Informe FinalThe David and Lucile Packard Foundation Beca #1998-4248 Revisión de Textos de Enseñanza de Física
en las Escuelas de Nivel Medio
John L. Hubisz, Ph.D., Hubisz@unity.ncsu.edu
Science Links, South-Western Educational Publishing (Everyday Learning Corporation) 1998
Science Links is a one-year multimedia curriculum of integrated science designed for ninth-grade (or bright eighth-grade) students.In addition to a student textbook for each module, there is a Teacher Edition that contains suggestions for conducting and scoring tests and lab exercises, supplementary readings, class activities, suggested classroom procedures, and a series of videodisks and videotapes.The text material is contained in a 14 volume set of booklets of 88 pages each covering all the sciences that can be used in any order.The format is both convenient and interesting.
Volume 2: WILDFIRE! A Study of Heat and Oxidation is an interesting module.There are indeed a number of physical, chemical, biological, and ecological ramifications of a fire.During my lifetime (HPL) the understanding of these things has changed.When I first went to Montana as a kid there were forest fires being fought assiduously and nowadays some forest fires are intentionally allowed to burn.It turns out that on occasion frequent brush burning fires are good for the forest.The policy in the national parks has changed to encompass this idea.The unifying feature of the wildfire is a good idea.Wildfire was quite good, and the number of errors was nowhere near the number in other books at this level.However, Volume 3: MOTION COMMOTION A Study of Forces and Movement is not as neatly tied together and it breaks down frequently.On pages 70 and 71 students do a number of experiments to see what deformations happen to various objects in a can crusher with varying pressures caused by hanging a bucket on the can crusher's handle.Weights (bricks with a maximum mass of 25 kg) are added to the bucket.The can crusher pictured has been drawn by someone who has not seen one.A can crusher is a neat tool, and the compound levers enable even the weakest of us to crush cans without injury.It's instructive for students to see its levers in action.Hanging weights on its handle will require computations to determine weight on the sample and including friction in a real machine will prove a serious problem. On page T3.67a (“T” refers to pages in the Teacher’s Manual) the teacher is told about the samples to use in the can crusher experiment.These thicknesses can’t possibly be right.Any conclusion, interpolation, or supposed understanding from these numbers will not hold water.As a simple experiment one could call Coca-Cola at 1-800-438-2653 and ask for the appropriate data.Then make a table of the thicknesses for different drinks.Then do the same for Campbell’s Pork and Beans.Call Campbell's at 1-800-232-6736.Best of all, get the students to make their own measurements. Illustrations and teacher wraparounds appear to be add-ons after the student text was done. Page T3-2 uses “fluid”, but a fluid could be a gas or a liquid and since fluids are not very compressible their use in a vehicle suspension system would not be effective.Also “If everything is in motion” then it is impossible to have a fixed point anywhere. Page T3-101 includes this incorrect sentence,"Skin is not a good conductor because the moisture in it allows the current to pass through more easily." Science Links is economical in the variety of its illustrations.A Hydroponics Grower on page 9, in Volume 1 has an orange hard hat and a yellow and black checked shirt. The same illustration is used for an archeologist, a wildlife manager, a food scientist, an oil refinery worker, a forest manager, a soil-conservation agent, a mineral prospector, a wildlife biologist, a plant breeder, a cattle breeder, a coastal resource manager, a horticulturist, an economic entomologist, a park ranger, a veterinary technician, an aquaculturist, a gem cutter, a goldsmith, a hydrologist, a range conservationist, an aquaculture technician, a farm operator, an agronomist, a marine biologist, andcommercial fishers (sic).These are all the same guy!Have you ever seen a goldsmith wearing a hard hat?There are lots of other Career Links that have multiple repeated pictures calling attention to totally inappropriate careers.The publisher apparently saves quite a bit of money by repeating pictures.South-Western Educational Publishing was a division of Thomson Learning, at 1 800-824-5179.www.swep.com was the Internet address.They may now be Everyday Learning Corporation located at http://www.everydaylearning.com/sciencelinks/ The Agency for Instructional Technology is at 1 800 457-4509 The Periodic Table of the elements lists 94 elements on page 1.25.Technetium and francium are identified as man-made.This is simpler than the way the table is presented in other texts and more appropriate for this level. Page 3.27 explains the operation of a speedometer:“Force is applied to the short arm by one of the car's wheels.This long arm extends from the wheel to the tip of the needle on the speedometer gauge.The faster the wheel spins, the more the tip of the needle moves.The large wheel and tire may spin many times per second, but the needle moves only a tiny distance across the face of the speedometer.The input force is much greater than the output force." Page 3.42 shows an unlikely screw jack. Page 3.70 shows an unlikely can crusher.The teacher’s edition has students crushing aluminum cans with very large wall thicknesses. Page T 3.94 tells about the screwdriver with a 3 cm tip and a 24 cm handle, used as an example of a lever to open a paint can. Page T 3 47 has the Coriolis effect and the airplane traveling from Atlanta to Los Angeles to Chicago.The most westerly route is most efficient as the Earth turns toward the east.The clockwise route is most efficient because of the Coriolis effect.Students are to modify the plane to burn hydrogen fuel to make it more efficient (How will they carry the tanks?) and they are to modify the propellers to a steeper pitch (Notwithstanding that the usual pitch of the propeller is computed to permit most efficient use of the engine's power curve).
Page T-3.12 "Preparing Materials":"Screw in two hooks, one in the middle of the side with the smallest surface area and the other in the middle of the side with the largest surface area."The illustration on the same page (Figure 3) shows a hook in the middle of a side with the smallest surface area but the other hook is shown centered near the edge of the block rather than in the middle of the surface.
Page T-3.12 "Preparing Materials":"The percentage of stretch (of a rubber band) will indicate the measurement of force."Unlike a spring scale, the stretching of a rubber band is not linear with respect to an applied force.Any quantitative data obtained using stretched rubber bands will be meaningless unless the individual rubber bands are calibrated, in advance, using a spring scale.It is strongly recommended that an experiment dealing with stretching rubber bands be carried out in reverse to ensure that the band comes back to the same length with which it started.
Page T-3.15:(Note: this error is VERY BAD and will certainly lead to misconceptions.)Question 2 asks, "Explain why a block with a small surface area passing over a rough surface will have more friction than a block with a large surface passing over a smooth surface."The answer to Question 2 states, "The surface area of the block does not influence the friction, but the roughness of the surface does.Because the block with a small surface is passing over a rough surface, it will experience more friction."The question fails to indicate that the block with the small surface area and the one with the large surface area must be equal in weight so the normal forces that press the blocks against the respective surfaces are the same.The answer that is given implies that the contact area between two surfaces never affects friction forces.In fact the incorrect implication is reinforced at the top of page T-3.18 that states unequivocally, "Frictional force is caused by surface roughness and is proportional to the force pushing two surfaces together.Surface area does not affect friction."
