23 April is recognised as the World Book and Copyright Day by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). On 4 April 2017, Scientix published eight great science books selected by its Scientix Ambassadors to give you the opportunity to read some or all of them before the World Book Day. Save the date and join us on this occasion to celebrate great literature in the field of science!

Click on one of the buttons to see the two selected books per subject.

For the STEM Discovery Week 24 to 30 April 2017, teachers are invited to participate in a discussion in an open forum here about the selected books and share ideas on how they can be used in science lessons. Scientix will award the best ideas shared with this community.

The goal of the competition is twofold:

  • To raise general awareness about science and scientific literacy through a community based approach and peer-reviewed exchange of information.
  • To show how scientific literature can improve classroom discussions and activities.

You are welcome to use the forum here to introduce yourself and to get to know other colleagues interested in science literature. Scientix will use the discussion forum to inform you as soon as new discussion threads are added on 23 April. You will receive a notification by e-mail if you introduce yourself in the discussion thread.

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Share your classroom ideas here

Robert Baldursson, modified 7 Years ago.

Share your classroom ideas here

Community member Posts: 33 Join Date: 5/11/15 Recent Posts
Use this thread to share classroom ideas inspired by A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. Looking forward to hearing your ideas!

Tsetsa Tsolova Hristova, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Share your classroom ideas here

Community member Posts: 4 Join Date: 6/11/10 Recent Posts
This is my idea for astronomical classes with comments:

Historical development of the imagine for construction of the Universe

1.Ancient Greek philosophers ideas

A - Aristotle (340 BC) - the Greek philosopher In his book "For the Heaven," had two serious arguments in favor of the fact that the Earth is round rather than flat
What would be the shadow of Earth on the moon if it is round and if flat, according to Aristotle?
What is the position of the polar star in moderate latitudes and the equator?
Aristotle's understanding of Earth as the center of the Universe that the Earth is stationary, and that the Sun, the Moon, the planets and the stars move in circular orbits around it.

B -  Ptolemy ( 2nd century AD) - The Earth is in the center surrounded by the eight spheres bearing the Moon, the Sun, the stars and the five known planets  Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn  

It was perceived by the Christian church as a picture of the Universe that responds to the Scriptures because it has the great advantage of leaving enough space for the heavens and hell outside the sphere of immovable stars. 

2. Middle Ages  science
A - Nikolay Copernicus  (1514), Polish priest - The Sun is stationary in the center, and the Earth and the planets move in circular orbits around it.
B -  Galilee (1609)  observing the planets moon or moons circling around  - it breaks the theory of Aristotle and Ptolemy for the rotation of the planets around the Earth
C - Johan Kepler (1609)  altered the theory of Copernicus and claimed that the planets move not in circles but in ellipses under the action of magnetic forces. Finally, the predictions coincide with the observations.
D - Isaac Newton (1687) published his work "Mathematical Principles of Naturist Philosophy"
Newton postulated a law of universal gravittraction, according to which all the bodies in the universe attract each other, with the force of attraction increasing by increasing their mass and reducing the distance between them. This is the same force that causes the fall of the bodieIt is almost certain that the story of Newton and the apple is a fiction. "All Newton said about the matter was that the idea of ​​gravity had occurred to him, while" devoted to contemplation, "was" favored by the fall of an apple " .) Newton showed that, according to his law, gravitation caused the Moon to run in an elliptical orbit around the Earth, and Earth and planets on elliptical paths around the Sun.
The Copernicus model has freed itself from Ptolemy's heavenly spheres, and with them from the notion that the universe has natural boundaries. Since the "fixed stars" apparently did not change their positions, except for their apparent rotation under the influence of the Earth's motion around its own axis, it was natural to assume that the fixed stars are objects like our Sun but far farther.
Newton knew that, according to his theory of gravity, the stars would have to attract each other, so they would not be immobile. And will not they fall down together at any point?
3. The Universe                                                                                                                                           A -  ancient cosmologies and Jewish-Christian-Muslim traditions - the universe has emerged at a certain, not too long ago, moment in the past.                                                     
B - Immanuel Kant (1781) - The question of whether the Universe has a beginning in time and whether it is limited in space                                                                                        
C - Edwin Hubble (1929) observation that the universe is expanding. And this means that in earlier times the objects were closer together. In fact, it seems that there was time about 10-20 billion years ago when they were all in exactly the same place and when the density of the universe was therefore infinite. This discovery finally raised the question of the beginning of the universe before science.                                                         
D - Hubble's observations suggest that there was a time called the Big Bang when the universe was infinitely small and infinitely dense. Under such conditions, all scientific laws, and hence the whole possibility of foreseeing the future, would fail                          For example, the very accurate observations of the planet Mercury showed little difference between its movement and the predictions of Newton's theory of gravity. Einstein's general theory of relativity provides a slightly different movement than Newton's theory. The fact that Einstein's predictions are consistent with observations, while the Newtonians - no, is one of the decisive confirmations of the new theory. However, we serve Newton's theory in practice because the difference between its predictions and those of the general theory of relativity is very small in the cases we usually work on. (Newton's theory has the great advantage of being much simpler than Einstein's!                       Scientists today describe the Universe in terms of two major private theories - the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. These are the great intellectual achievements of the first half of this century. General Theory
Robert Baldursson, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Share your classroom ideas here

