Links to Resources
We think there is an incredible wealth of information freely available on S.T.E.M. topics. Below is a very brief listing of some of the sources that have inspired us and that we think are excellent. We also support and refer to Wikipedia regularly, though we recognize it is crowdsourced and cannot be taken as the ultimate authority on most matters.
We are also raising a daughter who loves to code. At time of writing (early 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic), the author has come to realize, especially due to COVID, that computers, coding and AI, and all things virtual, will only grow in influence and importance. It's not hard to foresee a world where great coders and technology innovators are more powerful than Prime Ministers, Presidents, and other World Leaders. Perhaps Bill Gates is already there at time of writing (2021), and of course, Elon Musk. Perhaps others. Resistance is futile.
Also, the author will sleep at night believing that this online store, and learning about physics, chemistry, etc. is in fact very simpatico with coding - electromagnetic signals interact with silicon in an almost miraculous way at the transistor level, and it's been unleashing breathtaking creative genius among coders worldwide. The author just hopes to be able to get a PS5 one day. Sigh.
So we've reorganized the list to include coding-related links FIRST (including generally "math" related sites), and the "physical" sciences (and everything else) SECOND. Sites that include some of each are in the FIRST grouping. Within each list, most items are ordered chronologically by when we first became aware of the item.
Our lists below will always be incomplete. Please feel free to email us your favourites and we'll be happy to add them below.
1. Coding and Virtual Sites
Kid's Online Learning Tools for Science, Technology and Beyond. This site was suggested to us and contains links to tons of Science Fair Project ideas to explore, STEM Activities for Kids, and coding and programming resources for all ages.
Software Programming and Coding Glossary for Kids This site was also suggested to us and contains a programming glossary, plus links to online programming games and projects to work on, and general computer science information for all ages.
DroneBotWorkshop.com An awesome (and free) source if you want to build your own electronics, Internet of Things (IoT) device, drones and/or robots.
Visual Capitalist. We applaud their stated mission "to help cut through the clutter and simplify a complex world", and to "highlight the bigger picture through data-driven visuals." Be sure to check out: "A Visual Guide to Who was In Power from 1970 to Today", and All of the World's Spaceports on One Map.
Chartr A small, self-funded and independent media company that provides "Data storytelling" for "visual thinkers and data-driven professionals". Includes a newsletter option. Here's an example:
Science Games and Puzzles - A great compilation of word games and puzzles that kids can use to improve their vocabulary, spelling and grammar while also brushing up on a variety of science topics. This site was suggested to us.
Molview.org A great tool to visualize and understand molecules. For example, here's an extract of one most of us are familiar with... caffeine :-)
Background Noises • Ambient Sounds • Relaxing Music | myNoise® A free website that "creates beautiful noises to mask the noises you don’t want to hear : your chatty colleagues, tinnitus, or even your inner voice when you can't shut it down!"
Michigan Virtual An excellent and deep resource for K-12 teachers, students and parents including online courses (both free and paid). In Michigan Virtual’s podcast called “Bright”, they interview teachers located across the state of Michigan who, like countless teachers worldwide, have been doing an outstanding job in dealing with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Desmos Graphing Calculator A very powerful and useful free resource that can graph functions: super-useful when studying functions, pre-calculus, physics, calculus, etc.
Computer Chip Visualizer. A remarkable simulation and visualization of how a computer chip works. Specifically, it's a "MOS6502 chip", first introduced in 1975. Here's a link to the Wikipedia article: MOS Technology 6502 - Wikipedia.
Kids' Coding Activities Guide. A curated list of coding games and activities for students of all levels. This resource and the keyboarding one below were suggested to us by Hailey D.S.
Kids' Computer Basics: Keyboarding. Includes several activities, games and exercises to help make good keyboarding habits fun.
Matlab. Self-described as the easiest and most productive computing environment for engineers and scientists. Includes math, graphics, and programming.
Window Swap A neat virtual service we discovered during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the name implies, you open windows all around the world. We paid the US$20 for the all-access. You could help yourself choose where to live pretty fast (if you like sitting near a window) :D.
Wordle At time of writing, Jan. 11/22, this game is taking the world by storm. Check it out, if you haven't already. Beware: highly addictive.
