Monday, November 23, 2009

DNA and Science

Sometimes, life takes you (and the kids) off at a tangent. Most homeschoolers refer to them as 'rabbit trails' and delight in the love of learning it shows the kids enjoying!
Well we experienced a 'rabbit trail' recently.
It started with a Science Magazine- on the cover was a picture of a DNA model, built from Lego blocks. Considering Rebel's love of Lego, I showed him the article.
Next thing you know, he wants to build a Lego DNA helix- and we're off into DNA land :)

If you have lots of Lego Tecnic blocks, you'll be able to manage this mini DNA helix.
Perhaps you don't have the right parts? How about a paper model instead?
This article tells you how to do it- with paper chain like DNA models...
This is a whole activity sheet with a paper DNA model.
The Japanese are really into the whole making things out of paper- so paper DNA models are no different :)

There are many others out there too :) You might be thrilled to learn that K'nex has a DNA model you can build, and a few other sites have their own variants on that theme too...
and then there are the books. The wonderful 4 Real Community helped with suggestions- these are the ones I managed to find and read for myself :)

Have a Nice DNA by Fran Balkwill and Mic Rolph (2002) This book is not 'Young Earth' friendly, other books by the author may cover topics like stem cells and cloning, and the 4 Realers have warned against them.
Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas by Cheryl Bardoe Not strictly DNA, but all about genetics.
The Stuff of Life: A Graphic guide to genetics and DNA by Mark Schultz, illustrated by Zander and Kevin Cannon. This is a graphic novel style guide to DNA- it is incredibly detailed and well written BUT does discuss such things as cloning, stem cells and evolution, although I think the way it is handled is less controversial than many other books- I would not go so far as to say that it was using a Pro-Life viewpoint either- just a neutral one. :) It IS a young adult read, and so is best given to kids who have been taught 'the facts of life' since that features prominently in the book. The suggested reading at the end does include controversial books too. This is definitely a parental advisory book- read it for yourself first ;)

Do be careful what you find to read on DNA with the kids- there are so many different levels of reading, and so many different philosophical viewpoints.

Hope you find these links helpful!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Next Step: SELF Education

Susan Wise Bauer has a wonderful article in the latest Memoria Press Catalogue- all about how we, as homeschooling parents, have a duty to keep educating ourselves, that we might always have the ability to answer the questions of our children.
And then there was this blog post. Between the two, I was even more convicted to start educating myself some more.
Then there was the talk with parents and siblings who are doing yet more degree courses (the distance learning options are better in the UK than they are here in the USA), and the sudden realisation today that because I read the ancient classics to the kids, I KNOW what some of the old classical music pieces out there were written about - and I knew that, for a homeschooling mother, education truly does become a passion :).

So in my sidebar, you will see some of my reading. I am not planning on putting in my relaxing novels. There are too many of those and too many of them would be objectionable to someone or other (different tastes for different people of course LOL) SO instead I am putting in the fun reads I *would* recommend to others, or books I think *might* be interesting to others, or books that I know others are reading and might want to discuss :) And then I have also added the self education stuff too - not sure I will do it quite like AO does (the thought of stretching How to Read a Book over several years does not thrill me LOL).

All my self-education I will tag as 'Motherculture', and I hope that many of you will consider joining me in the Odyssey of my mind ;)