Page T-3.18 (Near bottom of column 1):"Would a heavy person be more or less likely than a light one to slip on an icy sidewalk?Why do you think so?"Based on the lesson given in this module, students might give the incorrect response that a light person is less likely to slip on an icy sidewalk because of the weaker normal force that is acting between the person's shoes and the sidewalk.However, the heavier person's pressure on the ice would tend to melt the ice faster making it more slippery.
Page T-3.21 (Investigation 3):The student is instructed to use spring scales to measure forces applied to the ends of a meter stick that is supported by a fulcrum at the 20 cm mark.The weight of the meter stick itself is ignored in the investigation.The hardwood meter sticks that are specified for this investigation weigh slightly more than a newton each.Thus, if the specified force of only 1 newton were applied to the end of the input arm of the meter stick it would partially balance the weight of the meter stick itself and produce approximately half the expected force at the end the output arm.
Page T-3.37 (On Your Own) Question 2:"If you fill a sink with water and then open the drain, the water will swirl as it goes down the drain.If you did this in Canada, in which direction would the water swirl, clockwise or counterclockwise?What if you were in Australia - which way would it swirl there?What is responsible for the direction of the swirls?"The answer given at the bottom of the page states: "In Canada, the water would swirl clockwise.In Australia the water would swirl counterclockwise.The Coriolis force is responsible for the direction in which the water swirls."The misconception that Coriolis is responsible for swirling water directions in sinks apparently still exists in the minds of some teachers (perhaps reinforced by “The X-Files?”It has been proven many times that it is the configuration of the sink or toilet bowl determines the swirling direction.The Coriolis effect (not a force) is only observed in large areas of the atmosphere and oceans of the Earth.It is never observed in sinks.
Overall assessment of Module 3: This module has been organized into four sections, each include one, two, or three major topics that are usually associated with courses in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Earth/space science.According to the Time Frame given on page T-3.vii of this module, all of the required readings, class discussions, lab activities, review of assigned homework, individual and group research, tests and assessments and other activities can be completed in 18 class periods of 45 minutes each.Based on my (HHG) eight years of experience teaching ninth grade science and thirty additional years teaching physics and earth science in high schools, I feel that it is extremely difficult for students to learn so much material and complete many of the activities suggested in so short a time.
Volume 4 CURRENT THOUGHTS: A Study of Electricity and Magnetism Page T 4-91 has the teacher (who has been explaining binary code) ask students, "Which of the following is another example of an "on-off" code?"The choices are among:a) Braille b) Morse code, and c) handwriting. And the answer is "b."However, Braille is very specifically a binary code.Instead of the 8 switch (= 8 "bits") byte of computer codes, the Braille code uses a 6 dot cell (similar to the sixes on dominoes or dice - two vertical rows of 3 dots each), and as Roger, a blind acquaintance who reads and teaches Braille points out, "The dots are there or they ain’t!" Prentice-Hall messes up the binary system too; saying 9 is coded as 00111001 and 17 is coded as 00010001 (pages 576 and 577 EXPLORING PHYSICAL SCIENCE).What is not stated is that the first example is from a commonly used computer language in which the first four characters identify the next four as a digit.Also not stated is that the second example is how 17 would be coded in binary notation if you were required to use 8 places.The zeroes to the left of the first one would be ignored.(In current base ten numbering 17 means seventeen.There's a one in the tens column and a 7 in the ones column.017 means the same - there's a zero in the hundreds column, a one in the tens column and a 7 in the ones column.) Student illustration caption tells why birds aren't zapped when they wander on to a high voltage wire.Page 4-29 says it's because, "The bird's claws would be in contact with only a small portion of the wire, and so there would be no difference in voltage on its legs.Therefore, current would not flow through the bird."Nonsense. Page 4.49 has students light up an incandescent light bulb by moving a magnet back and forth inside a coil of wire which has had its ends fastened to the bulb's fixture.It’s important that students be able to carry out such an experiment.In order to do that we need more specifications on length, number of turns, etc.The previous experiment also needs more specific information. Volume 6 IT’S IN THE FAMILY: A study of Heredity
Page 6.77 has a group of 8 sheep, which proves on closer examination to be a special effect by repeating sheep #1 3 times and then flopping these first four sheep to make the next four sheep.(An example of cloning?)The result is that 4 sheep are backlit by one Sun and the other 4 sheep are backlit by another Sun.Because this is a science book students should be alerted to such image manipulation.Volume 7 Making Waves: A study of Light and Sound The canoe material on pages 7.20 and 7.21 is preposterous.I (HPL) would be happy to take any of my brothers and compete with the writer and any other person of the writer's choosing.The reason pairs of canoeists paddle on opposite sides and generally in synch is that the side of the canoe that gets the power will move ahead.If both paddlers paddle on the right, the right side of the canoe will move ahead, forcing the canoe to turn left. Each paddler's stroke start (while the paddle is tilted ahead and starts to move down) has a component that tends to lift the canoe on that side.If there is an analogous lift on the opposite side the canoe will retain its vertical integrity.In mid stroke while the paddle is nearly vertical, there is only horizontal motion.At the end of the stroke, as the paddle is pulled up, there may be some vertical component which pulls the canoe down into the water on the paddled side.Again, if that force is balanced by the other paddler on the opposite side of the canoe, it will retain its vertical integrity.Should it not retain its vertical integrity, it will tip. Page 7.43 explains elephant communication "that human ears cannot detect" in vocal infrasound, defined as "very low in pitch - about 400 Hz".There are 47 notes on my (HPL) piano lower than 400 Hz, and there are 41 higher.400 Hz is about one and a half semi-tones lower than the oboe's tuning A-440.
Page 7.60's right hand prism bends the red light the wrong direction as it enters the prism.As light of any color goes from air to a more dense medium, it is ALWAYS refracted toward the normal.The rest of the illustration could not be duplicated in an experiment.It would be so much simpler to make a drawing while observing light impinging on a prism!Volume 11 Going for the Gold: A Study of Precious Metals and Gems Page 11.35's prism illustration is difficult to duplicate or explain without reflection along the bottom of the prism (bottom of the prism as illustrated).No such reflection is discussed.Therefore what has happened is that this illustration (which is described as presenting refraction) has bent the light in the wrong direction.Dispersion is not mentioned until later and then not sufficiently to describe what is taking place. Page 11.36 has lost some of the text from the figure.Even so the diagram says nothing about the properties of the media or where the angles are measured from. Volume 14 Liquid World: A Study of Oceans and Ocean Life Page 14.11 draws the equator north of the Gulf of Mexico - approximately through Tallahassee.Presumably this is another incidence of the Coriolis effect.Did you know that the Coriolis effect causes the northeast trade winds that basically sweep toward the southwest from the Horse Latitudes of southern Canada? There are 24 “authors” of SCIENCE LINKS and four “assessment writers.”There are, however, no assessment writers credited in volumes 11, 12, 13, or 14. Some of the early volumes are excellent.The quality does not persist through the final volumes (even the index has multiple errors) where we found that editorial people did the work.That a name is on a given volume does not mean the listed author made a contribution to that book (although in the early books that is more apt to be the case). There is no program to correct errors.Earlier printings and editions of Prentice-Hall's EPS p. 662, and PHS, Vol. R p. 86, and SE, Vol. O p. 118 had prisms bending light in two directions.Some of it was bent the way Isaac Newton described, and some of it was bent away from the prism's base in the opposite direction.Later printings within most recent PH editions (1999 and 2000) replace those errors, and there are fixes on the web (though it's still not quite right).SCIENCE LINKS on the other hand (Vol. 7 p. 60) has a prism refracting light in the wrong way (along with other improbable implications) and will wait for the next edition to fix it. SCIENCE LINKS has a globe illustrated in Vol. 14, p. 11, and the equator goes through Tucson, Texas and Tallahassee.They'll wait for the next edition to fix it.