5 Letter Word Finder, Solver & Unscrambler (5-letter-words.com) A handy site we found in early 2023 to help get you un-stuck in a certain 5-letter game.
75+ Wordle Alternatives (crossword-solver.io) a huge list of over 75 Wordle clones with a wide range of themes (Harry Potter inspired, geography, movies, music, and a ton more). There are even a few dozen Wordle games in various languages for those who might want to use them as a language learning tool. Sent to us by Katie Hylton.
Five Books. A super useful website to find the top 5 recommended books on any topic of interest. Both fiction and non-fiction.
Clickspring. We learned of this awesome website from a Tested YouTube video with Adam Savage. Tons of ideas for complicated things and how they are made.
Thispersondoesnotexist. A weird website we first learned from Morning Brew. 100% AI-generated faces.
Myvision.org a free digital resource led by expert ophthalmologists and optometrists to provide trusted information on eye health and vision. Includes a Screen Time Guide to help parents with today's modern world of screen usage.
Repair Manuals for Every Thing - iFixit An awesome free resource for DIYers looking to avoid an expensive computer repair bill.
Virtual Vacation. A pretty neat website that lets you experience the world from home.
DeepL Translate An AI translation service that can translate entire PDF, Word (.docx) and and Powerpoint (.pptx) files 3x more accurately than Google translate.
eBird Science. We are most interested in the Climate change aspect of this website - i.e., changes in bird populations highlighting environmental changes.
OurWoldInData.org Hosted by Oxford University, 3267 charts across 297 topics, freely available.
freelearninglist.org Lists of YouTube channels, podcasts, courses (eg., Khan Academy), etc. together with scores.
DALL·E mini - a Hugging Face Space by dalle-mini A new AI tool that invites you to input any bizarre scenario you can think of, and it will create a "comic strip" series of images. For example, we entered "Giraffe eating ice cream", and this is what we got:
Histography - Timeline of History Hosted by Wikipedia, we love the Inventions timeline. Each dot represents a historic event (eg., the first use of Fire) (NB: the invention of the wheel was pretty recent compared to Fire).
Science Trivia Questions | All The Trivia A new website created by Ashley Grader with some rather difficult science trivia questions.
6 Best Practices to Manage Pull Request Creation and Feedback (doordash.engineering) A great guide on Pull Request (PR) best practices, suggested by Mitch Cruikshank, for any beginner programmers who haven't really worked collaboratively with anyone before.
Guide to Educational Video Games for Kids (verizon.com) A remarkably well-organized, engaging and rich source of free resources (plus some paid Apps). The article also discusses how to choose which games your child should play. We love the links to NASA's virtual tours of Mars, the Moon, and ISS. Sent to us by Annette Laurence at Verizon.
Playphrase.me Just type in a phrase, and you’ll see the TV and movie scenes where that phrase is spoken. Another Morning Brew idea.
ClipBase - Search Audio & Video Clips by Words or Phrase As the name implies, it's a database of audio & video clips. It seems to be mostly short samples. Beta. MB.
WhatTheFont Font | MyFonts Using deep learning, and 130,000 fonts (the world’s largest collection of fonts), can identify the fonts in any image (JPG or PNG formats only).
Free Stock Photos and Images for Commercial Use | Morguefile.com A handy source of free, high-resolution stock photos for any use.
Smithsonian Open Access | Smithsonian Institution (si.edu) You can download, share, and reuse 4.5 million+ of the Smithsonian’s images.
Business Name Generator - free AI-powered naming tool - Namelix Enter one or more keywords to generate a short, brandable business name using artificial intelligence. Another Morning Brew find.
musicForProgramming Features playlists spanning a variety of genres that are suited for intense coding work, but could be used for any hardcore crunching, too.
DANCEMUSIC WTF-300 A neat game for EDM fans to test your knowledge of electronic music's subgenres. From Morning Brew.
Futurepedia - The Largest AI Tools Directory | Home A mixture of free, freemium and paid AI tools including a search function. For example, below is purportedly the first "selfie" ever taken in 1839, and then an AI-colourized version using one of the available tools, Palette - Colorize Photos:
AI-colourized using Palette.fm:
OpenAI -Chat GPT A remarkable AI that can have a conversation with you or can write things for you (requires a free account). Here's an example (we typed "Tell me a joke"):
GPTZero Developed by a 22-year-old Princeton student, Edward Tian, an app that determines the likelihood that a piece of text was written by a human or by ChatGPT.
