Daphne's FAQ - Daphne the Science Guinea Pig, gets letters!

Our Travels
We take our homeschool on the road as often as we can and these pages may show you how you can too!
Our Photography - it's one of our hobbies.

Our Course of Study
Explore the topics we studied in our homeschool.

Daphne The Science Guinea Pig: We love Math & Science

Update: 2022. Some of the links on this page are outdated or broken, but it's still fun to read anyway. This was a huge part of our middle school Science program that may give you some ideas


Our FAQ (frequently asked questions) process is very scientific! If Daphne gets a question that requires too much keyboarding, she "negotiates" with our keyboarding expert and off the reply goes! Sometimes a questions requires a good deal of thought or research. Daphne is known for her creativity and resources! If she can't find an answer she'll tell you that, but when she does, she'll supply the resource, (if possible) as well.

Daphne's FAQ Topics:

google usage Rocketry Botany
Quantum Physics How glass is made Handwarmers
Small motor issues Earth Sciences Apple-Intel
Weather satellites Math NURB
Guinea Pigs  Building Web Pages Freeze time of warm water

Dear Daphne, What is the Scientific Method?
It is the experimental method. It is objective. A scientist does not decide how things should be, but observes how things are. It is a controlled experiment. Scientific method strongly emphasizes empiricism and rationalism.

A Controlled Experiment contains the following types of variables: a "Manipulated" Variable, a "Responding" Variable and Controlled Variables. MORE

Dear Daphne, Scientific Method is great for older students and Science fairs, but how do I teach it to a 5 year old?
You don't teach it, as the instructor, you follow Scientific Method as your process, encouraging research, asking "what do you think will happen?" and asking "why do you think that happened?". Encourage your Scientist to record what they see, in the form of drawings or by dictating their observations to someone who can write or type! Scientific Method is a good discipline to start early in your Science career!
Dear Daphne, Do you have any favorite spots where you like to hang on the Internet?
www.google.com - where would a pig be without google? I also like to go to www.carolina.com for supplies, thought they don't have grapes or orange candy! There is a high interest in Physics in our laboratory, so sometime we find good stuff at: www. physlink.com . But our absolute, all time favorite spot is www.howstuffworks.com.

Dear Daphne, How do I use google.com?
Where would a pig be without google? Google is really easy to use. Google usage instructions.

Dear Daphne, We're studying Quantum Physics and we are looking for anything on Stephen Hawkings...
You can write to Stephen Hawkings and direct your questions to the man himself. He has a web site: Stephen Hawking's Website. PBS also has a great section: Stephen Hawking's Universe
Dear Daphne,  I am wondering how you learned how to type?    (TOP)
I have been trying to teach my chinchilla, but to no avail. I bet it was all that extensive homeschooling you gave her, huh? My chinchillas, Ramses and Amenhotep were working with Timon and Pumba and that typing tutor Mavis Beacon (
http://www.mavisbeacon.com/), but then their mom said, nope, no more 9.x games on my computer. OS X or else! (We love our Macs!) So, now they are stuck! I do let them practice on the laptop on occasion, but they shoved it off the desk and broke the screen, now they spend too much time staring at the "ink blot" on the LCD screen instead of working on their typing skills. (They are convinced its a "Chinchilla Rorschach Test!"). My cats on the other hand, can type quicker than I do...go figure? What are your secrets? Cindy - Utah

Dear Cindy in Utah,
I really don't type, my humans think I do though. I use I-Listen from Apple. It's really quite easy to order online. I talk to the computer and it listens! Here's a review:
http://www.applelinks.com/mooresviews/il101.shtml My humans think it is a great tool for those students who have difficulty with using a pencil, something about small motor problems, (everything I have is small motor!) so the tool doesn't get in the way and the stories get written! It's also great in the Lab for writing Science reports!
Dear Daphne, How do weather satellites work? How big are weather satellites?, How far away from the earth are they? Do they ever come out of orbit? DD (TOP)

Dear DD,
Very Interesting Questions! One of my favorite Internet places is
www.howstuffworks.com. A general answer to how satellites work can be found at: http://science.howstuffworks.com/satellite.htm
An excerpt from the page:
In this edition of How Stuff Works, by Gary Brown, we will show you how satellites operate and what they do. You'll get to see what's inside a satellite, explore the different kinds of orbits and find out why the intended use of the satellite affects the choice of orbit. We'll even tell you how to see and track a satellite yourself!

