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Welcome to HomegrownScientists.org
Site News - Site News
Written by William Finney   
Friday, 17 August 2007

Our goal is to provide a resource to those who choose to homeschool their children or just want to provide some science enrichment to their children.

We will become your stop for:

  • Experiments in a variety of subjects: Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Sciences, Geology and Physics.
  • Explaining how scientists do their work.
  • Providing links to vendors, other lessons and cool places to visit.
  • Reviews of current topics in the science world
  • and a place for you to ask questions!

As we are just starting to put this site together we hope that you will check back often to see what we have added.

Thank you for visiting HomegrownScientists.org!

 
Scratch – Not just programming
Site Reveiws - Cool Sites
Written by William Finney   
Sunday, 09 September 2007

 

Scratch Logo

 The folks at MIT’s (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Lifelong Kindergarten group have done much more than just create a new graphical programming environment with Scratch, they have created a space where children from all over the world can share their creative ideas, learn how computer programs work, and much more. 

 

 
Keeping a Good Lab Notebook
HowTo - Note Taking
Written by William Finney   
Wednesday, 05 September 2007


A small page of notes

 

 

 

Just as important as selecting the proper notebook for recording your scientific experiments is how to take good notes.  Even an experienced scientist can benefit from reviewing good notebook keeping techniques from time to time.  In this How-To we talk about what should go into your notebook, what shouldn’t and how to make a good entry in your notebook.

 
…But Fruit Flies Like Bananas
Experiments - Biology
Written by William Finney   
Wednesday, 05 September 2007

This is not a fruit fly

 

Scientists have used fruit flies, or the scientific genus Drosophila, as an animal model for experimentation and the study of genetics for a long time for many reasons.  You too can catch, learn to raise and study Drosophila.  Fruit flies offer an exceptional opportunity to learn about insect lifecycles, how to maintain cultures of insects, genetics and animal behaviors.  [NOTE: I know that this is not a fruit fly, but Popillia japonica Newman]

 
Weather Watch - What to do with it all?
Experiments - Environment/Ecology
Written by William Finney   
Tuesday, 28 August 2007

White Trout Lily

 

 

 

 

 

We now know what to measure in order to make weather observations but what should we do with those measurements?  In this final part we activities that involve watching the weather.  These projects can be as short as a day or as long as a lifetime and can provide valuable information to meteorologists worldwide.

 
Weather Watch - Wind and Sun
Experiments - Environment/Ecology
Written by William Finney   
Saturday, 25 August 2007

Snowy Scene

 

 

 

In this part we talk about three more weather observations that we can make, wind speed, direction and the duration of sunlight.  Making these measurements are a little more involved and good for someone looking for a project as commercial instrumentation is likely to be out of the price range of most people.  These measurements round out the observations that we have previously discussed and help with making a complete record of the daily weather.

 

 
Weather Watch - Pressure and Humidity
Experiments - Environment/Ecology
Written by William Finney   
Friday, 24 August 2007


Picture of Happy Clouds

 

 

We left off our discussion of the weather talking about recording rainfall and the temperature.  We continue our discussion talking about barometric pressure and relative humidity.  These two parameters can tell us much about the direction the weather is heading, whether we will have fair skies or rainy nights. 

 

 
Weather Watch - Rain and Temperature
Experiments - Environment/Ecology
Written by William Finney   
Thursday, 23 August 2007

Clouds over the Tower

 

 

If you watch the morning or evening news, unless there is a major tragedy occurring you probably are most interested in the weather forecast.  In our modern world the weather can have much larger effects than whether you have your picnic in the park or you take the umbrella with you when you go out.  Strong storms can cause travel delays and even devastate cities.  Too much or too little rain or cold can damage crops.  Even excessive heat can cause illness and death.  What can we learn about the weather?

 

 
Grahping Data by Hand
HowTo - Data Analysis
Written by William Finney   
Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Image of a graph

We have all heard the phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words” before.  When we are presented with unfamiliar, large or otherwise cumbersome data it can be beneficial to construct a graph – a diagram – of the data to help us visualize patterns and trends in numbers.  By making a picture of the data we are able to use our visual senses to help our analytical mind interpret data.   Making graphs by hand is also a good kinesthetic exercise, allowing us to become more familiar with the information that we have collected.

 
The Leaves on the Trees
Experiments - General
Written by William Finney   
Sunday, 19 August 2007

Fall Oak Leaves

I was taking a walk in the neighborhood this weekend, enjoying the cool breeze and thinking about the first experiment I would talk about on this site.  I was looking up and saw a vast sea of green above my head, the leaves on the trees lining the street, thinking about how the trees would look in a month or two and then it struck me, LITERALY, a leaf falling from a tree hit me in the face!.  This startled me for a moment, but it gave me an idea.  Just how many of these leaves are up there?  How much do all those leaves weigh? Are there any interesting patterns to how the leaves fall off the trees in the fall?  How does this change with the size of the tree?  This experiment is good for teaching about averages, sample sizes, and data collection.

 
How to pick a good lab notebook.
HowTo - Note Taking
Written by William Finney   
Saturday, 18 August 2007

 Picture of Composition Notebooks

Choosing the right notebook for your scientific experiments can make all the difference in how you feel about your experiments and how enjoyable the experiments can be.  What you need in a lab notebook depends on the level you are working at, the environment that you will be working in, the convenience and ease of use of the notebook, and the cost.

 

 

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