Integrated Science, Carolina Academic Press, 2000 (and others)Arguably North Carolina's most famous view is that of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. In the 1990 edition they flopped a photo L/R of it on the back cover of Book Two.In 1995 it is properly shown on the front cover of Book One.In 2000 (the year the lighthouse reopened to the public after moving it away from the surf line) it is again flopped L/R on the front cover of Book One, PATTERNS AND CYCLES, North Carolina's 6th grade text.Imagine how reliable the science is going to be!The source of the photos is not shown.NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC May 2000 gets this right. I (HPL) asked to talk to someone about errors, and on May 16th (2000) they said that they'd have an author talk to me.It's July now.They said that there is a web site for corrections that are posted each August but I haven't found it yet.CAP’s page for INTEGRATED SCIENCE is http://www.sci2k.com/ Book One on page 111 and Book Two on pages 54-55 both include periodic tables of the elements.The 1990 book lists 107 elements and pledges allegiance to IUPAC in referring to elements 104 through 107.1990 on p. 51 has an alternative table showing 103 elements.Enigmatically hydrogen is discussed as an alkali metal on page 46 and as a non-metal on p. 48.Perhaps that's because each periodic table in the 1990 book lists hydrogen twice - once on the top-most left and again next to helium on the far right on the top row.The 1995 book (presumably more up-to-date) lists 106 elements (lost one!), and also uses the IUPAC names for elements 104 through 106.More progress is made in that the doubled hydrogen is gone.The rest of the world, which has been ADDING elements at an irresponsible rate, does not match North Carolina’s progress over those five years.#107 was synthesized in 1981 (per multiple sources including TIME ALMANAC 2000), and #108 in 1983.North Carolina should be really careful in selecting new books.There were 115 elements known in 1999. INTERACTIONS AND LIMITS, 2000, ISBN 0-89089-778-6 lists 112 elements on periodic table on pages 186-187.There is a note that says, "Element names conform to the current usage of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry at the date of publication."Page 181 says, "Scientists are now experimenting to create - a new element 114." From this evidence it becomes apparent that this material was written before element 114 was synthesized in January 1999.None of those tables were ever true in those copyright years.109 was true from 1983 to 1994.There were briefly 112 in the mid '90s, but numbers 114, 116 and 118 were synthesized in 1999.This sort of thing is a risk to all publishers who inflate their copyright dates and are behind on their knowledge.A paragraph about the dynamic changes would be much more instructive.
None of this, of course, is an important physics consideration!At this level it would be best to simply present the table with established elements and some note about the possibility of additional elements being produced in the laboratory.A few comments on whether the element is a solid, liquid, or gas at room temperature would also be appropriate.Boiling points, freezing points, densities, color, hardness, and other macroscopic properties would be much more interesting to Middle School students.To use a supposedly up-to-date Periodic Table as a selling point is ridiculous.CAP does not print teacher editions.There's a CD ROM that goes to the teacher upon adoption.It was not reviewed.Carolina Academic Press's INTEGRATED SCIENCE is a three-volume set, published in editions at 5-year intervals.The set is intended for Middle School, grades 6 - 8. Book Two, copyright 1990, ISBN 0-89089-360-8, has a prism that disperses white light into a spectrum in an impossible way on page 169.In fact, what this prism would do (aligned this way) would be to reflect light off its horizontal base exactly like a plane mirror placed where the prism's base is.The incident light is perpendicular to the one slanted plane of the prism, and the outgoing light is perpendicular to the other slanted plane. Book One, copyright 1995, ISBN 0-89089-590-2 has a much better prism/spectrum on p. 465, but still wrong.It also offers more information on the electromagnetic spectrum on page 332, where it shows a spectrum of the Sun's radiation.The gamma radiation is graphed as some sort of oscillation impossibly reversing itself.Also, the ultraviolet portion of the spectrum is shown next to the red end of the visible spectrum, and the infrared is shown next to the violet.This can only be ascribed to ignorance or carelessness on the part of whoever prepared this illustration.It’s the visible light part of the spectrum that is backward.The wavelengths should be radically different and they are not.By 2000, PATTERNS AND CYCLES, p. 96, the funny gamma oscillation has been altered into a plausible sine wave but the ultraviolet remains by the red and the infrared remains by the violet. PATTERNS AND CYCLES, copyright 2000, ISBN 0-89089-775-1 fixes this spectrum on page 96 so each identified frequency has its own different wavelength.All the waves are now more traditional sine waves.However, the ultraviolet and shorter waves are still on the red side of the visible spectrum and the infrared and longer waves are on the violet side.On page 306 X-rays are described as having the shortest wavelengths even though on page 303, it is clear that gamma rays do.The prism on page 211and page 323 has been improved, but is still wrongly depicted.Speed and frequency are equated on page 303.There is still some work to be done here. In Book One, page 344, the eclipse explanation shows the Moon's umbra with an impossible geometry in relation to the Sun.The umbra comes to a vanishing point just before it touches the Earth.No shadow touches the Earth.No shadow - no eclipse.PATTERNS AND CYCLES, 2000, ISBN 0-89089-775-1 uses a slightly larger version of the diagram, and again no shadow reaches the Earth.The geometry of the lunar eclipse is a bit closer to accurate, but not there yet.The student is asked if he has experienced an eclipse and is to write a story about his feelings. Book One, 1995, flashes a number of brand names including Pepsi and V8 on p. 71, Glad-Lock bags on p. 78, Eckerd, Revco and Kroger on p. 137 and BP on p. 447.Book Two, 1990, flashes Pepsi on p. 51, Phillips p.76 and Arby's on p.128, Kawasaki on p.134 and Slinky on p. 137.There are a few cultural universals in children’s' brains, and Oreos might be one.Maybe Oreos might be a good linear measuring unit.PATTERNS AND CYCLES 2000 lists Casio on p. 24, Pepsi on p. 73, Juicy Juice on p. 74, Pledge, Keebler and Wesson oil on p. 79.INTERACTIONS AND LIMITS 2000 lists Coke and Canada Dry on p. 12, Pepsi on p. 205, Wilson Athletic Equipment on p. 355, Pall Mall on p. 374 and Drano on p.149.Students will certainly connect science with the everyday world!Is there is a policy on this? One thing that is absolutely excellent is Chapter 10 in Book One 1995 which does everything an Integrated Science text should do for 6th graders.It covers the Honeybee: its life cycles, its history, its evolution, its foraging, its egg laying, fertilization, the role of drones, etc. etc. etc., and its niche in the various ecosystems, histories, etc. etc.Then the physical science, temperature, melting wax, granulating honey, the honey industry, beeswax, bee pollen, propolis, etc., are covered.This chapter and a bee window, observable from the inside of the classroom would cover an enormous amount of all of the disciplines involved.Unfortunately, the bees are gone in 2000. Some responsible, intelligent and creative people wrote the bee chapter.They were needed for the physical science in the rest of the book. Book One, page 12, has a discussion of the Global Schoolhouse.What is pictured is a communications satellite, presumably in geosynchronous orbit, being listened to by three satellite dishes.The satellite is parked (as nearly as can be determined) directly above Iceland.One dish in Brazil points slightly east of north to focus on its signal.A second dish in Kansas points to the northeast to the same satellite.A third dish in Egypt points nearly north to the same satellite.This diagram has to be changed.If the satellite is to be "tracked" by a stationary dish that orbit must be pretty close to the Earth's equatorial plane.