You will find satellite images from NASA at: http://www.ghcc.msfc.nasa.gov/GOES/

The University of Wisconsin department of Physics provides an introduction to weather satellites: http://physics.uwstout.edu/wx/wxsat/wxsat.htm

Lockheed Martin also has an informative website: http://www.thetech.org/exhibits/online/satellite/3/3c/3c.1.html#weather and http://www.thetech.org/exhibits/online/satellite/home.html

I hope this helps in your studies!

Dear Daphne, I found out that Guinea Pigs were and still are considered a delicacy by South Americans. AL 

Dear AL
I read that in a copy of Smithsonian Magazine recently and found that rather disturbing as well. SO I am offering this chemistry experiment, Chicha de Maní, a fermented peanut drink to help you focus on other culinary areas of South America!

Dear Daphne, I am hosting science club for our co-op next Thursday. We are going to study rocket boosters and build small paper rockets. I picked up several resources from the library, but what I was hoping was to get a good web link for a virtual field trip regarding rockets. Do you have any in your repertoire that might be useful? Thanks, Terri   (TOP)

Dear Terri,
WOW! Rockets are the coolest! We have a collection of model rockets in our lab! It depends on what you really want to see in a field trip and what the age group is. Here are the sites I have collected, the best being "How Stuff Works" for a field trip: http://science.howstuffworks.com/rocket.htm
"One of the most amazing endeavors man has ever undertaken is the exploration of space. A big part of the amazement is the complexity. Space exploration is complicated because there are so many problems to solve and obstacles to overcome. The biggest problem of all is harnessing enough energy simply to get a spaceship off the ground. That is where rocket engines come in. Rocket engines are, on the one hand, so simple that you can build and fly your own model rockets very inexpensively."

Other sites:
Kennedy Space Center Launch schedules and live video: http://www.ksc.nasa.gov/
J et propulsion at NASA: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/

MIT: http://web.mit.edu/dept/aeroastro/www/labs/SPL/home.htm
MIT has a long tradition in space engineering research. From Apollo to the newest space observatories the institute's contributions continue to provide state-of-the-art solutions for challenging problems. The mission of MIT's Space Propulsion Lab is to continue this tradition by developing advanced propulsion technologies for spacecraft of the 21st century.

The National Association of Rocketry: http://www.nar.org/
The National Association of Rocketry is the oldest and largest sport rocketry organization in the world. Since 1957, over 80,000 serious modelers have joined the NAR to take advantage of the fun and excitement of organized rocketry!

Here is a list of all the topics available from the Beginner's Guide to Model Rockets site. http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/airplane/shortr.html

The Beginner's Guide to Aeronautics: http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/airplane/index.html
The Beginner's Guide to Aeronautics (BGA) was created as a Web-based "textbook." The creation of the BGA is a research project to explore the use of the personal computer and the Internet to present educational materials to students, teachers, and lifelong learners in a more interactive way than a printed, bound textbook.

The Beginner's Guide to Model Rockets: http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/airplane/bgmr.html
The Beginner's Guide to Model Rockets will show you the basic math and physics that govern the design and flight of model rockets. Unlike full size rockets, aerodynamics plays a major role in the flight characteristics of a model rocket. At this Web site you can study how model rockets operate at your own pace and to your own level of interest. Because the flight of the rocket involves the interaction of forces on the rocket, we have included several pages on the fundamentals of forces. Because aerodynamics is involved with the motion of the rocket, there are several pages devoted to basic gas properties and aerodynamic forces. There is a short index of topics that you can access from any page, so you are never more than two clicks away from any other Web page at this site.

