One of the more popular books I’ve ever reviewed here, judging by the number of people who read the review, was this one on home chemistry. Now, let’s see if we can meet or beat the physical sciences with this new title: Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture (DIY Science). Robert Bruce Thompson, author of the chemistry book, has teamed up with Barbara Fritchman Thompson, to produce this new work.

The book has a lot of experiments in it, organized in a reasonable way, with complete instructions on everything. I would prefer to see more graphics illustrating the procedures and materials, but there are illustrations and they are good. I would just like more. The 30 or so experiments (parsed out into a much larger number of procedures) is targeted towards middle and high school students and in particular, home schoolers, but also hobbyists. The Illustrated Guide is designed to be used along side a biology text.

One of the best ways to evaluate a book like this may be to look at the Table of Contents. So, here it is, unformatted:

Chapter 1 Introduction
Using this Book with Your Curriculum
Planning and Scheduling
Work Areas
Maintaining a Laboratory Notebook
Chapter 2 Equipping a Home Biology Laboratory
Microscopes and Accessories
Microscope Accessories
Culturing Equipment and Supplies
Histology Equipment and Supplies
General Laboratory Equipment
Major Equipment
Prepared Slides
Specimens
Chapter 3 Laboratory Safety
Prepare Properly
Dress Properly
Avoid Laboratory Hazards
Don’t Do Stupid Things
Chapter 4 Using a Microscope
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure I-1-1: A Microscope Tour
Build a Darkfield Apparatus from Pocket Change
Review Questions
Chapter 5 Mounting Specimens
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure I-2-1: Making Wet Mounts
Procedure I-2-2: Making Smear Mounts
Procedure I-2-3: Making Hanging Drop Mounts
Procedure I-2-4: Making Sectional Mounts
Review Questions
Chapter 6 Staining
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure I-3-1: Simple Staining
Procedure I-3-2: Gram Staining
Review Questions
Chapter 7 Building and Observing Microcosms
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure II-1-1: Gathering Materials
Procedure II-1-2: Building Aquarium Microcosms
Procedure II-1-3: Building Winogradsky Column Microcosms
Procedure II-1-4: Observing Winogradsky Column Microcosms
Review Questions
Chapter 8 Observing Succession in Aquarium Microcosms
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure II-2-1: Observe Succession in Microcosms
Review Questions
Chapter 9 Observing the Effects of Pollution in Microcosms
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure II-3-1: Build Polluted Microcosms
Procedure II-3-2: Observe Succession in Polluted Microcosms
Review Questions
Chapter 10 Acids, Bases, and Buffers
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure III-1-1: Percentage and Molar Concentrations
Procedure III-1-2: Effect of Concentration on pH
Procedure III-1-3: pH of Household Materials
Procedure III-1-4: Buffers
Review Questions
Chapter 11 Carbohydrates and Lipids
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure III-2-1: Investigating Sugars
Procedure III-2-2: Investigating Starches
Procedure III-2-3: Investigating Lipids
Review Questions
Chapter 12 Proteins, Enzymes, and Vitamins
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure III-3-1: Investigating Proteins
Procedure III-3-2: Investigating Enzyme Catalysis
Procedure III-3-3: Assaying Vitamin C Concentration in Urine
Review Questions
Chapter 13 Coacervates
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure III-4-1: Prepare and Observe a Coacervate
Review Questions
Chapter 14 Extracting, Isolating, and Visualizing DNA
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure III-5-1: Extracting and Visualizing DNA
Review Questions
Chapter 15 Build a Gel Electrophoresis Apparatus
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure III-6-1: Making the Gel Casting Container and Comb
Procedure III-6-2: Assemble the Apparatus
Chapter 16 Simulated DNA Separation by Gel Electrophoresis
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure III-7-1: Prepare Running Buffer
Procedure III-7-2: Prepare and Cast the Gel
Procedure III-7-3: Load and Run the Dye Specimens
Review Questions
Chapter 17 Chlorophyll and Photosynthesis
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure IV-1-1: Observing Carbon Dioxide Uptake
Procedure IV-1-2: Determining the Effect of Light Intensity on Photosynthesis
Procedure IV-1-3: Chromatography of Plant Pigments and Locating Cellular Energy Reserves
Review Questions
Chapter 18 Investigating Osmosis
