Tag Archives: science

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

I saw (and loved) the movie and wanted to read the book it was based on. When there was a Kindle sale of the book, I bought it. I read it now to see if it would work for our next American History Club meeting about the space race.

Subtitle: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

Published: 2016

Genre: nonfiction science biography

Length: 267 pages of text, 368 pages total

Setting: In and around Langley, Virginia, 1940s-1960s Continue reading

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Physicists

We’re continuing to learn about physics, splitting out time between physics and physicists. Mr. Curiosity finished How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog and found it hilarious, and full of good physics ideas. Now he knows all about about evil squirrels and bunnies made of cheese. I’ve also had the kids learn about physicists, and here’s the books we’ve used.

I found a graphic novel of Richard Feynman called, appropriately enough Feynman by Jim Ottaviani. The book covers Feynman’s whole life, jumping back and forth to different periods of his life. It’s definitely targeted toward an older crowd. For one thing, there’s the physics and tricky mathematical equations mentioned. For the other, the pages are pretty dense with blocks of talking heads and little action showing on the page. Feynman was an interesting physicist who certainly had a way with words, but it’s not like he did exciting-looking activities.

The other book I found is Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science-and the World by Rachel Swaby. It covers women who made significant contributions in medicine, biology, genetics, physics, geology, astronomy, math, and as inventors. Within each category, the scientists are presented in chronological order. The author devotes three or four pages to each scientist and her breakthrough research, often discussing how the woman had to fight against discrimination to get her voice heard. Miss Adventure is enjoying reading this one. The books reminds people that women have been involved in science just as much as men, even if our achievements are often ignored or co-opted.

And those are the books we used for physics this week. Linking up with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or title to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Science Overview Books

My daughter’s gymnastics team is hosting a meet this weekend (Stars and Stripes, a big meet with 1800+ competitors over four days), so I’ve been busy at the convention center all weekend. Team parents are expected to work a couple of sessions to help the whole thing run smoothly. I still have time to review a couple of books, though. I found two interesting science books I want to talk about today:

Let me start with the more general book, The Science Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained) published by DK. DK does some great overview books, so I’m not surprised they are the publisher. This also seems to be one of a series of books focusing on big ideas simply explained (I need to get The Politics Book next for Mr. Curiosity). The book is organized chronologically and for each major scientific breakthrough, you see the chain of observations that lead to the conclusion, what people thought before and after the breakthrough, a biography about the scientist, and some explanatory information. The book has great graphics and is designed for minimal scientific knowledge. It certainly would be an asset to a homeschooling library.

The second book is BODY: A Graphic Guide to Us by Steve Parker and Andrew Baker. As you would expect from the name, each page is a large graphic about a part of the body. The book walks you through the different organ systems and explains how they work with simple graphics. I would just flip open to a page and immediately be drawn into fascinating little details about the body. Miss Adventure spent the entire drive home from the library going, “huh” and then having to read me some tidbit. Be aware that this was published in the UK, so there are some alternate spellings (oesophagus, for example) and the measurements are all in metric.

And those are the new books we flipped through in school this week. Joining up with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or title to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Biomes

Sorry the blog has been quiet lately. Not only has school started for myself and the kids, but our show has entered the final push for performance. We’re doing “To Kill a Mockingbird”, with Miss Adventure playing Scout, Mr. Curiosity playing Jem, and I am the narrator, Jean Louise (Scout all grown up). Opening night is Friday!! We’ve really enjoyed the experience, but we’re also starting to get tired of being out every evening. Good thing it’s almost done, but we have a full week of rehearsals before two performances this weekend. No promises how many posts I’ll get up this week. But, while I’m waiting to leave for my hockey game, I thought I’d put up the resources we’ve been using in our first topic of the year – biomes.

Miss Adventure has been reading Earth’s Biomes by Donna Latham. The book is full of lovely pictures and information in short paragraphs surrounded by colorful graphics. The author covers all five of the biomes, including comparing some specific types like a tropical rain forest vs. a temperate deciduous forest.

Mr. Curiosity, on the other hand, has decided to step up his level of reading. He’s been using Biomes of Earth: Terrestrial, Aquatic, and Human-Dominated by Susan Woodward. This book is more like a textbook. After introducing each biome, the author went into more detail on each biome. She covered characteristics of that biome’s climate, vegetation, soils, and animal life and then talk about specific examples of that biome.

To emphasize the variety of life on Earth, I’ve also had the kids watch episodes of the BBC show Planet Earth. This is an absolutely gorgeous documentary series that covers everything from the deep-sea to deserts, mountains to caves. It shows off the amazing scenery and animals we can find throughout the various ecosystems on Earth. If you’ve never watched the series, do yourself a favor and find a copy. As a bonus, it’s streaming on Netflix!

The kids have also been drawing pictures of each of the biomes, and we plan to make Venn diagrams of characteristics of each biome to see how they interact.

And, those are the resources we’ve been using as we learn about biomes. Linking up with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers’ Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly-Wrap-UpIf you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or title to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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The Long Emergency by James Howard Kunslter

Subtitle: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century

Published: 2005 with an updated afterword in 2009

Genre: nonfiction science

Length: 339 pages

Interest: I’m using this as one of the books in the Environmental Science class I’m teaching this semester. I’ve used it in the past, but can’t remember all the details of the book since it’s been so long since I read it originally. So, time to reread the book. Continue reading

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A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

Subtitle: A Memoir by Lady Trent

Published: 2013

Genre: fantasy travel memoir

Length: 334 pages

Setting: Scirland and Vystrana, in what feels like a Victorian time period

Interest: I have always loved dragons, so when I saw this book combining dragons and science, I was immediately intrigued. Continue reading

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Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

Published: 2016

Genre: science nonfiction memoir

Length: 290 pages

Font: Iowan Old Style

Setting: various locations, mostly in the U.S., about the 1980s to the present

Interest: It’s a science memoir. I was interested as soon as I saw the book in The Modern Mrs. Darcy’s summer reading list and at my library. Continue reading

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