Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Welcome New York Times Readers!

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!


JungleBoy said...


Read about you in the New York Times story and am inspired to gift a microscope to my niece & nephew. I never had the bio inspirers so I turned out to be an uber geek!

Will certainly recommend your blog so my sister can get started on some projects.

Is the Digital Blue QX5 a good choice for a 5 year old girl? Pros, cons... suggestions are welcome.

Thank you!

- Jigar

Kathy Ceceri said...

Yes, I think 5 is a perfect age for the QX5. It is completely sealed in sturdy plastic, with a guard to prevent kids from grinding the lens down on the stage (the little platform that holds the thing you're looking at). And anything you put under it will look amazing to a 5 year old. The microscope comes right out of the stand so you can point it at things too. We were showing the NYT photographer how you can point it at your eye, then turn the light on and watch your pupil contract! And little kids will enjoy playing with things like sound effects you can add to the photos and videos.

The drawbacks are that only the 10X and 100X work reliably (there's a hack to take the guard off to get the 200X working better; see my GeekDad review). And since it's a few years old, you should check that it is compatible with your operating system. I think I saw on Amazon that there is an upgrade for Vista, but I haven't heard if they've got one for Windows 7.

Thanks for the kind words. I hope your sister enjoys my blogs!