FindThatMeme - The Meme Search Engine A search engine just for memes. At time of writing, it's approx.17,841,360 memes indexed. Here's one:
Wonders of Street View (neal.fun) A fun way of randomly exploring famous locations around the globe using Google street view.
The Cabinet of Wikipedian Curiosities – Sam Enright An impressive list of strange and surprising facts on Wikipedia (reminds us a bit of Atlas Obscura).
MusicLM (google-research.github.io) As described by Google, it's "a model generating high-fidelity music from text descriptions such as "a calming violin melody backed by a distorted guitar riff"." We quite like the first one ("the main soundtrack of an arcade game".
Vacay Chatbot (usevacay.com) A chatbot to help you plan your next vacation. We've struggled to find a good spot for star-gazing, so here's what we tried and found (looks pretty good!):
16 Best Free Stock Images Websites for Commercial Use (websiteplanet.com) Check this great resource that helps everyone steer clear of using copyrighted images by mistake. Suggested to us by Anna.
MyFridgeFood - Search By Ingredients Check off what ingredients you have on hand and it will tell you what to make. Another Morning Brew find.
how things are made Archives | The Kid Should See This An enormous archive of free videos about how things are made. We enjoyed the first 2 we checked out: JK Brickworks' Infinite LEGO Domino Ring | The Kid Should See This, and this one: Amazing art work on the street! Manhole mass production process. Japanese Manhole cover. Also from Morning Brew.
Open Culture A plethora of free material. Describes itself as "The best free cultural and educational media on the web". Includes K-12 resources. Also includes tons of movies you can watch for free on YouTube (with ads). Another Morning Brew find.
virtualvacation.us - Explore The World From Home Includes an addictive game whereby you watch a video taken in a mystery location, and you need to guess where in the world you are. MB.
Easy to use Online PDF editor (sejda.com) An awesome free online .pdf editor that allows editing of text, images, removal of pages, etc. (includes a paid upgrade option).
Midjourney Generates images from natural language descriptions, called "prompts", similar to OpenAI's DALL-E and Stable Diffusion. Per Morning Brew, the following masterpiece was created and posted to Reddit by a user who was apparently just trying to have a laugh, per BuzzFeed:
The Free Learning List A list of free education resources, broken down by category. A Morning Brew find.
Name That Thing - Word Game | Merriam-Webster They show you a picture, and you have to guess what it's called (multiple choice). MB.
Convert Videos from Landscape to Vertical for TikTok or IG Reels (bigroom.tv) A free resource that automatically cuts horizontal videos into vertical for TikTok + Instagram Reels using AI. From Morning Brew, via Jack Appleby (@jappleby) / Twitter.
Neal.fun Some fun and educational online games. Don't miss: Space Elevator (neal.fun).
Mosaic of Mars (caltech.edu) Do you imagine the Mars rovers (Perseverance, Curiosity, Opportunity, etc.) hanging out together on the Red Planet? Check out this 3D simulation that shows you exactly where they are. Another Morning Brew find.
Map of Earthquakes Today (earthquaketrack.com) The best resource we've found for information about earthquakes.
Home: ImportYeti - Find Quality Suppliers Find any company's suppliers. A remarkably direct way of learning about North American supply chains. MB.
STEM Movies and TV Shows for Students | Octane Seating Plenty of suggestions for movies and TV shows (eg., MythBusters) to assist students in their STEM learning. Sent to us by Hailey.
Talking To Children About Cancer Discusses how adults can talk to their children regarding a family member or friend having cancer. Sent to us by Kaitlyn.
OCEARCH Shark Tracker This site allows you to know the location of any (tagged) shark. MB.
WolframAlpha.com A superb free online resource that prompts every user with "Enter what you want to calculate". Try it. Sort of like a "heaven" for math nerds?
mathforlove.com an excellent blog we've followed for a long time. Makers of the multiple award-winning games "Prime Climb", and "Tiny Polka Dot".
ramanujanmachine A source of mathematical conjectures developed by AI algorithms, and attempted proofs from anyone who'd like to take a stab at discovering a new theorem.
