Wednesday, November 6, 2013
If you're interested in helping your kids learn at home, you should visit my site on About.com. Homeschooling is a wonderful educational alternative, whether you do it full-time or in conjunction with traditional schooling.
Come check out the Homeschooling site on About.com!
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Geek Mom: Projects, Tips, and Adventures for Moms and Their 21st-Century Families is a new book from Potter Craft co-authored by me and the other editors of Wired.com's GeekMom blog: Natania Barron, Corrina Lawson and Jenny Williams.Written primarily for moms who want to share their geeky interests with their kids, it includes fun activities like superhero costumes, math puzzles, snack food hacks, and science-y crafts, as well as a whole chapter of at-home experiments.
Robotics: Discover the Science and Technology of the Future with 20 Projects, a book for kids ages 9-12 from Nomad Press, is packed full of information about how robots work and contains "low tech/no tech" projects based on actual robotics research. No special tools or skills are needed to build any of the working robotics models in this book -- just ordinary crafts materials and recycled electronics parts!
Both these books are available from Amazon or your favorite local bookstore. You can see sample projects and photos and read more about the books on my website Crafts for Learning, my Amazing Robotics Projects Facebook page, and on GeekMom and GeekDad!
Sunday, September 2, 2012
One common theme in the never-ending discussion of Creationism versus evolution is "Why not teach both and let kids make up their own minds?"
The problem with that line of thinking -- leaving aside the fact that Creationism is usually understood to mean the creation story of one particular culture, rather than a comparison of the many, many traditions of how the world began -- is that when it comes to evolution, both sides are just not equal. In order to believe in Creationism in a literal sense, you have to unbelieve practically every big idea to be embraced by science in the last century. This is the argument Bill Nye makes in the video above:
Your world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don't believe in evolution. I mean, here are these ancient dinosaur bones or fossils, here is radioactivity, here are distant stars that are just like our star but they're at a different point in their lifecycle. The idea of deep time, of this billions of years, explains so much of the world around us. If you try to ignore that, your world view just becomes crazy, just untenable, itself inconsistent.The Science Guy goes on to plead with parents not to make their children deny evolution "because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can ... build stuff, solve problems."
The video comes from a website called Big Think. Thanks to its sensationalist title -- Bill Nye himself talks only about "denying evolution" and makes no comment on people's personal beliefs -- the video has gotten over 3.5 million hits since it was posted on August 23, a little over a week ago. It has been mentioned on news sites around the internet, and Nye went on CBS and CNN to clarify his views.
As he says, "Learning the story is great, but it's not science."
Saturday, June 16, 2012
GeekMom has been keeping me busy. I hope to post some more about recent chemistry projects we've done, but in the meantime I'd like to highlight a wonderful post by GeekMom writer Melissa Wiley about Barbara McClintock. As Melissa writes:
Attention science buffs: Edith Hope Fine’s biography of groundbreaking geneticist Barbara McClintock (1902-1992) is available free on Kindle this weekend, June 16-17, 2012! As we mentioned back in April, Barbara McClintock: Nobel Prize Geneticist is a lively biography for readers nine and up, illuminating the life and work of this remarkable scientist. Dr. McClintock won the Nobel Prize in 1983 for her discovery of “jumping genes,” small pieces of DNA can move from one place to another in a genome. She conducted most of her research on maize, working with crops she raised herself.You can read Melissa's interview with the author, Edith Hope Fine, on GeekMom. Her post includes links to other posts about science and some science activities, including one that originally appeared on my other blog Home Chemistry!
Monday, January 16, 2012
It's been a while since I updated this blog. Among the things that has been keeping me busy is contributing ideas to GeekDad editor Ken Denmead's series of activity books for parents and kids. The latest in the series, The Geek Dad Book for Aspiring Mad Scientists: The Coolest Experiments and Projects for Science Fairs and Family Fun, contains a dozen projects first seen here and on my other "home science" blogs. (Check the sidebar if you've never seen them!)
What's even more exciting is that I'm now at work along with my three co-editors at GeekMom.com on our own book! It is due out in the Fall of 2012 from Potter Crafts, a division of Crown Publishing. And my own activity book for kids, Robotics: Discover the Science and Technology of the Future with 20 Projects, will be out this summer from Nomad Press.
There's a lot going on, but in the meantime, drop by GeekMom.com and GeekDad.com for more great family activities!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
If you didn't get to see the nice picture of the kids and me playing with our computer microscope for the New York Times (the photos are not on the NYT website), here's a reprint of the article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
It was a thrill to be featured in the article about our computer microscope in the New York Times Business section. Home Biology is where my two teens and I kept records of all the activities we did and resources we found in the course of a year of homeschooling biology. In the sidebar on the right you'll find lots, conveniently arranged by topic.
Despite the description in the Times, we don't really have a lab in our dining room. And the computer microscope described in the article is about the most sophisticated piece of science equipment we use. But we can tell you a lot about studying living things with kids at home using low-tech and inexpensive equipment. If you look at the Topic Labels in the sidebar, you can find posts about our forays into microphotography using a standard student microscope (which has a higher magnification than the computer model) and my digital point-and-shoot camera. There are also lots of posts about our "labs" (perhaps not what a traditional high school biology lab would look like, but a hands-on activity that got my kids thinking and doing science). I also labeled some activities kitchen biology because they involve food. Those were my favorites!
I'd love to hear what you think about our activities and our blog. And if you're interested to see what we've done in other science areas, be sure to visit our other blogs: Home Chemistry, Home Physics, and this year's project, Integrated Science at Home. And anyone who's interested in ways to bring science and technology (as well as scifi, games, and all kinds of fun stuff) to kids should check out the other blogs I'm a member of, GeekMom and GeekDad.
You can also find information about activity books for kids and my school and library programs at my website Crafts for Learning. You'll find contact info there as well. Thanks for stopping by!