Socratica is now an Amazon Influencer

Socratica doesn’t have any beauty recommendations for you. 


It’s fun, we just don’t have anything to contribute here.


And we don’t do Follow Me pictures.  We’re mostly sitting at our desks, working. 

follow me field

Kudos to Murad Osmann for popularizing this new style of photo.


But we can recommend great books ALL DAY LONG.


cornell library

THIS we can do!


I thought “Influencer” was a term only used for YouTube vloggers and the beautiful people on Instagram.  I’m happy to learn I was wrong!

Amazon has opened the doors of its Influencer Program to a wide variety of YouTube channels. This is an opportunity for these channels to share their favourite products, and for all of us to buy from their storefronts as a way to support these channels. The creators receive a small percentage of every purchase made through the links on their storefronts.

And now… Socratica is an Amazon Influencer. Did not think this was going to happen. But here it is, our new storefront:


Some clear pros and cons:


  • Easy to Use – I got this up and running in under 5 minutes.
  • Easy to Update
  • Includes pictures of items


  • Not customizable – we’d love to break this into sections (Math, Chemistry, Film Equipment)
  • No place to write blurbs. Let us say WHY we’re recommending a product.


I’m all for exploring alternate revenue streams, since YouTube ad revenue is not nearly enough to support a business.  So we set up our shop, and we’ll start sharing the link, and we’ll see what happens.  Let us know what you think (or if you have any other ideas to fund our scicomm work at Socratica).

Please share this link with your friends!


Subscribe to our Socratica YouTube channel here

FREE Socratica Apps on the Google Play Store


10 Back to School Tips for Success

We all think of ourselves as eternal students here at Socratica.  That means we get a little thrill every September, even though we’re not in the classroom anymore.

happy fall

Between us, the Socratica team has a LOT of experience points – both as students and teachers – we’ve learned a lot about how to be do well in school. That collected wisdom is what we’re trying to share in our Study Tips series.

Here’s our latest offering – advice on how to make this school year a great one:

10 Back to School Tips for Success.


Don’t feel like you have to tackle all 10 tips at once. Try incorporating one or two, and see if it helps. Not everyone has the exact same strengths and weaknesses. But in our experience, these strategies won’t hurt and may actually mean the difference for you.  Give it a shot!

Good luck and be sure to use our videos for help this school year!


Links to our playlists on YouTube:

Abstract Algebra





English Grammar



Study Tips

Please subscribe to our YouTube channel, and share with your friends!

To support more videos from Socratica, visit Socratica Patreon:

Shop Amazon Used Textbooks – Save up to 90%


Send Socratica to SXSW EDU!

Socratica might go to SXSW EDU…with your help!


SXSW (“South by Southwest” or just “SouthBy”)  is a HUGE conference held every year in Austin, TX. You may be more familiar with the arts side of the conference, but did you know there’s an education component? It’s called SXSWEDU, attended by thousands of teachers and administrators.

sxsw talk picture

Socratica has applied to give talks there in 2018 – but it really depends on our panel ideas getting “upvoted.” That’s where you come in!


You can register and vote for panels for free, no obligation. This is a way for the organizers to gauge interest. We’d love for you to show your support for Socratica, so we can share our channel and our experiences with thousands of educators.

Kim is proposing a Case Study of the pathways to becoming an online educator. She and two fellow EduTubers will be discussing their journeys from Scientist, to Teacher, to YouTuber.  Her panel is here: Scientist-Teacher-YouTuber: Paths to Online Edu

Michael is proposing a Workshop about how to make higher quality educational videos. He’ll be running the workshop with two other EduTubers who make great looking videos without spending a ton of money. His panel is here: Taking Your Educational Videos to the Next Level

You can see our founders at SXSWEDU in 2018! Please register (free) & vote!

After you register, it’s easy to get lost in the website. You can click these links to go directly to our panels to vote for them!  And please upvote other panels that look interesting to you. You don’t have to attend, but if you do, we’ll see you there!


Here are the instructions from SXSWEDU:

On Monday, August 7, the greater online community is invited to vote and share its input on your session idea through Friday, August 25. The community’s input will amount to 30% of the total score for your proposal. Your proposal will also be evaluated by the SXSW EDU Advisory Board (40%) and SXSW EDU staff (30%) during this time.

The community will have the opportunity to “Vote Up” or “Vote Down” on all session ideas (votes will be kept private) and add comments to each page. We encourage you to use this commenting feature to expand on your session idea, make notes of any updates or changes and even engage with the voting community.

Anyone with internet access can cast a single vote for as many proposals as they would like upon creating a PanelPicker account.