I'm (HPL) writing these brief notes on the date of the change to daylight savings time.I was brutally awakened a full hour before my habit, forced to eat before my system was ready for food, had to perform in a political situation (conducting a choir) a full hour before my body was prepared to think, forced to stand and deliver a full hour early to provide the keyboard music for a church service, and now I'll have to go to bed much earlier than my body's clock is prepared to handle.Tomorrow will be nearly as inhumane.Daylight savings time is far more dramatic to a sixth grader, affecting him physically, than an eclipse.The factual causes/reasons of/from daylight savings time involve knowledge of many of the same phenomena.It would be much more appropriate and meaningful.The electrical circuits on pages 198 and 199 in Book Two show electricity flowing when the switches are open.This is fixed on page 330 of 2000 CONSTANCY AND CHANGE, ISBN 0-89089-781-6.The current is described as “flowing” whereas it is the charges that flow.A “current” is “a flow of charges.” Page 166, Book Two, labels center of curvature for convex mirror at about 3 focal lengths from the surface of the mirror.Convex mirrors do not appear in the 2000 series.Page 155 of Book Two, 1990, has a misplaced virtual image.This is redrawn but still wrong on page 312 of 2000 PATTERNS AND CYCLES.(As is usually done, the line from the mirror to the object is as long in whatever system of perspective or measurement used as the line from the mirror to the image.) Book Two reverses the photo of a lab-coated male on page 7, and Benjamin Franklin has his buttons on backwards on p. 220.Is he known to have been left-handed?Good project; perhaps he just dressed in a hurry.
Science Plus: Technology and Society Annotated Teacher’s Edition, Blue Level, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1997
For a change of pace we will use this book as an illustration of what the reviewers mean by “the busyness of the book” and the overwhelming number of topics.Our comments apply equally well to the other texts, just as this book is equally rife with errors.
This is an integrated series.There are eight units that integrate physical, life, and earth science.There is an extensive introduction in the “Owner’s Manual” to help the teacher understand the philosophy of the book.There is also an extensive “Assessing Student Performance.”These first pages provide a discussion about “Guiding Principles” of science – “Anyone can learn science” and “Science is a natural endeavor.”This is common in all the latest books.Each just uses its own verbiage.Another aspect of this “Owner’s Manual” is the “Aims” of the book.Once again the same old aims that have been pushed for the last ten years are repeated. There is an extensive section of constructivism.It breaks it down into four key steps, which oversimplifies the concept.After the discussion of constructivism there is a conceptual framework chart that displays content focus, supporting content, thematic focus, STS, process skills, and a process skills focus. There is an entire science education class in the “Owner’s Manual.”This is truly meant to be all things to all teachers!Next comes the “Components of SciencePlus.”You name it; they have it!There are units, chapters, lessons, ScienceLog, explorations, assessment, special features, sourcebook, and annotations!If this were not enough, there are home connection, chapter worksheets, unit worksheets, SourceBook worksheets, transparencies, Getting Started Guides, Assessment Checklist and Rubrics, Materials Guide, Test Generator, English, Spanish audiocassettes, Videodisc Resources, SnackDisc, and more!After the first thirty-three pages, there is still more help!The teacher is exposed to ways to use themes in science, integrating the sciences, cross-disciplinary connections, science, technology, and society, communication science, journals and portfolios, concept mapping, cooperative learning, process skills, critical thinking, environmental awareness, multicultural instruction, meeting individual needs, materials and equipment, scienceplus, and the teacher’s network.
The “manual” is now on page 56 and there is no science yet!
Just as the teacher is exhausted, there is a huge section on assessing student performance.There are the whys, the hows, and a rubric for reports and presentations, experiments, and technology projects.The teacher is now on page 64 and really doesn’t know what the book covers, just how to do it!
First impressions are very important for students.The first impression of the student’s book is a section called “To the Student.”This is really very unexciting.The pictures are good, but the style is really corny.The safety section is necessary and seems complete enough to meet most guidelines.There is a discussion of concept mapping and an example of how to make a concept map.The topics: states of matter and circulatory system will not get the student’s interest.
Finally, there is some science.The eight units are “Life Processes,” “Particles,” “Machines, Work, and Energy,” “Oceans and Climates,” “Electromagnetic Systems,” “Sound,” “Light,” and “Continuity of Life.”There are 555 pages in the student’s book.With the average school year being about 180 days, this is about 3 pages per day, everyday!This does not seem like a lot of bookwork, but don’t forget the labs, projects, integration, worksheets, and all of the other ancillaries!
Daily Lesson Plans for Unit 7 “Light”
Chapter 19 “The Nature of Light”
Day 1 - “ Introduction “ pp.422-423.
Discuss why light is important and what the world would be like with no light.Give the students several minutes to brainstorm and then discuss their ideas.Have the students read p. 423 and study the picture on pp.422-423.Show some clear quartz and have them see how light behaves when it hits quartz crystals.Assign pages 424-427 to read.
Day 2 - “The Nature of Light” pp.424-427.Set up Activity 1-5 for Light Brigade; divide class into groups of 4 for cooperative group work.Have the students do each activity and write the answers to the questions in their ScienceLog.Give each group about 7 minutes to work at each station.After all students have explored the 5 activities, discuss the activities.This will take about 45 minutes.Homework:Keep a list of all light emitting objects the students see in one day.
Day 3 - Review yesterday’s work. Discuss p.427.Complete Activity Sheet #1.Read pp. 428-430“Light, Heat, and Color.”Writing question: p.427 in teacher’s edition.
Day 4 - Exploration 2 - Complete lab sheet.Once sheets are discussed and questions answered, turn in to teacher.Complete ”A Light Quiz” and turn in.Complete the section from page 430 in the ScienceLog.Activity sheet #2.Homework - Read pp.431-436.
Day 5 - Discuss Activity sheet #2, do math practice worksheet p. 16 for integration, and start the next section.Start Exploration
Activity #3.This will take 2 days.
Day 6 - Complete Exploration Activity #3.
