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Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture (DIY Science) [Kindle Edition]

Robert Bruce Thompson , Barbara Fritchman Thompson

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Experience the magic of biology in your own home lab. This hands-on introduction includes more than 30 educational (and fun) experiments that help you explore this fascinating field on your own. Perfect for middle- and high-school students and DIY enthusiasts, this full-color guide teaches you the basics of biology lab work and shows you how to set up a safe lab at home.

The Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments is also written with the needs of homeschoolers firmly in mind, as well as adults who are eager to explore the science of nature as a life-long hobby. To get the most from the experiments, we recommend using this guide in conjunction with a standard biology text, such as the freely downloadable CK-12 Biology (

  • Master the use of the microscope, including sectioning and staining
  • Build and observe microcosms, soda-bottle worlds of pond life
  • Investigate the chemistry of life from simple acids, bases, and buffers to complex carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, enzymes, and DNA
  • Extract, isolate, and observe DNA
  • Explore photosynthesis, osmosis, nitrogen fixation, and other life processes
  • Investigate the cell cycle (mitosis and cytokinesis)
  • Observe populations and ecosystems, and perform air and water pollution tests
  • Investigate genetics and inheritance
  • Do hands-on microbiology, from simple culturing to micro-evolution of bacteria by forced selection
  • Gain hands-on lab experience to prepare for the AP Biology exam

Through their company, The Home Scientist, LLC (, the authors also offer inexpensive custom kits that provide specialized equipment and supplies you’ll need to complete the experiments. Add a microscope and some common household items and you’re good to go.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Robert Bruce Thompson is a coauthor of Building the Perfect PC, Astronomy Hacks, and the Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders. Thompson built his first computer in 1976 from discrete chips. It had 256 bytes of memory, used toggle switches and LEDs for I/O, ran at less than 1MHz, and had no operating system. Since then, he has bought, built, upgraded, and repaired hundreds of PCs for himself, employers, customers, friends, and clients. Robert spends most clear, moonless nights outdoors with his 10-inch Dobsonian reflector telescope, and is currently designing a larger, computerized, truss-tube Dobsonian that he plans to build. Barbara Fritchman Thompson is, with her husband Robert, the co-author of numerous books about computers, science, and technology. With her Masters in Library Science and twenty years' experience as a public librarian, Barbara is the research half of our writing team.


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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.7 von 5 Sternen  29 Rezensionen
41 von 41 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen They Do It Again! 17. Juni 2012
Von John Jacobson - Veröffentlicht auf
Robert Bruce Thompson and his wife Barbara Fritchman Thompson are now focusing on the home school market. After writing primarily about computers and astronomy for years, they are writing science lab books for the home school market. Their first book for that market was Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments, this one is covers building a home lab for biology experiments. This is not a biology text, as the subheading states, "All Lab, No Lecture." They also sell kits to supply materials for the lab experiments for each book in the Home Experiments series.

In spite of the statement "All Lab, No Lecture," there is a great deal of prose in the book, all of it written in clear, insightful style. Few writers can match the clarity and economy of the Thompsons' writing.

The book begins with instructions on setting up a lab, including chapter and verse on microscopes, culture, histology, and general laboratory equipment. There is basic instruction in using a microscope, mounting and staining specimens. Chemist that he is, Robert then spends time in labs exploring acids, bases, buffers, carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, enzymes, and vitamins.

In all, there are 33 labs listed, with multiple procedures within each lab. That authors have attempted to cover the main areas of biology intro courses, a partial listing of subjects covered include:

DNA chemistry
Gel electrophoresis
DNA separation by gel electrophoresis
Chlorophyll and photosynthesis
Cell division
Sampling plant populations
Rhizobia effects on plant growth
Air pollution testing
Soil and water pollution testing
Mendelian genetics
Culturing bacteria
Bacterial antibiotic sensitivity
Simple plants
Seed plants

It's amazing to me that the authors were able to present so many subjects in such detail in this book. And the clarity and depth of writing also amazes me. I'm a physician, and have been studying biology for many years. The writing in this book meets or surpasses that of other books I've read on these subjects.

There is an 11 page index, there are review questions for each lab session, and the illustrations including the photomicrographs are of good quality.

