Category Archives: science

Science Reference Books to Have on Hand



I am a big believer in having lots of engaging reference books around. Then kids can read them for fun, to answer their questions or to actually help with homework. We have a fun collection of science books that we highly recommend for everyone to have on hand! (At 1 very short point in time I sold Usborne just to receive a discount on their reference books.)

The Usborne Illustrated Dictionary of Science: This covers Chemistry, Physics and Biology in one volume but I believe that they are available individually. The colors are vibrant and the definitions are clear and specific. Great for any level, even up to high school.

The Usborne Internet-Linked Science Encyclopedia: This is a super fun encyclopedia. It covers facts across the board in science from mixtures & compounds to plants to the human body to energy. It isn’t written in a long a boring form but littered with graphics and bullet point facts. It also has a quick link compliment that has websites that can take the learning further!

Usborne Mysteries and Marvels of Science: This isn’t an encyclopedia or dictionary but I still consider it a reference book. It has a bunch of mysteries and marvels that kids always wonder about. It has things like force and color and even silicon. This is also an internet linked volume so it has complimentary websites that can take their investigation further.

First Encyclopedia of Science: I really believe in young elementary reference books. It is great fun for the kids to look up interesting subjects and it gets them used to using things like encyclopedias. This is a super colorful volume  and has a great variety of of subjects. This is also an internet linked book so there are a variety of complimentary links that are age appropriate!

100 Science Experiments: This is a volume of easy science experiments that kids can easily do, almost completely alone. These aren’t high level science fair projects but projects that actually teach great concepts. There are lots of illustrations for the young scientist to actually see what they should be doing.

730 Easy Science Experiments: This book is aimed at students any where from 4th grade all the way up through high school. All the experiments are conducted with every day materials. Some are high level like testing ph levels. Some are super simple like using the gluten in bread as an eraser. The experiments are laid out well but don’t explain everything about the results so students can actually research the why’s and do reports!

Geeky Links 5/7

(Image: Science/AAAS)

Who says that science isn’t pretty;)? This is a picture of the foot and mouth virus. Did you know that it is only contagious for 2 days? (via New Scientist)

How does a $25 computer sound to you? Game developer, David Braben, has developed one. It lives on a usb stick and is designed to use in schools. Super cool! (

I know that I am not the only person who is very interested in Portal 2! It seems to be the hottest new game! Check out the Xbox 360 review! (via The Married Gamers)

Do you remember the Smithsonian Museum asking about the games that everyone thought should be in the museum!!! They have posted the 80 winners! Did your make the cut? I love that Donkey Kong and Pac-man are on the list! I think it is fitting that Portal found a spot too! (via Smithsonian)

Cosmic Mysteries in Your Kitchen

By User Zeimusu on en.wikipedia, via Wikimedia Commons

People worry that you can’t really teach your kids science without a school lab. Well, try these on for size;)!

You can simulate a white hole in your kitchen sink. Wired has a great article on not only how to do the white hole but a great break down of what it really is.

Then you can pop over to OrbitingFrog to read how to measure the speed of light. All you need is a microwave, a microwave safe square (or rectangle) dish and marshmallows or chocolate chips! It is an awesome experiment!

So go, learn and have fun with science!!!

Self Healing Concrete

This is just oddly cool! They have found that with bacteria (and food for it), concrete could heal itself of hairline cracks. The key is to seal the bacteria in the concrete so that the concrete doesn’t kill the bacteria before it is needed. They are trying to place the bacteria in a dormant state so that it can be activated when there is a crack. New Scientist has a cool article talking about it!

Frugal Homeschooler: Free Educational Dvd’s

Sometimes homeschooling frugally just means keeping your ear to the ground. Opportunities can just crop up that you need to seize! I stumbled across some educational dvds on some of my homeschool yahoo groups and thought I would share!

Nasa and the American Museum of Natural History are offering a free dvd and educator’s guide! It is called Journey to the Stars and they say it is available for both teachers and parents. As a homeschooler I am filing as a teacher.
The History Channel has a new series called America: the Story of Us going right now. I know many people who are dvr’ing it but don’t bother (unless you want to see it now;). They are offering it on a free dvd! You have to request it before July 1, 2010 and they won’t send it until August.
For both of them you just fill out a form!

Frugal Homeschooler: The Ear

The joy of homeschooling is that you are in the driver’s seat. So you can choose to study what ever you want. You know each family has little games and such you play? Well, I always do the “I am going to eat you up” thing. So I told NerdPie that I wasn’t going to eat her ears because she needed them to hold up her glasses but I was going to eat NerdBug’s. She said she was sure he needed them but when I asked why (the hole would still be in there to his ear;) she wanted to know too. Thus inspired our morning of ear study!

First we started by reading an article together from Kids Health. It layed out all the parts of the ear and what their jobs are. It was presented well and the kids really liked it.
Then we did a little bit of seat work. For the older 2 kids I went to Enchanted Learning. They had a diagram with blank lines and a list of parts. Each part had a definition to go with the name and then the kids had to place them on the diagram. Enchanted Learning does have the diagrams available perfectly formatted for printing but you have to be a paid member for those. These were the free versions;). There was also an answer key so I didn’t have to figure it out.
Then for the younger 2 I went to Edupics for a simple picture of an ear for them to color. While it may not have furthered their real knowledge of the ear, it did work on their hand eye coordination. Look how nicely the Nerdling stayed in the lines!
There you have a simple morning of free learning just because someone asked a question!

Nano Superconductors

Tiniest superconductor: the four-molecule-long nanowire (Image: S.-W. Hla)

Saw-Wai Hla‘s group at Ohio University has developed a wire that is 1 molecule wide. How cool is that? It is zero resistance so it doesn’t lose any heat.

They took that wire and developed a superconductor using wires that are 4 molecules long. The wires were made with an organic molecule and salt on top of a sheet of silver.  From looking at the group’s site it looks like the organic molecule is chlorophyll.  This is so cool!!!

The idea of taking something so organic and creating a semiconductor out of it just so freeing as far as the limitless technology development that could come. Forget a cell phone, build it into your jacket. And making it organic like this would really bring down the production cost. Because really, how hard is it to get chlorophyll;)?

Now obviously this isn’t market ready. It looks like they aren’t sure why it conducts at 4 molecules of length but not 3. So there is a while until this happens in the mass market but heck, I am only 34;).

This is cooler than the Jetson’s robot maid, well maybe;).

(HT: New Scientist)

Theories of Everything

New Scientist has a great articles on the various physics theories that are trying to be the “theories of everything”. These are the theories that they think might make the world;). New Scientist looks at the top 7 in clear terms. Ever wanted to know about String theory after watching Big Bang? Go read and let me know what you think! I think I might read it with my older 2 kids so none of the rest of you are off the hook;).

Safe Edible Glass?

Spray on Glass, yes spray on glass. There is a liquid breathable glass that they can spray on surfaces. You can spray it on surfaces to keep them new but the big arena is in food. You could spray it on food and then it would keep out bacteria. Veggies wouldn’t mold so you don’t have to worry about spoilage. Due to the fact it is only 100 nanometers thin it is totally edible. Science is amazing isn’t it?

So would you eat food with it on it? Even though it is edible I think it might be a mental block for me.