Fun with Sounds
From Morning Brew: Here’s a reaction soundboard and an instant rap airhorn to annoy all your friends and colleagues with.
2. Computer Software & Hardware (New Section)
We rely mostly on the YouTube channel Linus Tech Tips for the best information on computing, plus the resources they routinely mention (eg., PassMark Software - CPU Benchmark Charts). They have a deep library on YouTube, plus a website with forums, etc.: Forums - Linus Tech Tips.
(1) For Windows / PC users curious to know how well your computer is running (speeds, temperatures, etc.), the following look to be among the best available:
- MSI Afterburner (a 'gold standard' of sorts)
- CPUID HWMonitor (whole computer monitor)
- TechPowerUp GPU-Z (for GPUs)
These were all suggested in the excellent YouTube video: FREE programs that EVERY PC should have... - YouTube.
The author's laptop has been getting hot (as have the Macbooks in the family), so the above-noted software is mostly for peace of mind right now.
Incidentally, you will likely enjoy the following LTT video if you've ever felt frustrated with your laptop: A COMPLETELY Upgradeable Laptop? - Framework Laptop Review - YouTube
(2) For adding a second screen to virtually any device (PC, Mac, Android, iOS, etc.), or to create a 'video wall', check out: spacedesk | Multi Monitor App | Virtual Display Screen | Software Video Wall. It's free, but there is also an extended-features paid version.
At the moment, we need a new desktop computer and it turned out that the best value, by far, was to build/assemble our own using new components (from Amazon). The following video gave us confidence that we could do it: (2540) Explaining Desktop PC Hardware - YouTube.
PassMark Software - CPU Benchmark Charts A comprehensive range of CPU, GPU, hard drives, RAM, and complete systems to help compare the relative speeds of different products from Intel, AMD, Apple, Qualcomm and others, together with Price-to-Performance lists and charts.
To calculate the required size of your power supply, you can use this handy free calculator: Power Supply Calculator | Cooler Master
3. "Physical" - Related Sites
Theodoregray.com/ We think this is a wonderful place to start - for Apple iOS users, see in particular the beautiful and very entertaining "The Elements" and "Molecules" Apps)
Graysci.com Be a mad scientist. This one is for the more adventurous weekend warriors.
Tested.com Led by Adam Savage, of Mythbusters fame.
Mythresults A summary of all results from the Mythbusters.
Ptable.com A free, online copy of the periodic table enriched with plenty of colour-coding and advanced features for beginners up to the most advanced users.
Behance.net Another version of the periodic table, this one with a provocative title: "The Periodic Table of the Elements in Danger", referring to and including graphics regarding the growing scarcity of certain elements.
sciencebuddies.org Includes hundreds of Science Fair project ideas, and some handy filters to help you select the best one for your grade level and topic area.
stevespanglerscience.com Check out in particular the incredible list of ideas (500+) for experiments you can try at home.
billnye.com Yes, we love the bowtie.
sciencebob.com Frequent and always entertaining guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics Famous for its association with the late, great physicist, Stephen Hawking, the Perimeter Institute was founded in 1999 by Canadian entrepreneur and philanthropist, Mike Lazaridis, and is proudly Canadian.
Electrical Engineering Experiments for Kids This online collection was suggested to us and has a ton of great experiment ideas having to do with electricity.
507 Mechanical Movements An intriguing compendium of different mechanisms.
A Handyman's Guide to Tinkering This online guide was suggested to us. We like the practical advice and inexpensive project ideas to help your family to tinker with STEM-related projects
Watch Ideas For lovers of how things work (and the modern marvels of watches in particular) this website is well researched and includes a great history and explanation of watch technology
Fields of Engineering Overview A lovely and quite inspiring summary and elucidation of some of the major fields of engineering (we also love how serious the rabbits look :D).
Geek Pack Hack - a great online resource with free tutorials and videos for parents and kids to build cool electrical engineering projects together.
Fun Science Experiments for Kids One of the best collections of safe and accessible experiments that can be done with common household materials we've seen. This was sent to us by the author, Claire Mitchell, who loves writing about family and just about anything.
