Parents using a homeschool science curriculum are often looking for interesting science experiments that are easy and inexpensive. Although these can be easy to find for grade school students, they can be harder to find at the high school level. Thankfully, even high school biology labs can use everyday items from your kitchen. No expensive kits required.
Even high school Biology labs can use everyday items from your kitchen.
I recently gave a presentation at a local homeschool expo on exactly this topic and since most of my readers don’t live locally, I thought I’d share it here so you can benefit from it as well.
First, let’s just review some of the typical topics covered in a high school Biology course.
Typical Biology Topics:
- Basic Science Concepts (scientific method, atoms & molecules)
- Cells & Cellular Processes (cell division, photosynthesis)
- DNA & Genetics
- Kingdoms of Life (bacteria, protists, fungi, plants, & animals)
- A Basic Introduction to Human Body Systems
Despite the apparent differences in curriculum, most Biology courses require the same types of equipment and supplies.
Typical Biology Supplies:
- A Compound Light Microscope
- Prepared Slides (these consist of specimens permanently glued to a glass slide)
- Dissection specimens and tools
- Glassware (beakers, test tubes)
- Chemicals and Stains
Just a glance over that list and you know that it’s going to be expensive. And if you’ve done any research on Biology equipment you know just how crazy those lab supply packages can be.
After a very quick search of the lab supply kits put together by popular publishers, I found kits ranging in price from $100 to nearly $300. And those don’t even include a microscope or textbooks!
Sadly, homeschooling families sometimes just resign themselves to paying these outrageous prices. One of my goals at Suburban Science is to help make labs affordable for homeschooling families. Although some labs require specialized supplies (like a microscope), most supplies have easy household substitutes: cups instead of test tubes and beakers, or homemade slides rather than prepared ones.
Homeschooling families often resign themselves to paying outrageous lab supply prices.
By contrast, my Biology course uses only about $60 of scientific supplies. And if you want to save even more on supplies, you can just watch the video demonstrations of each lab.
The problem, of course, is that it’s easier and more convenient for parents to use the pre-made kits than to search the internet for alternatives. In order to save you some time staring at the computer screen, I’ve done some of the legwork for you!
This PDF file includes 5 labs:
- 1) Osmosis
- 2) Enzymes
- 3) Fermentation
- 4) DNA
- 5) Human Vision
Each lab includes background information, procedures, and adaptations for younger or older students. I hope this will save you some money and time as you prepare for a homeschool Biology course. Best of luck with your year!