Site Map | Contact

Science Books

Science Education

Textbooks are completely unnecessary for elementary level science education. There are oodles of books on science topics for kids, that are generally more interesting and accurate than textbooks.

There are some basic science reference and experiment books that every homeschooling family should have in their personal library.

Essential Reference Books

If you see a general ad for Amazon, please refresh this page and the proper book information, including price, should appear.

700 Science Experiments for Everyone
ISBN: 0385052758, Published by Doubleday, 256 pages.

This marvelous book covers 15 different areas of science. Includes detailed directions for making your own lab equipment from easily obtained materials. Originally written as a guide for science teachers in developing nations. Editorial Review

At the end of World War II, the newly formed United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), noting the shortage of textbooks and teaching materials throughout much of the world, commissioned a book that would allow teachers to devise laboratory experiments with the most common of materials--candles, balls of paper, saucers, odd strands of twine. UNESCO's report grew into this fine and highly useful collection of experiments in the biological, geological, and atmospheric sciences. The experiments illustrate relatively simple facts--how static electricity can be concentrated, how liquids change to gases, how water is purified by passing through charcoal--with only minimal interpretation. It is therefore best used as a companion to a school primer or science encyclopedia. Now revised and updated, 700 Science Experiments for Everyone retains its emphasis on readily available materials, making this an especially useful resource for home-schoolers and for anyone with an urge to learn firsthand how the physical world works. -Gregory McNamee

Discover Editorial Review

Science rules the headlines these days, with new developments each week in genetics, astrophysics, computers, and medicine, and Discover is a great way to get a broad spectrum of science news. Designed for the general reader, Discover translates and interprets many of the same stories professionals peruse in Scientific American. Accessible articles on genetically engineered food, what's living in your pillows, real robots in action, and what makes a Stradivarius sing add up to a truly delightful family science magazine. Each issue brings to light new and newsworthy topics to stimulate dinnertime and water-cooler conversations beyond the mundane, and Discover spices the mix with puzzles, Web links, book reviews, and experiments for amateur scientists. - Therese Littleton

Marshall Brain's How Stuff Works
Marshall Brain
ISBN: 0764565184, Published by John Wiley & Sons, 352 pages.

Book Description

Marshall Brain's How Stuff Works is a lavish, full-color, highly visual resource for those with hungry minds who crave an understanding of the way things work around them-from submarine ships to digital technology to toilets!

With over 1,000 full-color illustrations and photos showing step-by-step images of how stuff works, these easy-to-understand explanations cover the most popular and interesting subject areas, including Technology, Science, Health, Fitness, Transportation, and more! Sample topics include: How CDs Work, How Car Engines Work, and How Nuclear Radiation and Power Work.

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks and Minerals
ISBN: 0394502698, Published by Knopf, 850 pages.

Book Description

Perfect for mountain climbers and hikers, this valuable reference covers more rocks and minerals in North America than any other available guide. 794 full-color photographs depict all the important rocks, gems, and minerals -- in many variations of color and crystal form -- and the natural environments in which they occur; written descriptions provide information on field marks, similar rocks and minerals, environment, areas of occurrence, and derivation of names. Includes a guide to mineral collecting and a list of rock-forming minerals.

You don't need both of these, just the appropriate one for your region of the country. Handy for identifying the mystery visitor to your backyard bird feeder.

Peterson's Guides: A Field Guide to Western Birds
ISBN: 0395911737, Published by Houghton Mifflin, 432 pages.

Book Description

"The Birder"s Bible" for more than 60 years, Roger Tory Peterson"s classic Field Guide to Western Birds includes all species found in North America west of the 100th meridian and north of Mexico. Featuring the unique Peterson Identification System, Western Birds contains 165 full-color paintings that show more than 1,000 birds from 700 species. Summer and winter ranges, breeding grounds, and other special range data are shown on easy-to-read range maps.

A Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern and Central North America
ISBN: 0395740460, Published by Houghton Mifflin, 450 pages.

Book Description

Roger Tory Peterson had already made his mark with his innovative field guide when he conducted DDT research during World War II. His friend and fellow naturalist Rachel Carson built on these efforts and eventually wrote Silent Spring, a landmark text that, along with Peterson"s field guide, jump-started the modern environmental movement.
By combining the tireless observation of a scientist with the imaginative skills of an artist and writer, Peterson created a field guide that Robert Bateman, in his foreword to the fifth edition, says was the doorway for millions of people into the wonderland of natural history.
The Peterson Identification System has been used in the more than fifty books that make up the Peterson Field Guide series. Peterson"s magnum opus, now in its fifth edition, created the trail for countless field guides to follow. They are still following year by year, but his is the standard by which all other field guides are judged.
On the morning of July 28, 1996, Roger Peterson was painting his final bird plate. He died peacefully in his sleep later that day. It is fitting that his final work—a culmination of more than sixty years of observing, painting, and writing—should be this one, a revision of the guide that started his legacy.

Reader's Digest North American Wildlife
Susan J. Wernert, Editor
ISBN: 0762100206, Published by Readers Digest, 576 pages.

Basically this is a 10 in 1 field guide. It covers the following categories: Wildlife Communities, Mammals, Birds, Reptiles and Amphibians, Fish, Invertebrates, Trees and Shrubs, Wildflowers, Nonflowering Plants, and Mushrooms. Of course, is isn't as comprehensive as more specific field guides, but it is an excellent general reference source.

Science Is...
Susan V. Bosak
ISBN: 0590740709, Published by Scholastic, 515 pages.