We really appreciate your helping to send us to this conference!  It’s a great opportunity to meet other educators and let more people know about the work we do at Socratica.  Every bit of awareness helps our channel stay in business.  Hope we see you next year in Austin! THANK YOU!


PS You’re Subscribed to Socratica, right?


Can you explain ECLIPSES ?


total eclipse

It’s your big chance to see the Sun’s CORONA.

You might have heard: there’s a TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE coming to the US on August 21, 2017.

solar eclipse 2017 path

Are you in the path of totality?

We’re so excited! We made a video explaining SOLAR ECLIPSES and LUNAR ECLIPSES.  Can you explain how these happen?  This is a great video to share with your friends and family before the big event. We describe what causes these two kinds of eclipses, and describe what you will see on the big day of the TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE. 


You must, must MUST get some safety glasses.

Many fake eclipse glasses have been sold on
Please read these articles and be safe!
Here is an approved list of vendors:


Sunglasses simply won’t do. PROTECT YOUR EYES!! Get GENUINE ECLIPSE GLASSES.

Do you have plans to see this incredible event? Have you ever seen an eclipse before? We’d love to hear about it.

Please subscribe to our YouTube channel, and share with your friends!

Don’t forget to check out our FREE educational apps on the Google Play Store.

To support more videos from Socratica, visit

Socratica Patreon

Socratica Paypal

We also accept Bitcoin! 🙂
Our address is: 1EttYyGwJmpy9bLY2UcmEqMJuBfaZ1HdG9








3 Lessons Learned from reaching 100K Subscribers on YouTube

We’ve been working so hard on our YouTube channel, Socratica.  We just reached an important milestone: 100,000 subscribers! At this point, you receive some recognition from YouTube, including an engraved silver play button plaque. 

silver gold and diamond play button

It’s the little one on the right.

Mostly we feel an enormous sense of relief that we’re on the right track.  We spent a lot of time experimenting with our channel until we found what works. We have an enthusiastic audience who loves watching math and science videos. That’s what we’re good at, so that’s what we’ll keep making!


Here, we’d like to share with you a few of our lessons learned the hard way.  Avoid our rookie mistakes!


 1.  FOCUS.


Your channel should have one very clear focus.  We started out making all kinds of videos under the umbrella “education,” and that was way, way too broad.  What’s worse, we even had videos with different languages, until we broke those off onto different channels, including Socratica Español and Socratica Português.  It wasn’t until we decided we were going to focus on STEM videos that our channel started to grow more steadily.




SEO (Search Engine Optimization) isn’t just for webpages.  Before you make a video, go to Google Trends and see if people are even interested in the topic.  Sometimes we use this as a tiebreaker if we’re trying to decide between several video topics.  Once you’ve hit a million subscribers, maybe then you can relax and make any video you want. Until then, make sure there is an audience for what you’re making.




Every time you stop production on your channel, it confuses and disappoints the YouTube algorithm. We used to go all in on very time-consuming videos, spending weeks at a time on very complicated animations (cough cough Black Holes video). Meanwhile, we weren’t publishing anything else on our channel.

We’re now making much more regular content that is simpler to produce: Abstract Algebra, Biology, Calculus, Chemistry, Python, Study Tips…You can expect to see at least one of these videos on our channel each week.  We do still occasionally squeeze in one of those Astronomy videos that take a ton of time and effort. We love making those “tentpole” videos, but we have to plan for them, and make sure it doesn’t shut down our whole studio.

We set a very high bar for our content, and we’re sticking to it. But we’ve learned how to compromise where we can, in order to be more consistent.  We hope these tips help you join us in the 100K club!

If you’re one of our 100,000 subscribers, thank you sincerely!  




To support more videos from Socratica, visit

Socratica Patreon
Socratica Paypal







Big day for us here at Socratica Studios.

Socratica 100

Have you subscribed to Socratica?





How to Take Cornell Notes for Middle School Science

We recently received a question from one of our viewers, Tracie Parks, about our Cornell Notes video:

Cornell notes question


Tracie found our video about how to take notes helpful, especially because it shows HOW someone would take notes during a lecture, using a specific lecture!  This video features one of our videos about the History of the Atom as an example.

We’re so glad to hear that Tracie is sharing our Study Tips Series with her 6th grader! That’s really the perfect time to foster those skills.  It takes years to be a Great Student, and Middle School is when most kids start to be challenged to do more in school. They start to take notes in class, read books for information that will be tested on, and write papers.  These are the kinds of skills we want to help people with with our Study Tips.

