Secular Science Resources for Homeschoolers



Middle School Biology 2018-2019



Middle School biology class taught from August 2018 to May 2019.

Middle School Biology 01

Middle School Biology 02 – Water

Middle School Biology 03 – Cells

Middle School Biology 04 – Cells, Membranes & Bubbles

Middle School Biology 05 – Photosynthesis

Middle School Biology 06 – Stomata

Middle School Biology 07 – Mitosis

Middle School Biology 08 – Meiosis

Middle School Biology 09 – Inheritance

Middle School Biology 10 – DNA

Middle School Biology 11 – More DNA

Middle School Biology 12 – Cytosis

Middle School Biology 13 – Lego Mutations

Middle School Biology 14 – Darwin & Wallace

Middle School Biology 15  – Geologic Time

Middle School Biology 16 – Fossils

Middle School Biology 17 – Time

Middle School Biology 18 – Ecology

Middle School Biology 19 – Predator & Prey

Middle School Biology 20 – Classification & Food Chains

Middle School Biology 21 – Plants

Middle School Biology 22 – Flowers

Middle School Biology 23 – Wild Flower fieldtrip

Middle School Biology 24 – Plants & Protists

Middle School Biology 25 – Invertebrates

Middle School Biology 26 – Arthropods

Middle School Biology 27 – Frog & Butterflies

Biology Field trip – Stream Study

Middle School Biology 29 – Feathers

Middle School Biology 30 – Frogs & Pigs


High School Biology 31 – Bones

I got this lab from the Holt curriculum, Chapter 26, A Birds Airframe.  I didn’t have duck bones but managed to buy some beef soup bones in the freezer section of the grocery store and cleaned the meat off some chicken wings.  I also happened to have some song bird skulls that I had saved, when I found the dead birds in my chimney during some house repairs last month.   Lastly, I had an unknown bone that I had picked up somewhere, which we determined to be a coyote ulna.  Students measured the density of the bones by finding their mass on a triple beam balance and found their volume using water displacement.  The densities weren’t actually too different, which I found surprising, but the bones we used were not from the same part of each animal, for example, they weren’t all leg bones, which would lead to a better comparison. Another factor is that some of the bones were quite old, while others were ‘fresh’, some had been boiled and some had not.


Students cracked open the chicken bone and saw that the bone is not solid bone but has a  goey center  – bone marrow.  We looked at both the bone and bone marrow under the microscope.



Middle School Biology 30 – Frogs & Pigs

I wasn’t planning on dissecting pigs and frogs with the middle school class but there weren’t as many high school students willing to dissect as I thought there would be so I had an extra fetal pig and an extra frog.  I had kept the high school specimens so we were able to compare the two fresh dissections, which were both male to the female frog and pig that were done last week.  I gave the students a diagram of the digestive organs of the pig and they had to label the different organs.


Science Fusion Physics for Middle School

This class used Science Fusion Module I & J and is complete.  2017-2018.

