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Top resources for teachers with Big Picture’s new website

17 Jun, 2014
It’s a very exciting week for Big Picture – the Wellcome Trust magazine that brings cutting edge science into the classroom.  The 20th issue, on the topic of Populations, has just been published and a dedicated Big Picture website has been launched so that even more people can access the content. Editor Jen Staves introduces this exciting new teaching resource… those of you not familiar with Big Picture, it’s our magazine and website for post-16 teachers and students of biology. It’s been running since 2005 and is published twice a year. Over the last decade, we’ve published on a range of topics – obesity, sex and gender, evolution, climate change, genetics, exercise and the brain, to name a handful. We look at more than just the biological aspects of these topics; the social, ethical and legal implications play an important role too.

Since it all began in 2005, Big Picture has lived in our own little corner of the Wellcome Trust website. And over the years, teachers and students have asked for things that just haven’t been possible on the Trust site – such as the ability to browse content by type or topic, in a clear, visually-appealing way.

Big Picture has always been a popular resource, and to ensure that more people could access and enjoy it fully, we felt it deserved a dedicated website. This would allow us to better cater to the needs of teachers and students, delivering content in a way that best suited them.

Working with teachers we have developed a set of new features for the website:

  • Responsive design: meaning the website looks and works just as well on a mobile or tablet as it does on a desktop computer.
  • A browsing function: Looking for a lesson idea about cell biology? Or an article about genetics? Go to our Resources page, tick the boxes for the type of content, the topic and the educational level you want and we’ll show you what we have.
  • Glossary: Our new glossary has all of the words we’ve defined over the past 10 years in our posters and issues. If any of our resources contain a word that is defined in our glossary, we’ll highlight it and link to the definition the first time it appears.
  • bigpictureeducation.comA new image gallery format: In one glance, you can see how many images are in the gallery and what they are – and you can easily hop to a later image in the gallery.
  • Animations and videos available for both online and offline use: Everyone loves YouTube, but lots of teachers struggle with access in the classroom. All our videos and animations can be streamed or downloaded to play on your computer, independently of Flash.
  • All PDF content now online: Previously, we put a PDF of an issue online and had complementary online resources. Now, all of the articles in our print issues are online with their own pages in addition to the online resources. We’ve done this for all issues back to our Addiction issue (2010).
  • An updated Fast Facts Player: Our Fast Facts online player has been updated to include the sources. It also appears on each of the issue pages and will play facts relevant to that issue first.
  • Simple downloads of issues: You can easily download all 20 of our issues (and the Fast Facts book) directly from our issues page. (Warning: it’s a big file!)
  • See which issues are out of print: Many of our issues are now out of print, so we’ve marked this clearly on those pages right underneath the picture of the cover. For the most part, we don’t plan to reprint our out-of-stock issues, preferring instead to focus on updating the website.
  • Teacher-friendly printing style: Teachers tell us they still like to print things out for the classroom or revision. Now, when you print something from our website, it will print in black-and-white and the embedded URLs will be visible
  • Pick of the week: Our new feature on the homepage highlights either a new piece of content or something especially relevant at the time. This week it’s our Populations video on buttercups. Next week, who knows? You’ll have to visit to find out…

We have lots more planned over the coming months, including updating all of the older back issues and considering how to include other teaching resources on the site as well.
We hope Big Picture can be useful to everyone, whether you’re teaching, studying, or speaking at a school or conference. We’re keen to hear what you, the users, teachers, students, scientists and public engagement professionals think of the site. Get in touch with your feedback by emailing us at

As with any new website, there are bound to be things that don’t work perfectly right away. We hope to iron out any kinks in the first few months, but if you find something that doesn’t work quite right, just email and let us know. We may already be working to fix it, but if not, we will address it quickly.

In the meantime, get yourself over to and start exploring!


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