Lessons in This Chapter:
1.1 Scientific Ways of Thinking
1.2 What Is Life Science?
1.3 The Scientific Method
1.4 The Microscope
1.5 Safety in Life Science Research
The big question from the beginning of this class is “Do we need a microscope?” Ideally – yes. But there are many factors that can go into your decision to purchase one. First, I highly discourage spending any money on a cheap microscope. They are more frustrating than useful. If you are not planning on homeschooling through high school biology and you have a child who has no desire to become a veterinarian (doctor, microbiologist, ect.), then it may not be worth the investment. There are many high-quality photos and virtual labs online (links will be provided) that your child can use. You can also check libraries, nature centers, and science museums. Many will have classes in how to use a microscope and some libraries have some that you can use or check out.
If you are ready to make the investment, we recommend the Thames & Kosmos as the very lowest entry point – anything less and it’s not worth it.
If you plan to homeschool through high school and have a child who is interested in the life sciences, we recommend looking at the microscopes available at Home Science Tools. Their home series microscopes run from around $200 to $300. Keep in mind that you need a 1000x scope to see bacteria.
The recommended activities for this chapter are The Microscope Lab and the Penny Lab. If your child is familiar with the Scientific Method, you could skip the Penny Lab. If you are not using a microscope, there is a virtual lab in the student lesson. If you are using the Thames & Kronos microscope, the labs are listed with each chapter under their own tab.