Reading and freedom

Open book with quote from Frederick Douglass: ‘Once you learn to read you will be forever Free.’

Frederick Douglass (1817-1895) escaped from slavery to become a famous abolitionist and social reformer in the United States. He became known for his powerful oratory and writing, including his bestselling autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. This is available for free download, in a number of formats, from Project Gutenberg.

You can find more inspirational quotes in my post Looking for a Little Inspiration?

Turn Your Phone into a Microscope

In case you need a microscope but only have… some honey!

Wrote this for, initially so kids could take part in a fruit fly survey even if they didn’t have a hand lens or microscope. I produced two versions of the video, the more sedate version included in the blog post and this 45s one intended for social media platforms with a faster pace. Let me know what you think.

45s portrait version of video

What if you need to look at something really small but you don’t have a microscope? You can can try taking a close-up picture with a smartphone or …

Turn Your Phone into a Microscope

Supporting Learning: Thinking 3D

New resources, for Mathematics, Art & Design, and History of Medicine, all inspired by an exhibition celebrating the legacy of Leonardo da Vinci.

The exhibition Thinking 3D ran at the Bodleian Libraries during 2019. It explored the legacy of da Vinci and his contemporaries for portraying, modelling and thinking about three dimensions. In my role as Education Officer, I and colleagues developed several resources for use in workshops with visiting school groups. Usually the resources we create for temporary exhibitions have a finite lifespan, but I was keen to develop these that into versions that teachers could use with their own classes in school.

Three resources are now available for free download from the Bodleian Education Teams’ TES shop.

Was Euler Right?


‘Was Euler Right?’ is a KS2 Mathematics resource exploring 3D shape and space. Students can build a variety of polyhedrons from the nets provided and use them in an investigation to test Euler’s hypothesis that for all regular convex polyhedrons:

Vertices + Faces – Edges = 2

Creating 3D


‘Creating 3D’ is aimed at KS3 Art students and explores a series of techniques used by artists to create the illusion of depth in 2D media:

  • Overlap
  • Relative size
  • Shading & shadowing
  • Single-point perspective

While each resource can be used as a standalone activity within a lesson, they combine in a progressive sequence. A final activity challenges students to draw a room using one-point perspective and the other techniques they have learned.

Build a body


Andreas Vesalius’ Renaissance anatomical work De humani corporis fabrica revolutionised the understanding of human anatomy. His painstakingly detailed drawings were based on his own direct observation of dissections and achieved a new level of accuracy. Such was the interest in his work that he produced a shorter version, the Epitome, in which he helped readers gain an understanding of the 3D complexity of the body by including paper template pages for the reader to cut out and build three dimensional models. This resource is a simplified facsimile enabling students to follow in Vesalius’ footsteps and build their own model.

Accompanying questions prompt students to consider the significance of the models in their historical context.

I hope you find these resources useful and I’d be interested to know how you got on using them with students. If you download any, I’d really appreciate a review on the resource site. Thanks.