Community member Posts: 33 Join Date: 5/11/15 Recent Posts
Thank you Tsetsa for sharing this interesting summary of the different theories that have been made since the beginning of human civilization. We have come a long way in discovering our origin, that's for sure emoticon
Just out of curiosity, can you explain how you foresee that Hawking's theories in particular is integrated in the lesson?
Tsetsa Tsolova Hristova, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Share your classroom ideas here

Community member Posts: 4 Join Date: 6/11/10 Recent Posts
Dear Robert,
Black Holes and Big Bang theory are important theories of modern astronomy. To keep up with their content, I use Space Awareness resources (MODEL OF A BLACK HOLE : and Go Lab project’s BHIMS ( for the Black Holes. Stephen Hawking formulates the surprising and illogical thesis that the black holes can thicken, initially slowly, then faster and faster as they explode - an idea that is initially subject to ridicule but is already widely accepted.

According to the Big Bang theory, 13.8 billion years ago, the Universe is in an infinitely tight state with enormous temperature and pressure. The big bang has come from singularity - a point so small and dense that the very laws of physics can not describe it. For the first 10-33 seconds of the universe there is no satisfactory physical model. The actual start of time begins from the Big Bang.
Kind regards,
Maria Eleftheriou, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Share your classroom ideas here

Community member Post: 1 Join Date: 4/28/17 Recent Posts

Hello, my name is Maria Eleftheriou and I am Science teacher in Greece. My school is the Lyceum of Tzermiadon located at the mountains of Crete. I am also ambassador of Scientix and I am very happy that I am a part of this team of teachers.

Lesson plan: Gravity versus electricity.. or not? What about black holes?
Ideas from Stephen Hawking book: A Brief History of Time

This book is a best seller in all over the world, not without reason. Hawking explains difficult concepts with a unique way. I chose two concepts for a lesson plan that can be performed in the secondary education.

1st idea: Gravity

2nd idea: Black holes

1st idea: Comparison of electrical force and gravitational force. We suppose that students have been taught the Coulomb law. The formula for the electric force between two point electric charges  Q1 and Q2 is F=k Q1Q2/r^2 where k is the Coulomb constant and r is the distance between  the charges.

On the other hand, the gravitational force between two spherical masses m1 and m2 is F=G m1m2/r^2 where G is the Gravitational constant and r is the distance between the masses.We ask then our students if they can observe the similarities of those two forms. We ask them also what are the main differences between gravitation and electricity and students find for example:

  • Two types of electric charges, one type of mass.

  • Electric force can be attractive or repulsive, gravitation is always attractive.

  • Electrostatic force depends on the material between the two charges, the gravitation force is not depending on the material between the masses.

Students write in the left part of the blackboard the similarities and in the right part of the blackboard the differences and then we perform a discussion. In what limit of distances we expect that the electric force is significant and where is the gravitational force significant? As Hawking writes in his book, electromagnetic force, gravitational force, strong nuclear force and weak force in the beggining of our universe possibly were united. What about the distances of masses in the beggining of the universe? We can answer to this question? (Chapter 5, 11)

2nd idea: And it possible to escape from our planet?

A body of mass m with velocity υ can escape from a planet of mass M and radius r if we consider the conservation of energy:1/2mυ^2=GMm/r  therefore υ=(2GM/r)^(1/2)

Students like John Michell and Pierre-Simon Laplace in 18th century put c (speed of light) for the velocity υ and find    r_s=2GM/c^2. We found the correct  Schwarzschild radius by only using Newtonian mechanics!  This is the radius of a black hole.

Scientists know that a candidate star for a black hole has to have mass at least 1.5 solar mass. Nevertheless if our sun M=1.98 *10^(30)kg could become a black hole it would have a radius of rs=3 Km. Students put M=5.9 *10^(24)kg (mass of the earth) and found rs=0.009m. Working each student in a team of students, set several different masses (e.g. masses of planets) in the Schwarzschild  formula in order to see how the radius changes with mass.  What is the Schwarzschild  radius of a person ?  (e.g. M=80kg)

Additionally students search on the web for black holes, for example:

The final discussion with the students is around black holes in general  for our universe. How big is the universe? How many things we already know but how many unanswered questions still exist? Scientists trying to find a theory that explains the genesis of our universe (chapter 8). Students now realize the difficulties that scientists can have, but also realize the beauty of  science!

You can also find a presentation for this lesson plan in : 

Tsetsa Tsolova Hristova, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Share your classroom ideas here

Community member Posts: 4 Join Date: 6/11/10 Recent Posts
Dear Maria,
Thank you for sharing your ideas! Very interesting!
Kind regards,
Robert Baldursson, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Share your classroom ideas here

Community member Posts: 33 Join Date: 5/11/15 Recent Posts
Thank you Maria and Tsetsa for sharing your ideas, very interesting! emoticon
COSTANTINA COSSU, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Share your classroom ideas here

Community member Posts: 3 Join Date: 12/3/13 Recent Posts
I tried to use it for gravity but I found it too complex for my students ( they study astronomy at 14 years old)
In my opinion is very interesting the part of black holes even because the scientists is the best expert in the world moment.  ;)
Thank  you for giving me new ideas

Maria Melniciuc, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: Share your classroom ideas here

Community member Posts: 6 Join Date: 12/12/16 Recent Posts
Activity 1- Cosmological theories
The groups (3 students in a group) will research information and create Google Slides presentations on Cosmological theories for different periods (B.C., A.C. including the 16 th century, 17th and 18 th centuries, 19th and 20th centuries, nowadays).  Infographics with the most important scientist and their theories will be created too.Resources:  and the first chapter of Stephen Hawking’s book

Activity 2- Distance calculator
The groups will continue the research to find how the distance between planets are calculated.  Each group will create a sheet in Google Sheets and will calculate the mean distance from Sun to our system’s planets , the distance from Earth to other planets and nearest star(Proxima Centauri) in AU, light years , km , miles and Parsec. Automatic conversions will be made  between astronomical distance units and charts will be created.More about how distances are measured in Astronomy 

Activity 3- Big Bang and Big Crunch
A Padlet will be created by the teacher and all students will add information about these theories (videos, documents, links, pictures).Resources:

Activity 4-Stories about remarkable scientists
Students, two by two, will research different stories and jokes about scientists and they will create short presentations. There are some examples in the end of Stephen Hawking’s book and I think that they will be engage to discover the men/women behind the theories and formulas. 
Students age- 16-19  

These are the eight science books selected for the World Book Day and STEM Discovery Week 2017! In order to compete in our competition, start by:

  1. Read one or more of the selected titles
  2. Design an idea for a classroom activity based on your book
  3. Share your idea with peers in the discussion forum above during the STEM Discovery Week 24 to 30 April

Science books


This world famous book in the field of physics explores the origin of our universe, including the Big Bang and black holes, and the relevance of concepts such as space and time and other forces that govern our existence.

Author: Stephen Hawking

Originally published: 1988

Uncle Tungsten was a producer of tungsten-filament lightbulbs who ignited Oliver Sacks’ interest in chemistry, especially chemical reactions and the periodic table. This book is a fascinating story about scientific discoveries and inspiration during childhood.

Author: Oliver Sacks

Originally published: 2001

A brief history of time

Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a chemical boyhood

Technology books

A young boy, who is the outcome of genetic experiments, possesses great tactical skills playing computer games. This may be just what mankind has been waiting for in order to fight back against invasive alien species.

Author: Orson Scott Card

Originally published: 1985

This futuristic science-fiction describes the technical evolution of robots that are originally developed in order to serve humans. However, they eventually become so advanced that humans become obsolete.

Author: Isaac Asimov

Originally published: 1950

Ender's Game

I, Robot

Engineering books

Engineers can see a structure where there is none in place, possessing the ability to turn problems into solutions and solutions. This book collects narratives and case studies to show how engineering is used to innovate, standardise and optimise.

Author: Guru Madhavan

Originally published: 2015

This book is a collection of 25 entertaining experiments and activities in engineering in everyday situations, including step-by-step instructions, expected results of each activity and simple scientific background for each experiment.

Author: Janice VanCleave

Originally published: 2007

Applied minds: How engineers think

Engineering for every kid: Easy activities that make learning science fun

Mathematics books

Robert really dislikes studying maths, but this changes when he meets the Number Devil, who appears in Robert’s dreams to teach him maths and inspire him. With the help of the Number Devil, Robert gets to know fractions, geometry and other mathematic concepts.

Author: Hans Magnus Enzensberger

Originally published: 1997

Mr. Ruche receives a delivery to his house in Paris including a great number of maths books from Brazil. His parrot likes to talk about maths and together they give lessons to children. However, he soon discovers the real reason behind the delivery.

Author: Denis Guedj

Originally published: 1998

The number devil: a mathematical adventure

The Parrot's Theorem

STEM Discovery Week IN NUMBERS

SDW17 Infograph

This infograph demonstrates the main achievements accomplished and outreach during STEM Discovery Week 2017.




‘Make your own Poster’ with your favourite subjects and resources from the Scientix Resources Respository. Read more.


Organise or participate in an event dedicated to any STEM subject and opportunities from 24 to 30 April 2017. Read more.


Share ideas for classroom activities in relation to selected science books and discuss them in an open forum. Read more.