Category Archives: LifeSciTRC How-To

5 Reasons You Should Submit to the LifeSciTRC

hand5I would wager that if you are reading this blog post, you have created at least one lesson, video, or activity that your students enjoy and learn from. Have you considered submitting your creation to the LifeSciTRC Community? If you haven’t (or if you haven’t yet gotten around to it yet) here are 5 Reasons You Should Submit to the LifeSciTRC this Summer:  

Reason #1: Receive feedback on your submission

It can be hard to find someone to give feedback on your teaching resource, especially if there are only a few science teachers in your school (or if you’re the only one!). When you submit to the LifeSciTRC, your submission will be reviewed and commented on by three educators from across the country. Free constructive criticism from the comfort of your computer chair!

Reason #2: What you submit will always be yours

If you created the resource, then you hold the copyright for the resource. Every resource in the LifeSciTRC is covered by Creative Commons License CC BY-NC-ND 3.0. This means that a resource can be used by others as long as they attribute it to the author, don’t make any changes, and don’t use it for commercial purposes. If you ever want to remove your resource from the LifeSciTRC, simply contact us.

Reason #3: It counts as a publication

When a resource is accepted into the LifeSciTRC digital library, it is assigned a unique URL that can be used for a citation. You can download the citation of your resource in APA or MLA format by visiting the assigned URL and clicking the appropriate citation link in the “Citations” box on the left side of the screen. Time to fill up that resume or teaching portfolio!

Reason #4: Impress your school’s administrators and your student’s parents

The LifeSciTRC is a digital library and teaching community that has served the life science educator community for over 15 years. Currently 9 scientific societies partner to contribute and curate materials; every resource in the digital library is peer-reviewed. The LifeSciTRC website receives over 65,000 unique hits each month – that’s over 850,000 per year. Now imagine yourself telling an administrator or parent that a teaching activity you created is included in there….pretty impressive!

Reason #5: Contribute to the teaching community

You’ve just read about four ways that submitting to the LifeSciTRC can directly benefit you, now think about how it can benefit your fellow teachers. Why do you come to the LifeSciTRC? Are you teaching a new subject? Trying to find new ways to teach a difficult concept? Wanting to try a new learning method in your class? There are other teachers out there who come to the LifeSciTRC with these same questions as well as others. Maybe the resource they need is the one that you have not yet submitted.

Hopefully this list has convinced you to help yourself and to help your fellow teachers by submitting to the LifeSciTRC this summer! When you’re ready to get started go to Submit to the LifeSciTRC. If you have any questions, visit our Submission Help Page or Contact Us.

Miranda Byse






Miranda Byse, PhD is the American Physiological Society (APS) Program Manager for the LifeSciTRC. Her LifeSciTRC user profile may be viewed here.

Archive Time Saver Series Part 3: Saving Searches

45376198You’ve searched through the Archive and found a great resource, or two, or maybe twenty? There’s no reason to put your valuable time to waste by not saving these resources! You could bookmark what you found using your internet browser’s tools, but if you’re like me, you probably have a very long list of web pages listed under your favorites. Don’t let your resources get lost in that! Try these two Archive Tools instead: (Don’t forget, you need to be a registered member to access these tools and registration is free!)

My Folders

This is the tool to use when you want to save an individual resource. On the resource page, look for the “Save It!” section right above the resource description.  Simply click on the menu/down arrow next to “Save It!” and select “New Folder.” Then, click on the red “Save” button and you’re done! You now have a folder with a resource in it.

To change the name of your folder or to add a new folder to save resources in, click on the blue “Edit Folders” button. You can also access your folders under “My Archive” near the top of the Archive page.

If you’d like to view a video of how the process works, view this help page.

My Saved Searches

Want to save an entire search instead of just one resource? Try the My Saved Searches tool! On a search results page, look for the “Save It!” section right above your results. Type in a name for your search, click on the red “Save This Search Button,” and your search is saved. To access all of your searches hover over “My Archive” near the top of the Archive page and click on “My Saved Searches.”

We hope that you find these two tools to be a useful addition to your time-saving arsenal. Want more help saving time in the Archive? Post your question below or contact us.

Happy Searching!

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:

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!