Our Open Letter to all Teachers who care about Children around the World


the virtual school physics is here!

It’s been an exciting week for the virtual school.  VS Coordinator Freddy and Content Maestro Nisha are in Seville, visiting the Project Murillo interns who’ve been creating some amazing content for the virtual school.

And we’ve also posted our first physics videos.  We’re starting off with radioactivity– something that most people have heard about, but many of us don’t understand very well.  Start here with “What is Nuclear Radiation?” Camille Sainsbury, Danny Pattison, Darren Campbell and Freya Holdsworth worked together on this video, recording and animating an explanation by physics teacher Dr. James Deeny.

Then we’ve got another explanation by Dr. James Deeny for “Types of Radiation.”  This one’s animated by Darren Campbell, who created a fun set of comic book characters for alpha particles, beta particles and gamma rays.  We absolutely love it!

A Molar Success!

Last week our Bonnie Tyler vs. Avogadro mash-up Molar Eclipse of the Heart hit the 6,500 views mark and we couldn’t be happier! A big thanks to all the followers, tweeters and bloggers who shared the video. If you missed it you can check it out below.

It may be another year til the next Mole Day but that’s no reason to stop learning. If Mole Day has brought out the chemist in you, head over to our growing chemistry channel HERE.

In the meantime, you can be sure that we’ve got plenty more musical goodness up our sleeve. Stay tuned!

Molar Eclipse of the Heart | Mole Day 2012

It’s Mole Day, everyone!

Only last week were we celebrating women in STEM thanks to Ada Lovelace Day. This week the science appreciation calendar let’s us unleash our inner chemistry fans and celebrate that wonderful unit of measurement, the MOLE!

It’s was all the way back in the 1800s that Amedeo Avogadro introduced us to the handy unit, and today it remains a vital tool for scientists.

In the name of Mole Day our team has been working on a musical treat for the many Avogadro fans around the world.

Without further a do, Molar Eclipse of the Heart!

(Given the catchy nature of the number, we’ve included the lyrics below.)

Underground, moles are little animals with really weird noses who like to dig around

Round and brown, every here and there you’ll find a hairy brown spot on your skin, we also call that a mole!

Search around, moles are spies who work in private espionage, they spy in secret, and they don’t make a sound

Also found,
Everywhere in mexico Mole is a spicy sauce
Same spelling but a whole different sound!

Turnaround blind eyes
Don’t you know it’s more than you can tell

Turnaround blind eyes, moles can also mean something else
‘Cos in chemistry a mole.
Is a unit used to measure,
The atoms or molecules,
In a substance of whatever!
It’s the number of carbon twelve atoms
In twelve grams of carbon…
Matter’s filled with way too many atoms to count,
So use Avagadro’s number to express the amount!

For any type of matter: solid, liquid or gas,
The grams within a mole will equal atomic mass.
All you need is a mole!

Six-oh-two sextillion!
Six-oh-two sextillion!

Six point oh two two, one four oh seven eight,
Times 10 to power of twenty three
That number’s a mole
We use it in chemistry.

Once upon a time Avagadro said hey!
And showed us the way out of the dark,
His number you must use,
A molar eclipse of the heart.

A molar eclipse of the heart.

Practice Makes Perfect

If you’ve been watching our videos on YouTube, you’ll hopefully have learned some useful stuff (or at least been reminded of things you used to know).  But watching a video and understanding it is just the first step.  The next thing is to practice and apply what you’ve learned.  That’s why we’re bringing you video-based practice questions.

Read through the question, pause the video, and try to work it out for yourself.  Once you’ve got an answer (or if you get stuck), you can press play and watch the teacher working through the problem. If you got it right, then great!  Time to move on to the next chapter.  If you’re still struggling, don’t worry!  You’ve got the resources at your fingertips: just go back and review the videos in the chapter.  Or post a question in the comments below the video, and we’ll help you out!

So, let’s give it a go.  Here’s Practice Exam Question #1 from our chemistry chapter on Atoms:

Think you need some review to be able to answer that?  No prob.  Just watch here to learn all about atoms:


Happy Studying!

Ada Lovelace Day | Celebrating women in STEM

Happy Ada Lovelace Day folks!

Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace was a mathematician and – along with Charles Babbage– a founder of modern computing. In fact, Babbage called her the “The Enchantress of Numbers” (as if her name wasn’t awesome enough).

 Ada Lovelace Day gives us the chance to celebrate all the role-model women working in science, technology, engineering and maths, as well as inspire the next generation of Lovelaces.

To get involved and find out more you can head over to www.FindingAda.com or check out our twitter account (@virtualschooluk) where we’ve been tweeting work from our very own women in STEM (that’s science, technology, engineering and maths) every hour to mark the occasion!