting with this video!

We had a secret weapon for making this video. We knew we wanted to build a model of DNA, but we didn’t want to just buy a kit that snaps together. Honestly – that’s just too easy. It’s all too easy to snap the pieces together without really digesting what you just built.

Our special tool?  A 3D Printing Pen!

MorphPen was kind enough to send a 3D printing pen to Socratica for us to try.  It’s like nothing else we’ve ever tried before. Sort of like an incredibly pliant, quick-drying clay that goes right where you want it to. We can make 3D sculptures! 

giphy

We’ve always known how vital it is to draw something, if you want to really understand its shape. Think of all those maps you drew as a child.

But to be able to draw in 3D is a game-changer!

If you’d like to #trymorphpen yourself, here’s a link:

Thanks for checking out our new series! Let us know in the comments what you think! 

KHH

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morphpen: https://www.morphpen.com/collections/3d-drawing-morph-pen-collection/products/blue-3d-printing-pen

 

SERIES PREMIERE: CALCULUS

Socratica has just started a new math series on Calculus.

Our first episode is an overview, called  What is Calculus :

This series stars our co-founder, Michael Lee Harrison.  Michael is a mathematician, who has a lot of valuable experience under his belt.  He got his BS in math at Caltech, and continued his studies at UC Berkeley and University of Washington . He holds an MS in math from UW and is ABD on his PhD…we’ll see if we can round up some more abbreviations for our next profile!

Michael taught math at the college level for several years, where he was a good-humoured and encouraging instructor.  He next went into finance, working as a “quant” (quantitative analyst).  He then worked at Google as a developer for five years before leaving to start Socratica.

You’ve seen Michael’s work on Socratica for years now, but this is the VERY FIRST TIME he has stepped in front of the camera.  More to come soon!

KHH

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Our Fab Music Videos with Kat McDowell

You hear a lot of advice as a small YouTube channel.  Make more videos!  Tweet every day!  Shareability!  Longer videos!  Likes! Annotations!  Ask them to Subscribe!

But the big piece of advice we never took was: COLLABORATE. 

rising tide lifts all ships

A rising tide lifts all ships, the saying goes, and the idea is that if your channel can help out another, you should do it.  And don’t worry about contacting a channel with more subscribers than you – you could be bringing in a brand-new audience to the bigger channel.  Everyone wins.

It’s easier said than done, of course.  We’ve tried to pull of collaborations before, but something always got in the way:  schedule conflicts, too big of a difference in style, lack of funds.

But this year, with the help of the YouTube NextUp program, we finally did it.  We made two videos with our friend Kat McDowell – one for her channel, and one for ours!

This time, everything went right, the stars aligned, and the fates smiled on us.  We met Kat at an event at YouTube Space LA, and we recognized her from one of our favourite music videos – her cover of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” She’s a singer-songwriter from Japan and New Zealand, who makes “positive surf-pop” that will bring a smile to your face.

We knew we wanted to collaborate with Kat, but it was just a matter of finding a time and place to make it happen. Amazingly, we were both selected to take part in the YouTube NextUp program!  This meant we were in the same place at the same time for an entire week, with beautiful filming studios and tons of equipment at our disposal.

SUCCESS!

We hope you enjoy the videos as much as we enjoyed making them.

Here’s the video about Musical Harmony we made for our channel:

 

And here’s the music video “Human” we made for Kat’s channel:

 

 

Remember to tell your friends about Socratica Studios, and encourage them to try our videos and subscribe!

KHH

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Don’t forget to check out Kat McDowell’s channel  for more beautiful music! 

 

 

Related Post:

Game Changer: YouTube NextUp

Our YouTube NextUp Classmates

 

Have we been sucked into a black hole? YES!

Black holes have captured imagination since they were first proposed as “Dark Stars” – massive objects with so much gravitational pull that nothing can escape – not even light.

the-black-hole-lp1

At the time, the most expensive Disney movie ever.

Did you see the Disney movie back in the day? We saw it as children, and that might have had something to do with why we HAD to make this video. That and our physics professors in college describing the process of “noodling out” – stretching and stretching as you are sucked in to a black hole.

One of our much-admired professors from Caltech, Kip Thorne, served as the science advisor for the film Interstellar.  This movie gave the best visual description to date of a black hole, and it inspired our work here.

Kip Thorne helps Jessica Chastain with her boardmanship.

Kip Thorne helps Jessica Chastain with her boardmanship.

We’ve been working on this one for quite a while. It’s our most ambitious video yet. Please share it with all the stargazers you know.

KHH

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We recommend:

ScienceofInterstellarMech.indd

The Science of Interstellar by Kip Thorne

Chemistry Lessons: pH

We have a new video in our ongoing Chemistry playlist on YouTube!

Chemistry students all learn to calculate pH.  They know it has something to do with acids, and bases, and they probably get the chance to play with litmus paper or make an indicator out of red cabbage.

Litmus-Test

Red for acid, blue for base.

But do they really know what it means?

Here’s our latest video to help students not just calculate pH, but understand what it means:

Don’t miss the ending. The pH of everyday substances is revealed!

KHH

#LearnMore

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You may also like our Periodic Table app. It’s FREE on the Google Play Store!

We recommend:

litmus paper

Litmus Paper Test strips for testing at home (pH 1-14)

Quote

Too Little, Too Late, Too Pink

Tulipa Liliaceae

I’d like to share a great blog post I found while rummaging around on a STEM education Google+ community.  It’s from “Listing Towards 40,” written by Kim Z. Dale.  She discusses, with several real-life examples, the “pinkification” of STEM education foisted on so many girls growing up (and the boys are seeing this, too, of course, and coming to their own conclusions).

Dale writes,

Girls are underrepresented in STEM fields, but how can we get more girls interested in science, technology, engineering, and math? To date many STEM education initiatives have taken the sex ed approach. Girls are isolated from the boys and given their own, gender-specific, introduction to coding, building, and problem solving. The intentions are good, but segregation keeps girls cast as outsiders in STEM fields.

Do we really need to dress up science and technology education to hide the bitter taste like it was so much arugula?  Do we need to exclude boys from “special” programs intended to draw girls in?  It all feels terribly wrong.

 

STEM education for girls:  Too little, too late, too pink

KHH

 

Related Articles:

Girls and Software, by Susan Sons (Linux Journal)

GoldieBlox Ad Encourages Girls to Try Engineering (US News and World Report)

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