Something new: STEAM activities for the Covid-19 lockdown!

Yes, the Playwiths have been converted into a book.

The Playwiths began in about 1995, and a couple of years back, I was urged to make a book of them.

I did, and my friends liked what they saw, but the publishers didn't. Frightening economic times, they said.

Well, I went ahead and did it in three forms:

  • a lo-res freeby PDF with very relaxed copyright;
  • a high-res low-price commercial PDF for the Kindle;
  • a paper and ink book from Amazon (tax laws won't let it into Australia);
  • did I say three? I lied. The paper version is half-tone, but soon there'll be a full colour version.
But don't worry, this web version stays here anyhow.

Full details of Playwiths, the book here

The science SPLATS

This subsite offers a new way to place a structure on science teaching. The SPLATS got their name because they were conceived originally as 'splats', short and pithy statements that could be written on brightly coloured cardboard and stuck on walls, reminding students of what a segment of study is all about.

Later, I invented an acronym for the project: "Science Principles, Laws, Assumptions, Theories and Something" (I still have to get the best final word, but all the best jargon acronyms are created this way). It matters little. My aim was to come up with neat statements, in 160 characters or less, outlining the big ideas of science, the key assumptions that are often left out when science is being transmitted. It is our failure to spell out the big ideas that causes people to think science is counter-intuitive.

There are now around 3000 of them, rather too much for the cardboard budget of most schools, and they have a few more useful functions to perform. They provide a framework for teachers, or for students who wish to move on, independently, or for parents trying to help their children. They also offer trigger points for further searches, which is why I have been careful to list full names and technical terms, to aid tailored searching.

The SPLATs are not intended as crib sheets, lists of key facts to be learned, because in most cases, they give you the bare bones, starting points, things to argue about. They are also, as I have been noticing near the end, incomplete. One day, I plan to go through the shorter files to see what else I can add.

Science SPLATS Chemistry SPLATS Physics SPLATS Biology SPLATS Earth Science SPLATS Extraterrestrial SPLATS Technology SPLATS

A bit about me

I write, I talk, I argue. I even get paid to do it. If you are silly enough to want to know more about a cantankerous (some would say tincankerous) science-oriented monomaniac, try these links:

Science Playwiths (activities and explorations) Some of my talks on the ABC (Mainly Ockham's Razor, ABC Radio National) My writing activities (I write for young people, also for a more general/adult audience)
This file is, first created on July 24, 2004. Last recorded revision (well I get lazy and forget sometimes!) was on March 1, 2010. There was an article about these in September 2004 in EQ Australia and in Connections 58. These links were last checked, October 2009.

Note: If you like my ideas, use them -- if you share my ideals, and you can see some gaps, I am happy to have suggestions for improvements.

© The author of this work is Peter Macinnis --, who asserts his sole right to the product as it is packaged here, recognising that many of the ideas are common. The format is not copyright, and neither are the individual propositions. You are free (and encouraged) to use this as a model to do your own version. Copies of this whole file or site may be made and stored or printed for personal or educational use, and they may be shared in any format, so long as no money changes hands. I give them away for free, and I expect you to do the same!

In any other event, follow this principle: you may use the SPLATs freely in the classroom and on any internal network, so long as my copyright statements remain in place. Understand that I hunt down copyright thieves and embarrass them. If you have a need that falls outside of what you can see here, I will be flattered to hear of it, and will almost certainly grant you carte blanche, as the limitations are only there to mess up parasites.

By the way that e-mail address won't work unless you stick my first name on the front of it. People can manage that, spammers' harvesting systems can't. The address shown exists, but it is a spam hole that is rarely looked at.

This site had 219,000 hits on the index page from 1999 to January 2007 and an unknown number on other pages. In January 2007, a combined counter was placed on all of the pages, counting page hits which now total