Day 7 - Discuss the exploration activity.Discuss p.434.Student groups will prepare the Multicultural Extensions, Environmental Focus, or Language Arts activity (Note:There is no real science being learned here!) to present on Day 8.Homework - choose one or more of the activities to try at home.Be sure each student in the group picks a different activity.These will be presented on day 8 with the other reports.
Day 8 - Reports from integration and activities at home.Discuss
“Light and Color” on p.436.Read pp.437-441.
Day 9 - Discuss “Adding and Subtracting Color”.Complete demonstrations.
Day 10 - Review and Jeopardy
Day 11 - Test
Notes: The book recommends that this chapter be done in 7 days.11 days may be pushing it if you are to integrate the materials and do most of the activities.The exploration activities call for some equipment that some teachers will have trouble finding or using.It would be much better to use something like the Bill Nye video “Light and Color” for this chapter.It would also be much more instructive to incorporate several of the experiments from the Optical Society of America’s Discovery Light kit.These will get the students thinking and working with their hands, which is what we expect in a good Middle School program.Finally, it would take at least 15 days to adequately cover this chapter.Is it appropriate to teach color before teaching “How Light Behaves” which is the next chapter where color will have to be redone?
Chapter 20, “How Light Behaves”
Day 1 - Return test and have students respond to the science log questions on page 442.This should help understand the student’s misconceptions.Have the students read p.443 and discuss the materials needed to make a light box.Discuss the terms: scatters, absorbed, and transmitted.
Day 2 - Build a light box.Start the Enlightening Experiences by doing Part 1.Keep a record of the answers to the questions in your ScienceLog.
Day 3 - Continue with Enlightening Experiences by doing Parts 2, 3, and 4.Keep a record of the answers to the questions in your ScienceLog.Do Part 5 for homework.
Day 4 - Pages 447-449.Discuss these pages and introduce the terms: transparent, translucent, and opaque.Also discuss the questions on page 449.Have the students ask 3 friends, not in the class, or relatives the 3 questions on p.449.Write down their answers.
Day 5 - Discuss what others thought about the 3 questions.Do other people have misconceptions?How could you help them?Do the milky water demonstration on p.448.
Day 6 - Discuss pages 450-451.Start Exploration 2 – Pinhole Images.Assign camera obscura for a research assignment.Brief report due in 2 days.Use a rubric to show students what is expected.Use the Exploration worksheet with this activity.
Day 7 - Complete the Exploration. Have the students develop 3 quiz questions and answers from this lab.Discuss the lab and have the students quiz others with their questions.Remind students that the camera obscura is due the next day.
Day 8 - Discuss Reflection (finally!).Do Exploration 3 and answer the questions in the activity.
Day 9 - Complete the activity.Be sure students know what diffuse reflection, incident beam, reflected beam, and specular reflection are.Have students find out how mirrors are made for homework.
Day 10 - Discuss how mirrors are made.Assign pages 456-459 to be read.(Here is color again!)
Day 11 - Discuss color noting the difference in light and paint.Start Exploration 4 - Changing colors.Integrate art and color mixing here with the art teacher.
Day 12 - Have students make color filter viewers and use them at home and keep a list of color changes they see in objects.
Day 13 - Write the answers to the challenges on pages 460-461 in the ScienceLog.Use Activity worksheet that goes with this.
Day 14 - Review and Jeopardy
Day 15 - Test
This does not leave time for another Bill Nye or OSA’s Discovery Kit experiment.We still haven’t talked about images.This is much too late to introduce images.The students should have this much earlier and have it reinforced throughout the light unit!
Chapter 21 “Light and Images”
Day 1 - Discuss the test.Have students read pp.462-463.Discuss the terms: image, plane mirror, real image, and virtual image.After the discussion start on Exploration 1.Homework:Have the students find out how Leonardo daVinci wrote his notes.
Day 2 - Discuss Leonardo’s writing style.Complete Exploration 1.Discuss checking the facts.Have students work in groups and decide on what would make the fact correct if it is incorrect.Discuss the difference between real and virtual images.Homework:Have students find two symmetrical “half-words” that become full words when reflected by a mirror.
Day 3 - Use toys that use mirrors, such as Reflectoä, or a periscope and explain how the toy demonstrates the concepts studied.Have each student show a toy and discuss the physics of the toy.
Day 4 - Discuss convex mirrors and do Exploration 2.Write the answers to the questions in the ScienceLog to be discussed the next day.Have the students look at different convex mirrors and discuss of the curvature effects the field of view.
Day 5 - Discuss converging lenses and real images (lenses at last!)Do Exploration 3.(This is opposite to the way OSA introduces light.Lenses are introduced early on to take advantage of their familiarity.)Present the students this problem for thought: you want to start a fire, but only have a magnifying glass and paper.How do you do it?Try different paper; what happens?SAFETY!
Day 6 - Discuss the eye and how it works.Discuss how you see.Ask the students:How do you see a tree?Have them draw a picture.This will show many misconceptions that students still have about light.
Day 7 - Real images and concave mirror - Introduce concepts and then do Exploration 4.Remember to write answers in your ScienceLog.
Day 8 - Complete the activity and write up.Have students research the history of eyewear.Also have them find out how lenses help them see better.
Day 9 - Discuss findings about ancient eyewear.Demonstrate how lenses help people see better.For a small group activity, have the students think of all uses of concave lenses and explain them.Share these ideas with the group before the period is over.
Day 10 - Have the students read the top of p.477.Discuss refraction and talk about total internal reflection.Have the students do Exploration 5.After they have filled out the ScienceLog with answers to the questions, have them interpret their findings using the information on page 479.
Day 11 - Bill Nye on Optics and general review.
Day 12 - Challenge your Thinking - Have teams of 2 work on these questions.All students should write the answers in their ScienceLog.Have the class share ideas.Have each student revise his or her answers for homework.
Day 13 - Jeopardy - review for test
Day 14 - Test on chapter.
Day 15 and Day 16 - Complete the unit with the Making the Connections activities.
A great deal of this material can be thrown out.Naming a phenomenon before actually observing it is a serious mistake and it is done frequently here.It would be much better to carry out the OSA’s experiments and have the students describe their results.Dissecting a throwaway camera would teach some of this science in a much more meaningful way.This experiment shows a very good practical use of lenses.This is no way to teach light.The order is all wrong!In an effort to be “different,” the book has totally scattered the materials in an illogical sequence and has crammed much about light in a unit that is to be taught in 20+ days whereas in reality it would require at least 45 to do it justice.“Less is more” has not been a guiding principle in this case.
The actual physics isn’t too wrong.The order in which the concepts are introduced is.There is really no teaching of concepts.Students are supposed to explore and learn the concepts.More often than not, they will pick up incorrect concepts.Photons are mentioned in chapter seven while discussing the atom, but never discussed in light.(Studying the internal structure of the atom is a serious mistake at this level, but since it has been introduced, it would be appropriate to follow through here.)In an effort to be different, the “authors” have taken a very good and interesting topic of physics that Middle School students like and can handle and messed it up.They, in the process of being all things to all subjects and standards, have really developed a messy light unit.For example, the eye is introduced in one lesson and then later, farsightedness is mentioned.
