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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They Do It Again!
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...
Published on June 16, 2012 by John Jacobson

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0 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars okay
This book is okay I thought it was going to have a little more than it did I bought my son microscope for Christmas and wanted him to learn a variety of different things to look at but it's very limited to what he can work on. He's just turned 10 although he's very intelligent it's hard to keep him focuses for an extended period so I need some projects that are not long...
Published 20 months ago by msbdoll


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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They Do It Again!, June 16, 2012
By 
John Jacobson (Riverside CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture (DIY Science) (Paperback)
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:

Coacervates
DNA chemistry
Gel electrophoresis
DNA separation by gel electrophoresis
Chlorophyll and photosynthesis
Osmosis
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
Fungi
Simple plants
Seed plants
Nematodes
Arthropods
Vertebrates

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.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource., May 26, 2012
This review is from: Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture (DIY Science) (Paperback)
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.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly fun and informative; highly recommended for all levels, May 3, 2012
By 
Ken L Lawrence (Austin, TX United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture (DIY Science) (Paperback)
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.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Lab Guide for Maker & Homeschooler on Microbiology, May 24, 2012
This review is from: Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture (DIY Science) (Paperback)
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
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Really Good Instructional Guide, February 20, 2013
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This review is from: Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture (DIY Science) (Paperback)
I was quite surprised when I started going through this book. It is an excellent introduction to biology lab work. While the authors sell a kit to use with the experiments, they list all the equipment needed and even suggest less costly / more obtainable alternative materials and equipment.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing resource for learning modern biology, February 13, 2013
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This review is from: Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture (DIY Science) (Paperback)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, December 3, 2012
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Clear and concise. As it says--All lab. Even connects you with a way to get all the supplies needed to perform the experiments at a reasonable price. Takes you through all the steps for the experiments, including all safety procedures.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's all here, great for high school biology students!, June 29, 2014
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I'm a retired biotech executive who is teaching high school biology for a post-retirement second career. I've been searching for a source of information to help me plan lab projects for introductory biology students in 9th and 10th grade. I needed the labs to be uncomplicated enough to conduct in a 48 minute class, not demanding of expensive equipment or supplies, and yet rich enough in substance to be intellectually rewarding for the students. This book does an excellent job of all of that, exceeding my expectations by all measures. It's terrific!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book-- but heed their advice, April 30, 2014
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This review is from: Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture (DIY Science) (Paperback)
All lab-- no lecture. They're not kidding! This book MUST be supplemented with an appropriate microbiology book or the student (such as myself) will only have an incomplete understanding of what's going on. There are suggestions inside the book. The illustrations and photos are top-notch and the instructions are relatively clear. (I still manage to confuse myself sometimes, but I can't in good conscience blame the instructions since they always make sense in retrospect.)

If you want a preview of the book, the complete text is available as a PDF on the Home Scientist website. A simple Google search should find it. If you will actually be performing the experiments, a paper copy plus the supply kit from that same website makes the whole process go much smoother.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice book for home Biology studies, December 24, 2012
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This review is from: Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture (DIY Science) (Paperback)
After purchasing Thompson's Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry, I decided to purchase this book for biology. As a home scientist (actually a real scientist with a PhD) and a potential educator, I had my eyes on this book for a while. This is a nice lab manual, and any serious home scientist/hobbyist interested in hands-on biology will enjoy this book. Anyone with a decent microscope (or two) could stand to gain a lot using this book, which addresses a number of diverse areas of the science, including environmental science. The chapter on how to set up a home lab will be particularly useful. Thompson's book would also be very well suited for home schooling at the high school level. Though I haven't gone through the book in detail, I've looked through it thoroughly, and am extremely happy with the content and the level of the material. Highly recommended for any budding biologist or student-- or home hobbyist.
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Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture (DIY Science)
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