STEM RESOURCES

Browse our free STEM resources for teachers, parents and students.

Accurate measurement with a micro:bit

Accurate measurement is critical to our everyday lives, and yet it is often taken for granted. When I buy petrol, I am assuming that the petrol pump is accurately measuring the petrol going into my car. This means that I pay the correct amount of money. Buying food is similar. If I buy 2 kg of...

Accurate measurement with a micro:bit

Accurate measurement is critical to our everyday lives, and yet it is often taken for granted. When I buy petrol, I am assuming that the petrol pump is accurately measuring the petrol going into my car. This means that I pay the correct amount of money. Buying food is similar. If I buy 2 kg of sausages from a butcher, or a...

How do we measure the senses?

We’ve all rated our pain at the doctor’s office, read an eye chart for a licence test, or told a friend the truth about their cooking. Despite the commonly held view that we have just five senses, we actually have many more, and we depend upon their accuracy and reliability for our day-to-day livelihood. The loss of sensation, for example in blindness or spinal cord injury,...

Proprioception: Sensing position and movement

In November I wrote about the senses, in particular the ones beyond the usual 5. This post focusses on the group of senses that tells us the position and movements of our body, called proprioception (pro-PREE-o-SEP-SHUN).

Proprioception is not a new discovery. The term proprio-ceptive has been used by physiologists...

Measuring how the brain controls breathing

Neural control of breathing

The muscles that make us breathe need to work or ‘contract’ both when we are awake and asleep to bring oxygen into the lungs (and remove carbon dioxide) to keep us alive. This contraction of our breathing or ‘respiratory’ muscles occurs because signals from the brain travel to the ‘motoneurones’ which are specialized cells in the spinal cord that cause muscles to contract. This ‘neural drive’...