SF Physics 01 – homeschoolsciencegeek


SF Physics 02 – Acceleration – homeschoolsciencegeek

SF Physics 03 – Forces – homeschoolsciencegeek

SF Physics 04 – Gravity – homeschoolsciencegeek

SF Physics 05 – Pressure & Buoyancy – homeschoolsciencegeek

SF Physics 06 – Gravity waves & terminal velocity – homeschoolsciencegeek

SF Physics 07 – Fieldtrip! – homeschoolsciencegeek

SF Physics 08 – Work & Power – homeschoolsciencegeek

SF Physics 09 – Potential & Kinetic Energy – homeschoolsciencegeek

SF Physics 10 – Simple Machines – homeschoolsciencegeek

SF Physics 11 – Static Electricity – homeschoolsciencegeek

SF Physics 12 – Holiday Circuits – homeschoolsciencegeek

SF Physics 13 – Mini Motors – homeschoolsciencegeek

SF Physics 14 – Waves – homeschoolsciencegeek

SF Physics 15 – Oscillations – homeschoolsciencegeek

SF Physics 16 – Sound – homeschoolsciencegeek

SF Physics 17 – Field trip! – homeschoolsciencegeek

SF Physics 18 – Speed of Sound – homeschoolsciencegeek

SF Physics 19 – Electromagnetic waves – homeschoolsciencegeek

SF Physics 20 – Blue Skies & Headless Polar Bears – homeschoolsciencegeek

SF Physics 21 – Mirrors – homeschoolsciencegeek

SF Physics 22 – More mirrors – homeschoolsciencegeek

SF Physics 23 – Optics – homeschoolsciencegeek

SF Physics 24 – Light Technology – homeschoolsciencegeek

SF Physics 25 – Polarization – homeschoolsciencegeek

SF Physics 26 – Solar bag – homeschoolsciencegeek






R2 Physics 07 – Friction

Students were told to read Section 2.2: Wheels in How Things Work: The Physics of Everyday Life or Chapter 7: More About Forces in the Cartoon Guide to Physics.  I requested the students watch the first 5 minutes of Crash Course Physics on Friction.

And some videos by Doc Schuster:

We pretty much jumped right into the lab activity today, which was to measure the coefficients of static friction, μs, and kinetic friction, μk, for a block on a surface (table cloth, cardboard, rough wood, whatever).  There were a couple of ways students could make the measurements.  The first involved placing a block on the surface and tying a string from the block to a weight hanging over a pulley.  The amount of weight hanging off the string is the pulling force on the block.  If the block is not moving (a = 0, therefore net F = 0) then the force of friction must be equal and opposite to the pulling force.  Likewise if the block is not accelerating up or down then the normal force is equal and opposite to the force of gravity, the block’s weight.  The weight of the block is measured in Newtons on a spring scale.  If we had been doing the experiment on a ramp, then the normal force would NOT be equal to the force of gravity, we’d have to take into account the angle of the ramp – but today we just dragged the blocks horizontally.  To measure the coefficent of static friction the students had to find the maximum pulling force they could exert on the block WITHOUT making it move.  Once the block starts moving the force of friction is now kinetic friction, and is less.  We’re trying to find the maximum force of static friction, Fstatic = μsFNormal, how much force do we have to overcome to make the block move.  When they had that force, roughly 1N, they divided it by the normal force of the block to find the coefficient of static friction.   The coefficient of frictions, static and kinetic, depend on the two surfaces. If the block is rough like sandpaper and is being dragged over a rough wood board, then the friction is going to be higher than if the block has been sanded smooth and is being dragged on a polished surface.  IMG_2357

The coefficient of kinetic friction should be less than static friction, its easier to keep an object moving then to get it moving in the first place.  Think about trying to move something heavy  like a fridge, at first it won’t budget until you exert a very large force, but once you have it moving its easier and you don’t have to push so hard.  To measure the force of kinetic friction, students dragged the block on the same surface at constant speed with a spring scale. If the block is at constant speed (at least roughly constant), then its acceleration and net force must be zero, so the force measured on the spring scale is equal (opposite direction) to the force of friction on the block.IMG_2359

Just as before they can now find the coefficient of kinetic friction, Fkinetic = μkFNormal by dividing the force on the spring scale by the normal force (weight they measured earlier) and indeed it was less than the coefficient of static friction.

The third measurement involved using the Go Direct Force Sensor from Vernier. Its basically a digital spring scale that sends the data directly to your iPad via bluetooth. Using this sensor students collected data while they slowly increased the force on the block until it started moving and then tried to keep it moving at a constant speed.


The graph of the data looks like this:IMG_4914

As the student increases the force on the block the Go Direct sensor records the increasing force, indicated above with the red line, but the block has NOT started moving yet.  As the force reaches 0.72 N, the block starts moving and the force drops to 0.52N (green line).  From this one data set students can get read off the forces required for both the static and kinetic coefficients of friction.

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George Lakoff has retired as Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is now Director of the Center for the Neural Mind & Society (