Living Science Resources

Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded by Simon Winchester is a 400 page tome that could be read in a year to cover high school geography, history, and, most particularly, geology. Using the vehicle of the most powerful volcanic explosion in recorded history, the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa in the Sunda Strait near present day Indonesia, Winchester explores the history of colonization, the development of the theory of plate tectonics, and (almost incidentally) tells the hair-raising story of the explosion and subsequent tsunami that killed nearly 40,000 people. This book is sufficient for a year’s worth of high school geology and about a term’s worth of supplemental history reading with the usual caveat for Christians that our religion is occasionally treated as an amusing set of myths. Parents will want to prepare some lesson plans with a geology text nearby in order to flesh out some of the scientific chapters, or send their students on learning expeditions of their own.

Chemical History of a Candle Study Guide: This is a study guide with experiments I created for Michael Faraday’s A Chemical History of a Candle, a series of lectures he gave at the turn of the (20th) Century about combustion, and how understanding combustion has led to a fuller understanding of chemistry, the science of matter. I have not, as of yet, completed all of the experiments, but they are readily available on the internet. As with all experiments using caustic or combustible materials, use caution, keep hazardous material out of the reach of children, and try the experiment yourself before letting your youth loose with it.

Better yet, The Engineer Guy has reproduced the series of lectures, with commentary, and his free study guide. You can access them here:



4 thoughts on “Living Science Resources

  1. Kathy,
    We are getting ready to do our first experiment this week! We were just wondering what type of protective gear you have used? I know you have listed we need protective eye wear, gloves, appropriate clothing, etc. Can you be specific about what you used. Did you buy aprons, gloves, and goggles?


    • I like the eyewear that forms a tight seal around your face, something like these. For the experiments using acid, these gloves should be useful although I have not directly tested them by dipping them in acid. Do NOT count on the disposable nitrile or latex gloves for experiments using chemicals, they are worse than useless. I think creating an extra layer with an old t-shirt is sufficient for an apron as you are not, or should not, be working around large quantities of the chemicals, but home science tools also sells aprons and they are a good idea.


  2. Kathy,
    Julie here again! We were all set to do Lesson 2’s experiment, when we realized we do not have a L shaped glass tube for capturing vapor, condensation. You did not list this as needed in your materials. Did you use just a straight one? If so, was is successful? When we looked up the experiment on You Tube, it showed the bent tube. Any guidance would be much appreciated!!


  3. I did use a straight tube, and I caught vapor but was not able to catch it on fire. The L-shape escaped me entirely! Once the conference is done I will order one and see how that works.


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