Most books introduce light in general, reflection, refraction, lenses, color, and diffraction and interference.This order builds on previous concepts.Students can easily see the difference in mirrors and lenses as far as concave and convex are concerned.This book just mixes it up.If all the concepts were to be accurately taught, integrated into other curricula in science, mathematics, and other areas, this unit would make a semester of work.In Middle School, that would be considered too long on one topic.(In fact, it would be much better to teach fewer topics in more depth!)
After reading the unit, analyzing it and working with some of the explorations, it is definitely squirrelly.The teacher will always be looking for materials (nuts).It is similar to the old Addison Wesley elementary series of the early 1970s.That was supposed to be all things to everyone, but it was test in treasure hunting for the teacher!
A good Middle School science text should allow for some class lecture/discussion (15 minutes/day), some exploring time (more), and some follow up and follow through (more still.)Middle School is a transition between elementary and high school.The students need a combination of lecture/discussion and exploring.If left only to explore, they will not learn science.This needs to be monitored.
Focus on Physical Science by Charles Heimler & Jack Price, Merrill Publishing Co., Columbus, Ohio, 1989General Notes on the book: The pink highlights in the text are helpful and the “Planning Ahead” section in the teacher’s notes is a good idea.Having a piece of the time line in each unit might confuse students into thinking that the science presented in each unit was developed during the time listed in that piece of the time line.It would be better to have the whole thing at the back or front of the book or perhaps separately discussed.It is an interesting feature. It is very difficult to understand anything about electron shells (a topic best left out of the Middle School/Junior High curriculum) based on the information in this book.That entire chapter needs to be rewritten with the fact in mind that most teachers will not have a strong background in chemistry (most probably did not even take a college freshman course.)The book assumes far too much knowledge in this area on the part of the teacher.In general, in the books that we have looked at, this topic presents diagrams in which it is not clear that by volume the nucleus of an atom is extremely small compared to the volume of the atom whereas by mass the nucleus is extremely large compared to the mass of the atom.With the particular drawings used a student will come away thinking that the volume of the nucleus takes up most of the atom. The book in general does not do a good job of explaining what is likely to happen in a lot of the demonstrations and experiments that it describes.Most teachers will not have performed a lot of these demonstrations and experiments and may have no idea what to expect, and they will have no idea whether or not they are doing it correctly. However, the level at which this book was written would be more appropriate as a resource for teachers and this is what we found most teachers using it for.The problems can be fixed. Notes on the Teacher Resources described at the beginning of the text: The “Challenge” sheets to “encourage your better students to use higher-level thinking skills” are worthwhile.There is a rich assortment of worksheets that focus on different areas (reading comprehension, mathematics, laboratory observations, etc.)Unfortunately, the exams focus on memorization skills rather than thinking skills.The list of information sources for teaching special needs students is a nice addition.The list of equipment would be more useful if all the equipment needed for each separate lab activity were listed.
Unit 1Physical Science Fundamentals
Chapter 1 The Nature of Sciencep. 10 One of the review questions states “Determine how the blood circulation system is a model for the refrigeration cycle in a refrigerator.”How many students will be able to describe the refrigeration cycle? p. 18 The teacher notes suggest having students “write an experiment that will answer the question ‘How can you separate ripe tomatoes from unripe tomatoes, without relying on the color...?’Students may not cut or damage the tomatoes.”This is ludicrous.Do the authors honestly think the students will come up with the fact that ripe tomatoes float? p. 20 The “super sand” example states that the type of sand is the independent variable, because it is “something you can change in an experiment.”However, water was also used in the experiment, and the amount of water could have been changed.Students may find this point confusing.Then, in the next experiment description, it states that the outside temperature is the independent variable.In this case, it could not have been changed by the experimenter.The explanation of what “independent” means needs some work. Note: There aren’t many hands-on activities in this chapter and this is a drawback.
Chapter 2Physical Science Methods
p. 24 The lead-in discussion example of the English vs. the apothecaries’ ounce is an interesting way of leading to the general problem of varying definitions of units, but perhaps a more common unit such as the yard would be more appropriate.Also 1 kilogram does not equal 2.205 pounds; it weighs about 2.2 pounds.Confusing mass and weight this early will present problems later.
p. 27 The diagram about precision may confuse students into thinking that metal rulers are always more precise than plastic ones.Why is there a difference of materials for the two instead of just different division sizes?
pp. 27-28 The discussion of significant digits is confusing.Why not simply list a set of rules?The examples are pretty vague.(There should at least be more of them if rules aren't going to be listed.)p. 29 The comparison stating “Using SI is as simple as using the United States money system” is odd, and seems to somehow imply a conversion of multiples of ten for units of our money.
p. 32 The “step chart” for making unit conversions is a good visual explanation, but listing the SI prefixes here would be better than in an appendix.p. 44 A graph of pendulum data is shown.The data is simply given to the students.Why not have the students take this data themselves?The graph will not turn out perfectly as the one in the text does and will teach an important lesson about gathering data. p. 45 The directions for the “making a Hydrometer” activity are much too vague nor is it clear that should one be made, how it would be used.The teacher’s notes are no help. Note: The emphasis on mathematics skills and more hands-on work in this chapter is a definite plus.
Unit 2Force and Energy
Chapter 3Motion p. 56 The definition of rates, “ratios between two different quantities” seems odd.(The teacher’s notes state that 4 tires/car is a rate.)A better definition would include a change in some quantity over a change in some other quantity. p. 57 The inclusion of problem-solving techniques in the example problem is good, but the formula for speed should read that speed is equal to the distance covered divided by the time taken. p. 59 The graphing exercise asks the student to draw a smooth line through the data given.Students should be told that a line in this context might not be straight.A “best fit” line should be described. p. 60 Most books reviewed described time rates of change without making it clear that they were time rates of change.Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity with respect to time. p. 66 The caption on the figure confuses Newton’s 2nd and 3rd Law. p. 70 Here we have another “medium-sized apple” with a mass of 0.1 kg!While some apples do have such small masses they cannot be described as “medium-sized.” p. 72 The “Measuring Force” activity directions are unclear.It was not obvious that the student was to measure the weight of the marble, etc., in units of washer weights.What size washers are to be used?Some small washers weigh more than a typical marble. p. 73 The book has an example of stretch as a function of applied weight for a rubber band.It seems to imply that this data can be applied to the student’s own rubber band.Better to have the students generate their own data, after all, this is easy to find equipment. On the same page Galileo is credited with showing that the Earth is not the center of the Universe.While he certainly promoted the idea, he did not have sufficient evidence to prove it.
Chapter 4The Laws of Motion p. 82 The book states, “If you calculated the acceleration of a ball falling in a vacuum, you would find it to be 9.8 m/s2.”The authors do not define a vacuum until the following page, nor do they make it clear that this is true only near the surface of the Earth.On the Moon, the acceleration of a ball falling in a vacuum would be 1.6 m/s2.This experiment can be done using the video of the astronaut dropping objects on the Moon. p. 88 This is good background on the fictitious “centrifugal force” for teachers so as not to fall into the trap of using the term. p. 89 The “Studying Skills Assignment” is very good.All teachers should assign this activity. p. 90 The term “weightlessness” is a misnomer and should not be used here although the text does straighten out the usage.It confuses students and leads them into thinking that there is no gravity acting on the shuttle or out in space.
p. 90 The insert about particle colliders seems oddly placed in this section on gravity.
Chapter 5Energy p. 103 The diagram and explanation of Figure 5.3 seem at odds with one another.The explanation states “Work is done on the box only when it moves in the direction of the applied force,” but the diagram shows the force and motion in perpendicular directions. p. 104 The problems should be more specific about work done by which force.Example:Problem 2 asks “A 1.0 kg mass is lifted 100 mm ...as it moves 350 mm horizontally.How much work is done?”Work was done both by this lifting force and by gravitation. p. 112 Again, another technology insert seems oddly placed.The “slingshot effect” of planets giving spacecraft greater kinetic energy is placed in the middle of the thermal energy discussion. p. 112 The way the units are written for specific heat are confusing.It looks as if it reads (J/kg) C rather than J/(kg C). p. 113 The book says that change in temperature can be either Tf – Ti or Ti – Tf.This is a bad habit to teach students. p. 113 The demonstration listed calls for pouring hot water and hot lead shot onto two votive candles (which are in beakers) and comparing how much wax melted.It is unclear how students are supposed to do this comparison.Do they empty the beakers? p. 115 Problem 5:It is difficult to tell to which example the text refers. p. 115 Teacher’s notes:It would be better to state that energy, rather than work, is conserved.
p. 117The text states, “An object that is bent or squeezed...has potential energy” which is not always true.If I bend a paper clip, it does not have stored energy as a result of squeezing.
Chapter 6Heat in Our World p. 122 One sentence on this page is very confusing.It states “...and no energy at all can be conducted across a vacuum.”This is true, but energy can be radiated across a vacuum.Two paragraphs later it states “Radiation is a transfer of energy that does not require matter.You have felt the warmth of the Sun.The source of this energy is 150 million kilometers away, with mostly empty space between.”Students may not see the subtle difference here. p. 123 The “convection vane” activity directs students to put a paper spiral on a light bulb – two words:FIRE HAZARD! p. 131 The “Cause and Effect” statements seem a little careless.Example:Cause:“Fiberglass and plastic are good insulators.”Effect:“Coolers are made of fiberglass and plastic.”This is not a direct cause/effect relationship.
Chapter 7Machines p. 149 The photo included to illustrate a third class lever is that of a baseball pitcher.How does this illustrate a lever?A superimposed graphic would help.The teacher’s notes suggest describing a player hitting a ball with a bat, which makes more sense. Why was this photo chosen? p. 156 The teacher’s notes use the abbreviation IMA without defining it. p. 157 Industrial engineer Lilian Gilbreth’s husband’s name (Frank) is mentioned without first letting the reader know who he was. p. 160 The pencil/ruler lever activity would work better if the ruler were taped to the pencil.
Unit 3The Nature of Matter
Chapter 8 Solids, Liquids, and Gasesp. 170 The photos illustrating solids and liquids are reversed. p. 172 The “collapsing a can” activity often will not work unless one uses ice water for submerging the can opening. p. 172 The directions in the teacher’s notes and the student book about the Bernoulli’s Principle demonstration conflict.
p. 174The example given in the teacher’s notes states that hard candy is a material that does not form crystals would be confusing to students.Some candies do form crystals. p. 190 The graphing exercise of temperature as a function of time for melting ice cubes in water is good, but the teacher’s notes have a graph that was not obtained experimentally.The explanation as to what should occur is qualitatively correct.
Chapter 9Classification of Matter p. 197 The matter diagram is clear but could be improved with an example in each box. p. 201 The activity refers to a filtering technique described in the book’s appendix.The appendices are very good – easy to follow with clear illustrations. p. 205 The teacher’s notes use the unit abbreviation M without defining it.(“Test tube 1 contains 6M HCl.”) p. 207 The teacher’s notes should include an explanation of the chemical reaction that occurs in the activity. p. 208 A statement in the teacher’s notes (“A substance undergoing electrolysis must be molten or in solution so that it can conduct a current”) seems to imply that a solid (such as copper wire) could not conduct a current.
Chapter 10Atomic Structure and the Periodic Table p. 215 Attempting to specify a total of 109 different elements is a mistake.It is well known that new nuclei are being put together in the laboratory.It would be much better to describe the situation by pointing out that there are naturally occurring atoms plus some artificially produced atoms and the on-going work of physicists to produce ever-heavier atoms. p. 218 The statements “Atoms are neutral...atoms have no overall electric charge” are correct, but it would be wise in the light of the discussion on chemical bonding on p.242 to point out that atoms can gain and lose electrons and become ions. p. 223 “Predicting an element’s group and period” activity is confusing.The explanation for “group” assignment is extremely vague in the teacher’s notes.The answer for Question 6, for example, isn’t clear. p. 224 Question 5:Why is Level 3 again assigned 8 instead of 18 electrons?Are the 2n2 rule on p. 219 and the energy level diagram on p. 220 incorrect? p. 228 The Periodic Table has “actinoids” and “lanthanoids” instead of “actinides” and “lanthanides.”Chapter 12 continues this use. p. 233 Clue #3 for placing fictitious elements in a periodic chart is rather vague.There is nothing in the clue to suggest that they belong in the first column. p. 236 Problem 18 states that the maximum number of electrons in level 3 is 18. General Note: The book answers are correct.However, it would be very difficult for any teacher without a rich background in chemistry to figure out these problems with the information given in the chapter.Most teachers will not have the advantage of such a background, nor will they likely have colleagues who can help (or time to research).The book needs to do a much better job here explaining electron shells and how they are filled, at least in the teacher’s notes.Why such material is included in a book at this level is another concern.
Chapter 11Chemical Bonds p. 240 The book states “sodium chloride is a white crystalline substance we use to season our food,” should add, “commonly called ‘salt’.” p. 240 The definition for subscript, “a number that shows how many atoms of each element combine to form a compound,” may be confusing to students who are using subscripts in math and English classes in other ways.A better way to state it would be “A subscript used in a chemical formula shows...” p. 244 How are students supposed to figure out whether or not atoms will form an ionic or covalent bond from the information provided? p. 245 The difference in the two types of bonds is not explained very well at all. p. 246 The illustration of the charges on a water molecule is confusing – it appears to state that electrons are positively charged. p. 254 The text does not explain why some compounds end in –ate rather than –ide. p. 254 The example for determining oxidation number for S in SO42- results in an oxidation number for S of 6+, which seems to contradict the chart value of 2- on p. 251.
Note:These last two chapters are generally very confusing and contain information that is totally outside the capability of Middle School students.