For the aspiring young biologist, the home schooled high school student, and the older person who would like to catch up on current laboratory science, this book is highly recommended. As with all books in this genre, for maximum safety, younger students will need to be closely supervised as they do the experiments.
28 von 29 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent resource. 27. Mai 2012
Von Hello Happy - Veröffentlicht auf
A few days ago, Mr. Jack Andraka, was awarded the $75,000 Gordon E. Moore Award for inventing a new way to detect pancreatic cancer, which uses a paper-based sensor that can be dipped into blood or urine, is 90 percent accurate, costs three cents to make, and takes five minutes to run. That means his test is 28 times faster, 28 times less expensive, and over 100 times more sensitive than current testing practices. He invented the test in five months, start to finish, after his uncle died from the disease. The kicker? The Moore Award is for high-school science fairs. Mr. Andraka is a freshman. He is 15 years old. So how can you raise your own, young Jack Andraka?

Well, one great way to start is to get a new book in the O'Reilly "DIY Science" series, Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments. The book explains, in clear and straightforward ways, how to run your own biology lab experiments in your own home. There are chapters on how to set up your own, for-real laboratory at home, how to use a microscope, and other basic techniques. Then, a long series of chapters walks you (and your young Dexter) through experiments and studies for the entire range of biology: from Osmosis, to DNA Separation, to Cell Division, to studying Proteins, Enzymes, and Vitamins, and much more.

After you go through all of these experiments, you would be well on your way to becoming a scientist (or at least a lab technician) in your own right. Note that Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments is not really for young children, as biology itself gets pretty complicated. But you and your child should at least gain a broad and practical understanding of the wonders of the living world around us. And maybe, just maybe, you'll be on your way to changing the world. Just like Jack Andraka.
15 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Incredibly fun and informative; highly recommended for all levels 3. Mai 2012
Von Ken L Lawrence - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Ever since the authors wrote the "Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments" I have been eagerly awaiting this book. Both books are exceptionally well written for all levels of experience. I use these books for self education to expand my knowledge on various topics and conduct my own experiments and these are perfect for me.

This book is laid out succinctly with abundant illustrations and numerous suggestions for keeping your expenses to a minimum. Very much appreciated. I have a lot of books on self taught biology and this is by far the best. If you do like this resource, you should also check out the associated chemistry book.

I now eagerly await their book regarding Forensic science and experiments, which has been previously hinted about.
11 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent Lab Guide for Maker & Homeschooler on Microbiology 25. Mai 2012
Von Ira Laefsky - Veröffentlicht auf
This excellent guide to home based microbiological experimentation provides clear instruction and excellent pedagogy for the maker/hobbyist and for homeschooling. The equipment, mostly microscopy, and its selection is clearly described, as are the procedures for all experiments. Full description and instruction is provided around each experiment, and thought-based factual and essay questions are provided for education and enlightenment. This book is excellent in the fun and education it offers, as is the companion volume on home chemistry experiments.

I have only two caveats to offer about this excellent handbook: Firstly, some may prefer or choose to supplement its pedagogy with a clear hierarchical description of the corresponding biology taught in a more lecture/traditional text form to supplement the experiments. Also, despite the title the book concentrates exclusively on microbiology as opposed to other biology experiments that might be performed at home, such as dissection of plants and animals visible to the naked eye, experiments involving bioluminescence, or the production of cellulose from the fermentation of kambucha.

A thoroughly educational and simultaneously entertaining introduction to microbiology for the home Maker and for in-home education.

--Ira Laefsky
6 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen An amazing resource for learning modern biology 14. Februar 2013
Von Florida Outdoors Guy - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
I have been feeling rather bored with my current occupation and just felt I needed something to kick start my intellectual curiosity. Biology is a field I toyed with in college but never took the plunge.
Well, college was a long, long time ago, and now I want to at least feel connected to the field without having to face going back to school with a room full of 19-year olds.

I wanted to buy a microscope, but was completely confused by all the terms and features. Then I got this book.
There is a whole chapter dedicated to microscopy, including what features and brands to look for. I hadn't realized there is a whole DIY Biology subculture out there- people just like me.

I think it helps to have at least some science courses under your belt so you would get the most out of the labs. But even if you don't, the text is excellent, and worth having even if you never opened a petri dish.
Make sure to heed their safety warnings, especially with regards to safe practices with live cultures. I am really looking forward to doing as many of the labs as possible.

Also, as another reviewer noted, you will have some serious practical knowledge and lab skills by the end of the coursework.
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