Monthly Archives: August 2013

Archive Time Saver Series Part 2: Sorting Through Results

19103826You have done your search in the Archive and you now have a list of results. If you have performed a keyword search or drill down listing you probably have a rather lengthy list of resources to sift through. Who has time for that?!? We know that a teacher’s time is precious so here are 5 Ways to Refine Your Search in the Archive:

1. Filter by grade level

A great thing about the Archive is that everything is tagged by grade level! If you want to only look at resources for your K-12 classroom, go to the top of the search results page and look for these boxes with check marks next to them: K      I . Make sure only the check box to the left of K is selected and you will only see resources that are tagged for K-12 classroom use.

2. Check ratings

One of the many benefits of being in an online community like the Archive is that you can find out which resources other teachers find useful. Just look for the star rating to the right of the title of each resource. 5-stars means an item is highly recommended by a fellow teacher. Often, rated resources will also include comments; make sure to check those out! If you see an item without a star rating that just means that a fellow teacher hasn’t rated it yet. Maybe you could be the first?

3. Sort your results

For people like me who enjoy an extra bit of organization in their search results, there is the sorting feature. All you have to do is click on the title of a column to sort by that column. For example, you can click on “Partner” to sort your results by Archive Partner, or you can click on “Title/Author/Resource Type/Format” to organize results by title. Note that the Archive will automatically sort your search by “Rating.”

4. Do a search within a search

This tool is great if you have a lot of results, want to refine your search, but don’t want to start your search from scratch. It can be found two lines down from the top of the Search Results Page next to “Too much?” Just type in a word of your choosing and click on “Search within Results.” If you don’t like what you see, click on the blue “Go Back” button. To give you an example of how I use this tool, I will often start with a very basic keyword search, such as “diabetes” and then refine my search with something more specific, like “activity” or “game.” This gives me a lot of flexibility if I’m searching for a variety of materials around one topic.

5. Check out collections

Teacher-Recommended Collections are an amazing time saver if you’re looking for a lesson plan or activity to use in your classroom. The great thing about collections is that another teacher has already gone through the Archive, found materials, used them with their students, and has left notes for you! Talk about a time saver! To find these collections, click on one of the grey tabs to the right of the red “Resources” tab. To learn more about collections, go here: http://www.lifescitrc.org/help-submit.cfm#collections

As always, Happy Searching!

Archive Time Saver Series Part 1: Searching

23257167There’s more than one way to cook an egg an there is certainly more than one way to search the Archive! What’s your preferred searching style? Do you like to browse, type a keyword, search by specific criteria, or try a bit of everything?

The Archive has a variety of ways for you to search. Just use your mouse to hover over the Search the Archive button at the top of the Archive webpage and you will get a whole bunch of options! Here’s what they do:

  • Keyword Search – Looks for a word or phrase in the resource’s title and description.
  • Advanced Search – Allows you to search by all of the variables in the Archive, such as grade level, science standards, file type, etc.
  • Drill-Down Listing – Provides a list of all of resources in the Archive by disciplines, learning resources, and grade levels.

Now it’s up to you to decide which search tool to try first. But no matter how you like to search, here are some hints that will save you some time!

If You Like to Browse…

Your first stop should be the Drill-Down Listing search. This will show you everything in the Archive by discipline, learning resource type, or grade level. But hold on a second before you dive in! To the right of each category is a bracket with a number in it. This tells you how many items are in a category. For example, “Agriculture & aquaculture [48]” has 48 resources in it. This category is safe to browse, but if you find a category with more than 200 resources in it, the page is going to take longer to load. Your best bet? Try an Advanced Search. Trust me; you’ll still get a chance to browse!

If You Like to Use Keywords…

Maybe your students have a newfound interest in the brain, diabetes, or games? (Ok, maybe the games aren’t such a newfound interest…) Use the Keyword Search to quickly find a resource related to the word of your choosing. If you really want to save time, use the search box in the top right of the screen next to the picture of the running boy and his dog. This box does the exact same thing as the keyword search under the Archive Search menu. The key to saving time with keywords is to keep it simple! When looking for something about the brain try the word “neuro” instead of “neuroscience.” If games are what you’re after try “game” instead of “games.” The keyword search will look for the EXACT word or phrase you put down so the simpler the word, the more you will find. Finding too much? Try an Advanced Search. You still can use your keywords!

If You Like Precision in Your Searches…

The best way to find something specific is to use the Advanced Search feature of the Archive. If you need to meet certain National Science Education Standards or want to incorporate some videos into your middle school classroom, this is where you will find what you are looking for. To use this tool, just click on the red and white box next to each category to bring down the submenu for each category and start selecting away! Now the easiest way to lose time here is to select options under every…single…category. If you do this, chances are you won’t find anything! So, try to limit your advanced search to a few categories and if you don’t come up with anything, deselect a few more things.

Hopefully these tips and tricks will save you some time in searching for the Archive. But what if you’ve tried all three of these search tools and still can’t find what you’re looking for? All you need to do is Contact Us and we will gladly give you a hand.

Happy Searching!

Archive Time Saver Series

45376492 croppedEveryone is looking to add a few extra minutes to their day, and with the school year fast approaching the search may become a bit more frantic. That’s why we at the Archive would like to help you save some time by sharing some tips and tricks to getting the most out of the Archive. We hope that by the end of this series you will be able to find what you’re looking for more quickly, which hopefully means some extra time for you!

Here are the topics we will be covering:

  1. Searching (Because there’s more than one way to cook an egg…)
  2. Sorting through Results (Think “refine, refine, refine….”)
  3. Saving Searches (Why reinvent the wheel?)

Is there something else that you would like to know how to do? Mention it in the comments section below!

Researchers Helping You
researchers

By Rhoda Baer (Photographer) , via Wikimedia Commons

Do you or a family member have a disease? An injury? A lifelong condition? Chances are that somewhere in the world, a team of dedicated medical researcher is working hard to find ways to treat you and improve your health. Often, this requires looking at your illness or injury in a new way. In the Archive, you can find many examples of how medical researchers are finding innovative ways to make your life better, from an improved tool for monitoring glucose levels in diabetic patients to finding a new use for an ancient material.

How would you like to have to stab your finger five or six times a day, every day of your life, in order to get a drop of your own blood? People with diabetes do that to check their glucose levels … and it’s no fun. But now scientists are developing other, less painful, tools for patients. One of them is a glucose monitoring “tattoo”. You can read more about it here: “Honey, I Shrunk the Sensor

People getting chemotherapy for cancer know only too well that the powerful drugs they take to kill the cancer also attack the healthy cells in their bodies. Killing off healthy cells can cause a whole range of bad side effects from hair loss to heart damage.  Many scientists are working hard to create chemo drugs that target only the cancer cells. “Bullseye – Making Drugs Hit Their Targets” explains one researcher’s approach. Another story, “The Medicine of the Future – Controlled-Release Systems” looks at a different avenue to delivering medicine only where it’s needed.

Since 3000 BCE, silk has been woven to create a range of luxurious items from robes to tapestries. But did you know that silk can also have modern medical applications? From suturing, drug storage, tissue scaffolds, artificial tendons, and more, these two articles describe novel uses of this ancient material:  “Silk of the Future” and “Smooth as Silk.”

Resources throughout the Archive can introduce you to some of the wonders of modern research. What are your favorites?