I hope this helps at your science club meeting!    (TOP)
Daphne - the Science Guinea Pig

Dear Daphne, Our is group is going to study glass and how glass is made. Do you know how glass is made? Thanks, G   (TOP)

Dear G,
Glass making is an interesting process. Did you know Corning Glass has a virtual tour you can take? http://pt3.sbu.edu/VFTs/Corning/index.htm

"How Glass is Made"
Written by Steve W. Martin, Ph.D., Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Iowa State University
" No other kind of factory looks like a glass plant. Huge bins called silos hold the raw materials for glass making. These materials are powders that look much alike but can produce greatly different results. Giant roof ventilators and huge stacks release the terrific heat required to melt these powders to a white-hot liquid. At the hot end of the plant are the furnaces"....read more

I hope this helps.
Daphne - the Science Guinea Pig

Dear Daphne, I am going to be preparing a unit on Earth Sciences. Do you have any suggestions for worthwhile material? signed JJ.
Dear JJ,
There are so many directions you could take a Unit study on Earth Science. A good general resource is the "Exploring Earth" website. It is supposed to accompany a textbook, but often textbooks are boring and often inaccurate, so maybe just use the web site, it looks really worthwhile: Exploring Earth. At this web site the "Investigations" and "Visualizations" are the items I would blend into a Unit Study.

Being a small creature, I am always interested in the weather. Cold weather can be rough on us little guys. One place I have found a good unit on weather is in the United Kingdom. It's called Four Seasons. At this website you'll find a good manual, broken up into four manageable PDF files and several worksheets. You can also access the database the schools in England are generating. Four Seasons

I also enjoy the Geology part of Earth Science. One Internet stop I like is the University of California, Berkeley Museum of Paleontology, Geology wing. The other thing that is fun to do in Utah is to go digging for Trilobytes in Delta, Utah: U-Dig Fossils

You really can't have a unit on Earth Sciences without a section on volcanoes! A primary focus of volcanology is to provide scientific and educational information that can lead to hazard mitigation. Michigan Tech's Volcanoes page aims to provide information about volcanoes to the public and to complement other informational sites on the web. The U.S. Geological Survey is another favorite spot for studying volcanoes. A great movie you can view is: Island of fire: [Montserrat's violent volcano] a National Geographic explorer video available at the library.

I hope this helps.
Daphne - the Science Guinea Pig

Dear Daphne, I have such a tough time with some topics in Math. Do you have resources to to help us in Math! Luvin5
Dear Luvin5,
Math is such a broad topic. I have been keeping quite a bit of Math information on another webpage. I guess it migh be time for me to unveil it! <See Daphne's Math pages>

I hope this helps.
Daphne - the Science Guinea Pig

Dear Daphne, What is the best way to learn how to build a webpage? drvoltz
The best way to learn how to build a web page is to just do it. There are some great books available: Creating Web Pages for Dummies, Sixth Edition, Creating Web Pages for Kids & Parents (The Dummies Guide to Family Computing) We like the humor in the "Dummies" series books. There are also some great online spots to learn how to build a website:

Html Basix contains a good variety of tools for the beginner through to the advanced webmaster who's looking for a snippet of code to place in their page.

webmonkey for kids - Learn everything you need to know about building your own homepage. Make an online birthday invitation, slide show, self-portrait, and more.

build-website.com - This website development guide explains how to design, develop, publish and promote a simple web page. It introduces important web development concepts, methods, techniques and tools.

The other thing you can do is invest in a WYSIWYG development tool. You basically lay out how you want your web page to look and it creates all the HTML code you need. All you have to do is publish the pages. We use Dreamweaver from Macromedia to develop this website.

If you do choose a WYSIWYG, like Dreamweaver, Adobe GoLive, or Microsoft Frontpage, there are "dummies" books available that are a huge help: Dreamweaver MX 2004 for Dummies, Adobe GoLive 6 for Dummies, Microsoft FrontPage 2002 for Dummies (With CD-ROM)

So now you can get started!
Daphne - the Science Guinea Pig

Daphne on the topic of Botany

Sometimes I get invited along on the adventures my "people" take. They often travel as part of school and we recently went to Florida to study Botany. Not that Florida wasn't great, the bathing suit was a bit much. I preferred exploring the nearby orange grove to swimming. Our Botany project includes finding, photographing and identifying 40 vascular and 5 non-vascular plants as a springboard into Botany. Operating the camers is not what I do best, I did however manage to find some great books to help us in our study:

Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification by Thomas J. Elpel

Guide to the Vascular Plants of Florida by Richard P. Wunderlin, Bruce Hansen, Bruce F. Hansen

Florida Wild Flowers and Roadside Plants by Ritchie C. Bell, Bryan J. Taylor

More Botany Questions
Dear Daphne, I have a dilemma that I hope you can help me with. What was the difference between a fruit and a vegetable? Hope you can help.

It depends on who you ask, a botantist or horticulturist. The big question to ask is, DOES IT HAVE SEEDS? If the answer is yes, then technically, you have a FRUIT. This, of course, makes your tomato a fruit. (For all practical purposes I say its a fruit. It's legal and technical mumbo-jumbo that claims it to be a vegetable.) This defintion also also makes cucumbers, squash, green beans and walnuts all fruits as well. VEGETABLES such as, radishes, celery, carrots, and lettuce do NOT have seeds (that are part of what we eat) and so they are grouped as vegetables. Now don't go looking for tomatoes next to the oranges in your grocery stores. Certain fruits like tomatoes and green beans will probably always be mostly referred to as "vegetables" in today's society.(Reference: Yard & Garden Solutions)

Hope that helps.
Daphne the Science Guinea Pig

Dear Daphne, How do ThermaCare™ Heat Wraps work? C.C.

Dear C.C.
I recently had experience with this remarkable product. As I have written before, my "people" take me on their adventures with them and our trips to Yellowstone National Park and Mt. Rushmore were no different except that instead of the usual royal treatment, I got to go camping. Being the caring owners that they are, my "people" treated me to a night in a large styrofoam cooler with fluffy blankets and a ThermaCare™ Heat Wrap. It was the best idea yet and I was so thoroughly comfortable, I didn't want to get up in the AM. I also wondered how ThermaCare™ Heat Wraps work and here's what I found:

How do Hand Warmers Work? (an expirement - hand warmer explanation is mid page)

More on handwarmers, ThermaCare™ describes it too...

Sincerely, Daphne, the Science Guinea Pig

Dear Daphne, How do you think the Intel processor is going to affect the Mac?
From: Alex, Katie and Cindy

Dear Alex, Katie and Cindy,

In General I think the Intel chip for Apple is a good thing. It's going to affect marketing Apple products more than anything. I am on a Mac now and my "people" have used Macs since 1982 - Apple diehards, so I expect to see good things. I think it will be in true Apple style, a smooth transition without too many hiccups. The PR people at Apple have thier jobs cut out for them.

In a nutshell:
Technically - we'll see a G5 soon.

From a hype point of view - Apple wants more market share, nobody likes Microsoft and Apple wants to ride in and save the day. Apple also wants to sell more iPods and make the music and movie industry happy by providing a secure platform for their products. Intel chips provide that technology now.

One good resource for stuff like this is a fellow homeschooler Shawn K. Hall at: http://reliableanswers.com/

When I asked him what he thought, he basically said technically it's a bleep on the radar and then provided this analogy that I like very much:

"If you had the option of buying one of two cars today. One is cheap and is ridiculed primarily because the drivers don't know their left from their right. The other is a little more expensive (maybe it has labeled arrows on the steering wheel?), and has a much more dedicated fan base. Each is comparable in every other way - warranty, features, safety... but you know that after only one year the vendor for option #2 is going to completely stop providing fuel for their vehicle. Which one do you choose? Are you going to place your money, as a consumer, on a car that's effectively sold to you with a matching tombstone and a ticking time-bomb under the hood?"

I also read some other opinions before forming my own:
Going for Broke: Apple's Decision to Use Intel Processors Is Nothing Less Than an Attempt to Dethrone Microsoft. Really.
By Robert X. Cringely


June 06, 2005
Intel-Apple: A First Reaction
By Jason Snell
"Why did it do it? Steve Jobs himself pointed to two key facts that anyone following the Mac for the past two year will already know by heart: Two years ago, Jobs promised a 3-GHz Power Mac G5, and it still doesn’t exist; and there are still no G5-based PowerBooks anywhere to be seen. "

Hope you have a great summer!

Best Regards,
Daphne the Science Guinea Pig


Dear Daphne: I'm curious. What's a "nurb?" signed, An autodidact from Charm, o-HI-o


In short, a NURB is the acronym for Non-Uniform, Rational, B-splines. NURBs are used in surface modeling or 3-D imaging on computer screens. The field of geometric modeling is huge, especially if you are an engineer planning on going into the field of mechanical computer aided engineering (MCAE). Some pages that explain NURBS:

The Dirty Little Secrets of NURBS by Stephen M. Hollister, New Wave Systems, Inc.

Rendering NURB Regions for 2D Animation by R J Oddy and P J Willis Computing Group School of Mathematical Sciences University of Bath Bath, Avon U.K.

There are several products available that use B-spline, NURB curve and surface technology:

Pilot 3D-CAD, AutoCAD , I-deas NX Series

Engineering companies that use this sort of technology NASA, BMW, Ratheyon, Boeing, Proctor & Gamble.

Hope that helps,

Best Regards,
Daphne the Science Guinea Pig


Dear Daphne: I need you to settle a debate that I have with some engineer friends. Which will make ice cubes faster, warm water or cold water? signed, peacemaker

Dear Peacemaker,

We have that debate here, though I am fond of making ice with cold water in the summer and warm in the winter. Faster isn't an issue for me, I have all the time in the world, though from what I found, warm water freezes faster:

From the SciBoard operated by the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of the University of Louisville:
Q. Does hot water freeze faster?
Ans. You put two pails of water outside on a freezing day. One has hot water (95 degrees C) and the other has an equal amount of colder water (50 degrees C). Which freezes first? The hot water freezes first! Why? [read on]

I also love to read "The Straight Dope, and here is what Cecil Adams had to say on the topic:

Which freezes faster, hot water or cold water?
The Straight Dope: by Cecil Adams
You were smart to let me handle this.... God knows what would happen if you tried to experiment with ice cubes on your own."[read on]

It is always good to consult a physics guy at a University:

Can hot water freeze faster than cold water?
1998 by Monwhea Jeng (Momo),
Department of Physics, University of California
Yes -- a general explanation: Hot water can in fact freeze faster than cold water for a wide range of experimental conditions..[read on]

And I always look to the guys who would use this idea for practical reasons:

The FORUM ON BEER, HOMEBREWING, AND RELATED ISSUES says " Hot Water freezes faster, yes, it really does."

But if you don't trust my resources go to the library and check out these publications(all of the resources I found online sited these articles):

"Hot water freezes faster than cold water. Why does it do so?",
Jearl Walker
The Amateur Scientist, Scientific American,
Vol. 237, No. 3, pp 246-257; September, 1977.

"The Freezing of Hot and Cold Water"
G.S. Kell
American Journal of Physics, Vol. 37, No. 5, pp 564-565; May, 1969.

So I hope that settles the debate, I know it did around here!

Best Regards,
Daphne the Science Guinea Pig


Do you have a question for Daphne?
Ask Daphne.


© 2005-2022. Bright Kids at Home LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Contact Us .   Privacy Policy.