Book Description

This classic, award-winning, bestselling science activity book has a fresh new look and updated information for 2000. Its the biggest and best collection of science activities for children 6-14 years. Its jam-packed with more than 450 ideas, attention-getters, projects, experiments, games, puzzles, and stories. All areas of science are covered matter and energy; the human body; the environment; rocks; plants; animals; insects; weather; stars and planets; and technology.

It's for PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS: Heres your answer to all the questions children ask and all the wonders they want to explore from gigantic bubbles to a mini-volcano, to the mysteries of the universe to the wonders of the insect world. Includes science fair project ideas!

It's for TEACHERS: This is the ultimate, hands-on educational resource to enrich and support any curriculum, from elementary grades to high school. The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) rates "Science Is..." as an "excellent" book.

"Science Is..." is truly easy to use, with plenty of background information and engaging cartoons and illustrations. All the activities have been tested and require only readily-available, inexpensive materials. Activities range in length from the popular "Quickies" to projects that can be done over several days or weeks. There are also plenty of fascinating facts did you know that a cockroach can live for nine days without its head?

A Using This Book section provides practical information on guiding and encouraging children in science. The Other Resources listing has been completely updated to help you find other quality books and useful organizations.

The Sibley Guide to Birds
David Sibley
ISBN: 0679451226, Published by Knopf, 544 pages. Editorial Review

More than 10 years in the making, David Sibley's Guide to Birds is a monumental achievement. The beautiful watercolor illustrations (6,600, covering 810 species in North America) and clear, descriptive text place Sibley and his work squarely in the tradition of John James Audubon and Roger Tory Peterson; more than a birdwatcher and evangelizer, he is one of the foremost bird painters and authorities in the U.S. Still, his field guide will no doubt spark debate. Unlike Kenn Kaufman's Focus Guide, Sibley's is unapologetically aimed at the converted. Beginning birders may want to keep a copy of Sibley at home as a reference, but the wealth of information will have the same effect on novices as trying to pick out a single sandpiper in a wheeling flock of thousands. The familiar yellow warbler, for instance, gets no less than nine individual illustrations documenting its geographic, seasonal, and sex variations--plus another eight smaller illustrations showing it in flight. Of course, more experienced birders will appreciate this sort of detail, along with Sibley's improvements on both Peterson and the National Geographic guide:

  • As in Peterson, Sibley employs a pointer system for key field markings--but additional text blurbs are included alongside the illustrations to facilitate identification.
  • Descriptive passages on identification are more detailed than those in most other field guides. For example, Sibley includes extensive information on the famously hard-to-distinguish hawks in the genus Accipiter (sharp-shinned, Cooper's, and northern goshawk), noting differences in leg thickness and wing beat that will be of use to more advanced birders. A section on the identification of "peeps" (small sandpipers) includes tips about seasonal molting and bill length. Confusing fall warblers, Empidonax flycatchers, and Alcids receive similar treatment.
  • As previously mentioned, ample space is given to illustrations that show plumage variations by age, sex, and geography within a single species. Thus, an entire page is devoted to the red-shouldered hawk and its differing appearances in the eastern U.S., Florida, and California; similarly, gulls are distinguished by age and warblers by sex.
  • Range maps are detailed and accurate, with breeding, wintering, and migration routes clearly depicted; rare but regular geographic occurrences are denoted by green dots.
  • The binding and paper stock are of exceptional quality. Despite its 544 pages, a reinforced paperback cover and sewn-in binding allow the book to be spread out flat without fear of breaking the binding.
  • Some birders will be put off by the book's size. Slightly larger than the National Geographic guide, it's less portable than most field guides and will likely spend more time in cars and desks than on a birder's person while in the field. For some it will be a strictly stay-at-home companion guide to consult after a field trip; others may want to have it handy in a fannypack or backpack. But regardless of how it is used, Sibley's Guide to Birds is a significant addition to any birding library. "Birds are beautiful," the author writes in the preface, "their colors, shapes, actions, and sounds are among the most aesthetically pleasing in nature." Pleasing, too, is this comprehensive guide to their identification. - Langdon Cook

Tracking & the Art of Seeing
Paul Rezendez
ISBN: 0062735241, Published by HarperResource, 336 pages.

Amazing. This book is simply amazing. Once you learn the "art of seeing" you will be astonished by how many animals are living all around us, and you'll wonder why you never noticed it before. Stunningly beautiful and clear photographs of tracks and detailed sketches and descriptions of tracks and scat. Editorial Review

A good observer of nature, walking, say, in an oak forest, may discern that some of the acorns on which he or she is treading are broken into little bits. After reading wildlife interpreter and photographer Paul Rezendes's guidebook to animal signs, that same observer will be able to tell which of those acorns have been split by human footsteps and deer hooves and which have been gnawed apart by squirrels--and by what species of squirrel. A wonderfully thorough, well-illustrated compendium, Rezendes's text covers a wide range of North American animal species, including rodents, hoofed animals, bears, raccoons, opossums, and members of the weasel, rabbit, dog, and cat families. He describes not only the signs these animals leave but also their ways of life throughout the year, and with an appropriately environmentalist purpose. "Ultimately," Rezendes writes, "tracking an animal makes us sensitive to it--a bond is formed, an intimacy develops. We begin to realize that what is happening to the animals and to the planet is actually happening to us." He's right, of course, but one need not take such a macrocosmic view of nature to take pleasure in, and learn from, this fine book. - Gregory McNamee

Backyard Habitats
Create your own biological fieldwork lab with a backyard habitat.

An introductory guide to robotics: materials, books, web sites.

Science Equipment
A list of essential equipment for home-based science explorations.

Science is facts. Just as houses are made of stones, so is science made of facts. But a pile of stones is not a house and a collection of facts is not necessarily science. - Jules Henri Poincare

©2000-2013 Barbara L.M. Handley
Privacy Policy and Disclosures