Tracie was hoping we had an example that was a little more accessible to her middle schooler.  We do have a series of science videos that are perfect for middle-schoolers.  This series is all about those questions that pop up but you’re not sure of the answer – Why is the sky blue? Why is the ocean salty?  Here’s a video about Why Leaves Change Colour in the Autumn:


Now let’s show you how we would take notes for this video.  First, we’d prepare our paper (or buy paper already prepared for Cornell Notes), drawing lines for a big Notes section, a smaller Cues section on the left, and a Summary section on the bottom:


Then when we start our lecture, we’d take quick notes on the major points, making sure to write down key terms like the names of the pigments. After the lecture, we’d check on the spelling of these terms to make sure they are correct in our notes.


Notice there’s a lot of space between the different sections. That way, when we review our notes later, there’s room to add anything we missed.  The little headings in the Cues section helps organize the different ideas.


Finally, after the lecture is over, we’ll re-read our notes (maybe check them with a friend or with the textbook), and then we’ll write a brief Summary.



Tracie, have your 6th grader watch this video series and take notes, as practice. Remember you don’t have to write down every word!  Just the key ideas. Use abbreviations when you can. 

One BIG advantage of watching videos is that you can pause, rewind, or even watch the whole thing over again if you didn’t understand it the first time. And you can post questions in the comments!

Thanks so much for sending in your question. We’re absolutely thrilled to think we are helping someone on the beginning of their journey to be a GREAT Student!! 



We recommend:

Cornell Notes style filler paper on Amazon:

Cornell Notes spiral notebook:

Tomato Timer (use this for the Pomodoro Technique):

The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin (Chess Prodigy):

Amazon Used Textbooks – Save up to 90%

Please subscribe to our YouTube channel, and share with your friends!



To support more videos from Socratica, visit

Socratica Patreon

Socratica Paypal

We also accept Bitcoin! 🙂
Our address is: 1EttYyGwJmpy9bLY2UcmEqMJuBfaZ1HdG9


If you’d like to wear our Socratica shirts, please visit our CafePress site:
They ship worldwide!!

Grey hoodie here:









Photoshop for Beginners


I generally do all my work in Adobe Audition, Premiere, and After Effects.  I’ve barely scratched the surface of Photoshop, but more and more I see it recommended that we use Photoshop for making thumbnails for our YouTube videos.


When we started making YouTube videos, we didn’t have any choice about the thumbnails.  YouTube gave us 3 images to choose from, automatically generated from somewhere in our video. As you can imagine, they didn’t make for the most interesting, eye-catching thumbnails:


This is pretty…terrible.

Thankfully, after a couple years of this, YouTube relaxed the restrictions and allowed us to generate our own thumbnails.  Video thumbnails can almost be thought of like mini movie-posters.  How can you tell the story of your video in the blink of an eye?


This might be easier if we made videos about strawberries.

At some point, we need to go back and make decent thumbnails for all of our old videos. Fingers crossed we can raise enough money on Patreon to be able to hire an assistant to help us with this kind of work!

But for now, we’re on our own, so we need to carve out a little time and energy to make sure all of our newest videos get the royal Photoshop treatment.

Now we’re not planning on going crazy.  We don’t need to look like fashionplates or anything:


These are both quite terrifyingly beautiful.

No, no, we just need to make our thumbnails stand out a little more. Do a little colour correcting, add some text, and layer in a relevant image. Sometimes we can pull this off in Premiere right in the same file when we’re editing our video, like this thumbnail we made for Black Holes:


But all our sources say Photoshop is the way to go. It’s just more flexible and you can do so much more.  I’m ready to learn!

Today I read a book called “THE ULTIMATE BEGINNER’S GUIDE FOR MASTERING ADOBE PHOTOSHOP!”  I wouldn’t call it the Ultimate guide.  I was able to read it in about an hour, and it walked me through the basic menus and toolbars.  It did let me know that the toolbar was roughly broken into sections: selection tools/ pixel editing tools/ text & vector editing tools/ and navigation tools.  See, I didn’t know that.  But it didn’t tell me nearly enough to MASTER Photoshop.  I think they oversold the title a little. It didn’t even tell me what’s the point of flattening layers, and I really want to know what that’s all about.

Anyone have a set of #photoshop tutorials they can recommend? Much obliged!


Please subscribe to our YouTube channel, and share with your friends!

Don’t forget to check out our FREE educational apps on the Google Play Store.

Socratica Patreon

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They ship worldwide!!





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! 


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! 


Please subscribe to our YouTube channel, and share with your friends!

Don’t forget to check out our FREE educational apps on the Google Play Store.

Learn the Alphabet FREE app:

Try our 50 States Android App – it’s FREE on the Google Play Store:

Periodic Table App on Google Play

Socratica Patreon

Famebit Sponsorships





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!


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We’d love you to join our team on Patreon: