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Mental Health

Need to talk? Free phone or text 1737 anytime night or day. The freephone number 0800 1737 1737 also works. "Anyone feeling stressed, anxious, worried, depressed, needing advice on mental health or addictions issues can call or text us."


Auckland Home Educators Inc – www.ahe.org.nz (presently being upgraded)

"Auckland Home Educators Inc (AHE) is an incorporated society of current home educators in the Greater Auckland area and others who have a genuine interest in home education. Founded in 1997, it is a democratic, volunteer-run organisation of around 180 member families and is Auckland’s regional networking group. The growth of our membership base enables us to increase our community’s credibility when liaising and seeking improved opportunities/ operating environment with government departments, suppliers, providers, etc; raise the profile and acceptability of the homeschooling option."

iTunes U – www.apple.com/nz/apps/itunes-u

"The world’s largest online catalogue of free education content. Learn a new language. Study Shakespeare. Discover the cosmos. It’s all possible on iTunes U, home to more than 500,000 free lectures, videos, books and other resources, on thousands of subjects. Among the hundreds of colleges, universities, and primary and high schools on iTunes U, you’ll find Stanford, Yale, MIT, Oxford and UC Berkeley, along with other distinguished institutions such as MoMA, the New York Public Library and more."


Dyslexia Potential – www.dyslexiapotential.com

Founded by then 13 year old Matthew Strawbridge to help other students with dyslexia. "I’ve developed this site to inspire and inform you, not to sell you a learning system. I’ve pulled together a whole lot of ideas, shortcuts and research that I know will help you, because they’ve helped me." As seen on Stuff.co.nz in this 2016 article, this 2014 article and this 2013 article.

Embracing Dyslexia – www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBIK0XVPbXo

A 51 minute documentary about dyslexia.

Hidden Potential – www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CehY6TsoLc

A short film about finding the strengths a dyslexic student has. (People with dyslexia are often very good at art, three dimensional spatial visualisation, or business.)

Science & Philosophy

Deep Science – www.DeepScience.com

"Articles can debate philosophical ideas, especially as they interact with the world of science. That's what DeepScience is all about. DeepScience is a safe, family orientated, conservative, website."

Put It To The Test by They Might Be Giants – song on YouTube.

Beyond the Higgs: What's Next for the LHC?video on YouTube.

Harry Cliff explains particle physics very nicely, and gives some ideas about what might be the next finds at the Large Hadron Collider.


Heavens Above – www.heavens-above.com

Detailed information about what can be seen from your own location, either now or in the coming weeks. For example, with a viewing location at the summit of Mt Eden:

Star Sand – what-if.xkcd.com/83/

"If you made a beach using grains the proportionate size of the stars in the Milky Way, what would that beach look like?"

Edward Muller's Antimatter Calculator – www.edwardmuller.com/index.php?Page=calculator

Work out the amount of explosive power in however much antimatter you want. For starters, 1 kg of antimatter will give an explosion roughly equal to 43 million tonnes of TNT.

What is the Sun made of?

Just to show that not all scientists agree, take a look at an alternative view of the composition of the Sun. It's important to realise that science is not decided by a majority vote. Science is not about consensus; it's decided by evidence – predictions are made and tested. Sure, sometimes the majority is right, but scientific advances are made by scientists testing new ideas, which cannot start as a majority viewpoint.


The Periodic Table Song by ASAP Science.

Updated to include the latest named elements up to element 118).

The Element Song by Tom Lehrer, an out-of-order periodic table song on YouTube.

Meet The Elements by They Might Be Giants – another song on YouTube.

Ptable – www.ptable.com

A particularly cool and versatile periodic table. It even has the electron orbitals (third tab at the top), which shows AS Chemistry students exactly why chromium is an oddball. The electron orbitals of dubnium look like a sci-fi space station.

Acids & bases pH table – www.aqion.de/site/191

The pH values of some common acids and bases at different concentrations up to 0.1 M.

Balance Chemical Equation – www.webqc.org/balance.php

A tool which will balance a chemical equation and calculate moles and weights of all the reactants and products given the moles or weight of just one of them.

Boiling Point of Water – www.engineeringtoolbox.com/boiling-points-water-altitude-d_1344.html

The boiling point of water is 100 °C at sea level (1 atmosphere of pressure) but decreases as pressure drops. At the top of Mt Ruapehu it's just over 90 °C, and about 72 °C at the top of Mt Everest. In a vacuum water will boil as it freezes.

Fluoride Facts – www.fluoridefacts.govt.nz

"Community Water Fluoridation is an effective, safe and affordable way to prevent and reduce tooth decay for everyone."

Electronics & Computers

Soldering is Easy comic – PDF, English version (831 KB).

Soldering is Easy, a comic book that will teach anyone the basics of soldering. Blog post about it is at mightyohm.com/blog/2011/04/soldering-is-easy-comic-book/.

"This seven page comic book explains in detail and with pictures how to make a good solder connection. It also teaches you all the other bits and pieces of knowledge that you need to successfully solder together an electronic kit, even if you’ve never soldered before!"

Note that the comic gets the chemical symbols for tin and lead wrong on page 2 (middle pic on the left). The correct symbols are Sn and Pb respectively. If it has one, the second letter is always lower case.

Arduino Reference – www.arduino.cc/reference/en/

Really Important Information to refer to while programming an Arduino microcontroller.

Computer reviews – explainingcomputers.com

"A Guide to Computing."

Very good reviews of computers and computer-related stuff. He keeps it all nice and clear, and includes the really interesting details and real-world speed tests (where appropriate), which all goes to make the reviews very useful for the viewer. His comparisons of various versions of Raspberry Pi and other single board computers are particularly interesting.

MickMake – www.mickmake.com/category/reviews/sbc-reviews

Very good reviews of single board computers, including heat and cooling tests.

GreatScott! – www.youtube.com/channel/UC6mIxFTvXkWQVEHPsEdflzQ

Excellent electronics channel.

Aqualab battery information – www.videofoundry.co.nz/battery.php.

Also pages with battery test results and recommended batteries for particular uses.

Links to online LED shops are on the Home Tutoring LEDs page.

Links to many LED drivers are in the Aqualab LED Driver Listwww.videofoundry.co.nz/driverlist.


Graphing Calculator – desmos.com/calculator

Desmos makes an excellent graphing calculator cellphone app and also has a version on their website.


A video by Arvind Gupta explaining how to make a hexa-tetraflexagon. (I used this to make The Christmas Story hexa-tetraflexagon for Christmas 2015.)

Who is Arvind Gupta? This TED talk probably best explains how he creates Toys From Trash in his videos.


The AnyDice site is a dice probability calculator. It can display a graph of any dice combination you like. For example, these combinations give normal distributions of percentages.


How Bitcoin Works Under the Hood. This is the best video I've seen explaning how bitcoin works.

After watching that, Bitcoin Problems from Numberphile makes sense. At 48 seconds I believe the speaker (I admit I want to straighten his head) says "It doesn't have the necessary scale", not "skill". Because of the block size limit of 1 MB, only about 3 or so transactions per second can be processed, and it's at about that now.

Bitcoin started in 2009 with 50 bitcoins paid per block. The first reduction to 25 bitcoins per block occurred in November 2012. The second reduction to 12.5 bitcoins per block occurred in July 2016.

Young Scientists and Engineers

Taylor Wilson – www.sciradioactive.com

At age 14 became the youngest person ever to create a working nuclear fusion reactor. "I am obsessed with all things nuclear and radioactive and conduct research in related fields."

Mikayla Stokes – www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/115814663/you-only-won-because-youre-a-girl-auckland-uni-engineering-student-on-sexism-at-school

A first year engineering student at University of Auckland, who found that events aimed at encouraging girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) weren't doing the right things in the right way. She and Amelia Lockley set up TechGirlsNZ with the aim of putting that right. In May 2019 the two ran the first TechGirlsNZ event, aimed at secondary school girls.

A youth for youth event on a mission to create a new type of innovative event for teenage girls thinking about getting into STEAM, where they can make meaningful connections, learn new things, network with others, and truly be inspired with a more hands-on and unique approach.


Book Depository – www.bookdepository.com

Generally the cheapest place on the Internet to buy books. Note that it's now owned by Amazon, whom some people object to buying from.

Bookish.co.nz – www.bookish.co.nz

"Bookish has a very simple aim: to find the cheapest place for Kiwis to buy books. ... We do not sell or publish books. Bookish.co.nz does not sell books. It does not publish books. This site looks up book prices on leading book retailers locally and internationally."

Write That Essay by Ian Hunter – www.writethatessay.org/our-products/classroom-resources/

"A Practical Guide to Writing Better Essays and Achieving Higher Grades. Need to improve your writing skills? Not sure what is expected of you when you have to have to write an essay? Unsure how to write great paragraphs or put your ideas persuasively? Don’t know how to interpret questions? This is the book for you." Also available is a high school edition.


NIWA Auckland Science and Technology Fair – scifair.org.nz

A science and technology fair-based competition for intermediate and secondary students. Students who do not attend registered schools can make independent entries. Held in August or September. Other centres around the country also hold similar events around the same time.

The architypal science fair, with projects presented on a display board. Ideally every student should enter at least once. The fair is open to the public on the evening of the judging (a Friday) and the day after (Saturday).

Skills Bright Sparks – www.brightsparks.org.nz

A free competition for science, engineering, software and environment projects for students at any school level (primary, intermediate and secondary). Entries close beginning of October, and require the project itself and a video explaining the project to be submitted for judging.

Does my project have to involve some electronics or programming? Yes, even if your project is a science, engineering or environment project, the judges want to see a connection to the high-tech product world. That connection could be broader than just including software and electronics though.

Can I enter more than one project? Yes, you can enter as many projects as you like but you’ll need a separate entry form for each one.

Does my project have to be finished and working? You are welcome to enter an unfinished project. Some unfinished projects have won top prizes in the past.

Can I enter a project from another competition? Yes, you can enter any project as long as you built it yourself.

123Tech Challenge – 123tech.nz/about-123tech/

A project-based challenge partnering with the Department of Education to help introduce digital technology in the classroom.

Unit Conversion

The Digital Dutch unit converter does a wide range of useful conversions.