Imagineering.org.uk Based in the UK and staffed by committed volunteers with engineering knowledge, the Imagineering Foundation introduces 8-16 year-olds throughout the UK to the fascinating world of engineering and technology through fun, hands-on activities.
Harrogate Lunar Society for Science A group of eccentric science friends formed this society in the North Yorkshire town of Harrogate in the UK. As the lead member of the Commonwealth, they naturally discuss matters over a pint (or three). They discuss science & tech ranging from how things work, chemistry, astronomy, physics and computers, but also do experiments and take things apart, and set things on fire (check out their photo galleries).
Stem.org.uk An education organization that provides CPD to teachers in the UK, in partnership with government and employers. They also have a STEM ambassador program to bring STEM role models into schools and support world-class STEM education to young people across the UK.
Science Experiments Around the Home The title says it all. Found by a precocious 9-year old, Tony, and sent to us my his mom, Holly. Be sure to check out how to extract the DNA from a banana!
Propel Manufacturing Terms Glossary Lost in industry-specific jargon like CAPA, composites, and Kaizen? Explore this manufacturing glossary with over 80 manufacturing terms and definitions.
TheEngineeringMindset.com A series of superb explanations of how things work. Be sure to check out the YouTube video about relays (includes a description of how those light-up elevator buttons work).
Spindle Speed Calculator (omnicalculator.com) A handy calculator for machining operations. In Q2-23, we are looking at "speeds and feeds" for our new CNC machine.
World of Molecules An excellent, free source of information about all manner of different molecules, filtered in many familiar categories (eg., food, supplements, molecules that give colour, solvents, etc.).
Common Chemistry A web resource that contains CAS Registry Numbers for approximately 7,900 chemicals of widespread general public interest.
IUPAC-NIST Solubility Database An excellent, free resource containing solubilities originally published in the IUPAC (International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry) NIST Solubility Data Series. Data tables for solute/solvent combinations at varying pressures and temperatures. Typical solvents and solutes include water, sea water, heavy water, inorganic compounds, and a variety of organic compounds such as hydrocarbons, halogenated hydrocarbons, alcohols, acids, esters and nitrogen compounds.
My Safety Labels.com. A very handy free online tool to facilitate the creation of safe labels for your chemicals. We like their label design - we find them clear, organized and easy to read. Here's a sample of one we created (for our own purposes) using the site (and with reference to a safety data sheet):
Onlinelabels.com. A similar free online tool to facilitate the creation of safe labels for your chemicals. This generator allows you to select up to 3 GHS hazard symbols, any number of hazard statements (identified with an "H" prefix, and a number between H200 and H420), and it will AUTOMATICALLY generate and provide the relevant precautionary statements for your chemical. Here's a similar sample of one we created for comparison:
Sigma Aldrich. A leading international chemical supplier, certainly NOT directed at a retail audience. However, they have a wealth of safety data sheets and other key chemical information freely available to anyone.
National Library of Medicine. An excellent source of information about a vast array of chemicals and substances, including diagrams of molecules.
International Cloud Atlas. Hosted by the World Meteorological Association. A rich resource with plenty of photos and explanations. Did you know that the average height of clouds is different in Nunavut than Toronto? Check out the table below:
Ventusky - Wind, Rain and Temperature Maps A 'hardcore' weather map. You can enter your location for an interesting view. We like the arrows indicating wind patterns.
KK*.org Kevin Kelly is the founding executive editor of WIRED magazine. We are happy to have found his personal blog website via Morning Brew.
Teaching Math and Computer Science to Kids with Special Needs. Hosted by a cryptocurrency service, and sent to us by its author, Alexandra Chappell, a former classroom teacher, is this rather unique and impressive list of STEM resources intended to survey teaching approaches and then highlight free math and computing resources for special needs students. We especially like how the links have been grouped by grade level.
MuscleWiki is like Wikipedia, but for exercise. Another link from Morning Brew.
How to work out the thread size on a bottle, barrel or container - The Laboratory People (camblab.info)
Matt's Tech Pages Researching wire connectors and crimp tools for our DIY CNC Vertical Mill build, we came across this awesome resource. Don't miss "What's wrong with just soldering contacts?".
International Travel Plug Adapter | Skyscanner's Travel Blog A handy international travel plug adapter guide: