Neuroscience at Home

By Greg Gage

The human brain has more than 100 billion cells called neurons. These cells allow us to sense and communicate with the outside world. They are also responsible for neurological diseases that will affect one out five of us, yet we still don’t have cures. While you may often read about the brain, do you actually know how it works? Chances are you haven’t studied neuroscience directly.
         
Studying the brain is difficult to do. The brain activity is electrical and chemical and therefore can be understood only while the brain tissue is still alive. The brain is quite different from other organs, such as the heart, which is a muscle. You could look at a plastic model of the heart to understand how it functions (it is a pump), but a plastic model of the brain doesn’t tell you anything about how it works. In mammals, the brain is protected by a thick skull, which makes getting to it quite difficult. And even if you could get to it easily, the equipment to measure the brain’s electricity typically cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could explore the wonders of the brain by doing neuroscience experiments in your own home? This article will show you how to do just that! By using kits you can build yourself, some insects from around your house, and your smartphone, iPad, or a computer, you will be able to understand many of the basic principles of how neurons encode information.       Continue reading

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Planning a Homeschool Photography Course for Fun or Developing a Career

By Naomi Musch

 

With the advancement of digital photography, nearly anyone can learn to take better pictures and have more fun doing it, as many teens have discovered. Social media gives them a forum to visually share events in their lives with frequency and immediacy such as they’ve never been able to do before.

But what if your student wants to pursue photography with a more passionate purpose? The digital photography craze means that more young people than ever are interested in photography as a potential future career. So how do you, without a professional photographer in the family, guide them along in this elective pursuit, whether for fun or for laying groundwork toward a possible career or cottage industry? That’s what my husband and I have had to figure out as our now-graduating senior, standing on the threshold of possibility, steps into her post-high school future with her eye on turning her passion for photography into a business.      Continue reading

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Cyber Authorship: Inspired Writing for the Internet Age

By Amelia Harper

In February of 2012, a North Carolina father took a handgun and leveled nine shots into his teen daughter’s laptop, recording the whole event in a YouTube video that went viral on the Internet.1 The crime? His daughter had posted disrespectful comments (complete with profanity) about her parents and the chores she was being forced to do around the house. This incident has ignited a firestorm of controversy about the situation, but the father, an IT professional, made the point that he intended: Anything that you post on the Internet can have a far greater impact than you realize.

For writers, especially aspiring ones, the Internet can be a wonderful place to hone your writing skills, publish your thoughts in a public forum, and receive feedback from others. So often, writers, especially teens, are frustrated because they do not have anyone to read their words. By starting a blog, posting notes on Facebook, or simply writing emails, you expand your audience and your purpose in writing. However, there are several aspects of cyber writing that you need to carefully consider first.      Continue reading

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