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure IV-2-1: Observing Osmosis in Chicken Eggs
Review Questions
Chapter 19 Investigating Cell Division
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure IV-3-1: Observing Mitosis
Review Questions
Chapter 20 Sampling Plant Populations in a Community
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure V-1-1: Choosing and Preparing the Survey Area
Procedure V-1-2: Surveying the Plant Community
Procedure V-1-3: Performing a Population Count
Review Questions
Chapter 21 Observing the Effect of Rhizobia on Plant Growth
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure V-2-1: Grow Lima Beans With and Without Rhizobia
Review Questions
Chapter 22 Air Pollution Testing
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure V-3-1: Building Particle Traps
Procedure V-3-2: Positioning and Exposing the Particle Traps
Procedure V-3-3: Counting and Identifying Particles
Review Questions
Chapter 23 Soil and Water Pollution Testing
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure V-4-1: Obtaining Soil and Water Specimens
Procedure V-4-2: Testing the Reagents
Procedure V-4-3: Making Boron Concentration Comparison Standards
Procedure V-4-4: Testing Specimens for Boron
Review Questions
Chapter 24 Exploring Mendelian Genetics
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure VI-1-1: Testing Subjects for the Ability to Taste PTC
Procedure VI-1-2: Charting Inheritance of PTC-Tasting Ability
Review Questions
Chapter 25 Observing Specialized Eukaryotic Cells
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure VII-1-1: Observing Onion Epidermal and Elodea Leaf Cells
Procedure VII-1-2: Comparing and Contrasting Eukaryotic Cells
Review Questions
Chapter 26 Preparing Culturing Media
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure VII-2-1: Preparing Normal Saline and Nutrient Media
Review Questions
Chapter 27 Culturing Bacteria
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure VII-3-1: Staining and Observing the Original Culture
Procedure VII-3-2: Inoculating Plates and Tubes
Procedure VII-3-3: Producing Pure Cultures
Review Questions
Chapter 28 Investigating Bacterial Antibiotic Sensitivity
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure VII-4-1: Testing Antibiotic Sensitivity
Procedure VII-4-2: Culturing an Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Strain
Procedure VII-4-3: Retesting Sensitivity of the Resistant Strain
Review Questions
Chapter 29 Investigating Protista
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure VIII-1-1: Observing Spirogyrae
Procedure VIII-1-2: Observing Euglenae
Procedure VIII-1-3: Observing Amoebae
Procedure VIII-1-4: Observing Paramecia
Review Questions
Chapter 30 Investigating Fungi
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure IX-1-1: Observing Zygomycota
Procedure IX-1-2: Observing Ascomycota
Procedure IX-1-3: Observing Basidiomycota
Review Questions
Chapter 31 Investigating Simple Plants: Mosses and Ferns
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure X-1-1: Observing Moss Structures
Procedure X-1-2: Observing Fern Structures
Review Questions
Chapter 32 Investigating Seed Plants
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure X-2-1: Observing Germination of a Seed Plant
Procedure X-2-2: Observing Root Structures
Procedure X-2-3: Observing Stem Structures
Procedure X-2-4: Observing Leaf Structures
Procedure X-2-5: Observing Reproductive Structures
Review Questions
Chapter 33 Investigating Porifera and Cnidaria
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure XI-1-1: Observing Porifera
Procedure XI-1-2: Observing Cnidaria
Review Questions
Chapter 34 Investigating Platyhelminthes, Nematoda, and Annelida
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure XI-2-1: Observing Platyhelminthes (Flatworms)
Procedure XI-2-2: Observing Nematoda (Roundworms)
Procedure XI-2-3: Observing Annelida (Segmented Worms)
Review Questions
Chapter 35 Investigating Arthropods
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure XI-3-1: Observing and Comparing Arthropod Structures
Procedure XI-3-2: Observing Insect Metamorphosis
Review Questions
Chapter 36 Investigating Vertebrate Tissues
Equipment and Materials
Background
Procedure XI-4-1: Observing Epithelial Tissues
Procedure XI-4-2: Observing Connective Tissues
Procedure XI-4-3: Observing Muscle Tissues
Procedure XI-4-4: Observing Nervous Tissues
Review Questions

Comments

  1. #1 Jennifer Coalson
    November 16, 2012

    This is a handy device for the home biologist who needs to pulverize samples, but you do need at least dry ice for cooling. It works best with liquid nitrogen
    http://cell-lysis.com