Unit 4Patterns of Matter
Chapter 12Elements in Groups 1 Through 12 p. 265 The book keeps referring to the periodic chart, which is located in Chapter 10.It would be much more convenient to have the chart on one of the inside covers. p. 265 The word “metaborates” is used without definition in the teacher’s notes. p. 273 In one paragraph the book states that radium is used to treat cancer and that it causes cancer.Perhaps a little explanation here about targeting cancer cells, etc., would make this less confusing to students. p. 275 Figure 12-8 shows someone nickel-plating, but the reader will have no idea what the objects in the picture are.They look like little Christmas trees. p. 276 The objective of the activity, “to make several different transition metal compounds...relate changes in color to changes in composition,” seems at odds with the directions.Of six observations, only three involve adding a new solution.So, one half of the color changes are due to temperature changes (which actually are due to losing/gaining water).The students will not understand this subtlety.
p. 279The text uses the word “synthetic” (in relation to elements) without defining it for the students. p. 279 Two full paragraphs are devoted to the discussion of “lanthanoids”, yet the “actinoid” section states that these elements “are radioactive and have little use beyond atomic weapons and nuclear power.These uses have created much controversy.Some nuclear reactions of uranium are discussed in Chapter 23.”Is this the best they can do?The harnessing of nuclear power is one of the defining scientific achievements of the twentieth century.Radioactive materials have a host of important uses.Are the authors so anti-nuclear that they refuse to even offer a brief description of the characteristics of these elements?
p. 281The following reaction is used in the teacher’s notes: 2CuO(cr) + C(cr) -->2Cu (cr) + CO2 (g)The terms “cr” and “g” are not defined until page 367. p. 282 The discussion about shape-memory alloys is very interesting.It is especially helpful that addresses are included so that teachers can send for actual samples from companies. p. 283 The qualitative analysis is not well defined at all.Students will have trouble trying to answer the question based on the information given. p. 284 The teaching activity for learning about flow charts is great – a very useful skill for students to have.
Chapter 13Elements in Groups 13 Through 18 p. 294 The teacher’s notes say, “students should not be expected to distinguish s, p, and d electrons”.Again, the book seems to assume knowledge of these electrons from previous chapters. p. 296 A photo is shown of the root of a plant.It’s fairly difficult to tell what the photo is, and there is no sense of scale. p. 297 The photo here is unclear.Is there soap (phosphates) floating on the water, or is that reflection of light? p. 306 The word “organic” is used in the teacher’s notes, but no definition is given.The current misuse of the word needs a clear-cut science definition.
Chapter 14Carbon and Organic Chemistry p. 317 The text uses the terms “single, double, ...triple covalent bonds” without first defining them. p. 320 The text uses the words “planar” and “linear” in describing molecule shapes.The students will not understand these words in that context. p. 321 It is not clear in the directions of the organic molecules activity that several models are being made.Perhaps the instructions for each model should be separated somewhat (or renumbered beginning with Step 1 each time.) p. 322-323 A lot more explanation would be needed to handle this topic here. p. 329 The naming rules for hydrocarbons are unclear. p. 331 Where is the –COOH (acid) group referred to in the diagram for peptide linkage.
Unit 5Interactions of Matter p. 341 Part of the timeline information is incorrectly cropped.
Chapter 15Interactions of Matter
p. 347The teacher’s notes should explain why the cola in the bottle on its side will go flat faster.
Chapter 16Chemical Reactions
p. 364The demonstration in the teacher’s notes does not include an explanation of what happens during the reaction, which would be helpful to someone who has not performed the experiment previously. p. 367 Why is the activity for listing numbers of atoms in chemical formulae listed as an “Enrichment” exercise?This is a basic skill needed for this chapter. p. 367 It is not clear that the subscripts (and not the coefficients) should never be changed when balancing an equation. p. 373 The analogy of displacement reactions to dancing (with partners cutting in and switching) is very good. p. 373 What is the basis of the “challenge” anecdote?What happens to the engines during this reaction? p. 375 Figure 6-10 is supposed to be a catalytic converter, but it looks like a birdfeeder with birdseed!Are the pellets the catalyst? p. 375 Teacher’s notes do not state what should happen in the meat tenderizer experiment.(Note:The lack of explanation about what one should expect seems to be a recurring problem in this book, if not for the teachers, then certainly for the students.)
Chapter 17Acids, Bases, and Salts p. 387 The directions do not explicitly state that the baking soda should be added to the solid and not the liquid from which it was strained. p. 389 Why are or how are H5O2+ and H7O3+“represented by the general formula H3O+?” p. 397 The teacher’s notes for the activity for determining pH by using red cabbage juice does not state which colors indicate which pH values. p. 400 Why isn’t Avogadro’s number put in the student section instead of the teacher’s notes?It is an important constant. p. 400 Are the two burets (burettes) filled with equal amounts initially? p. 400 In Figure 17-11, the “burets” are nearly invisible.The red holder is a little distracting. p. 405 Here are the pH color indicators for the red cabbage juice!Why are they not on p. 397, or at least referred to on that page? p. 406 Why is kerosene used in this experiment (soap and detergent)?
Unit 6Waves, Light, and Sound p. 413 Because of the poor cropping of the time line, it states that in 1945, “World War I ends.”
Chapter 18Waves and Sound p. 418 The authors of the pendulum activity are trying to get the students to release the pendulum from a small initial angle.Their directions, however, are confusing.I’m sure the students will wonder why they must pull the bob 15 cm when the length is 60 cm, 10 cm when it is 40 cm, and 6 cm when it is 20 cm.Why not just have them measure an initial angle with a protractor? p. 422 The suggestion to “Have students discuss whether there is sound if no one is present to hear it,” can lead to some good characterizations of physics that distinguish it from other disciplines if the teacher is prepared for it. p. 423 The questions in the activity refer to a caption for Figure 18-9.There is no caption. p. 425 Most teachers will not know what a “piezzo (sp.) buzzer” is (listed in the demonstration section for Doppler Effect.) p. 431 It is not clear in the answer to Question 15 why sound travels faster in helium gas than in air. p. 434 On p. 422 it states, “sound travels faster through warm air than through cold air,” and on p. 434 it states, “...but sound travels faster in colder air.”
Chapter 19Light p. 441 The electromagnetic spectrum diagram is extremely confusing.It seems as if yellow light goes from 106 Hz to 1012 Hz and that blue light covers the same frequencies as yellow and red.Actually, the colors are meaningless.The diagrams of objects on the right might be helpful if placed right next to the wavelength to which its dimensions correspond with the colors removed.There also is no label telling students that one list of numbers is the frequency and the other is the wavelength.
p. 447The last question/answer for the light/color activity is misleading:Question: “Can you conclude that your observations will be the same for all colored objects?” Answer (in teacher’s notes):“No, with your limited experience, you could only conclude it is true for the colors you tested.”While this is true, it does not help explain to students how scientists make conclusions based on experimental results.If we did this experiment 3000 times with 3000 colors and our predictions held true for each, then we would feel very confident about drawing some conclusions about the behavior of light. p. 450 There seems to be no difference in color in the “Blue” and the “Blue + green” section of the light color wheel.
p. 453The directions to the “Motivation” activity are very confusing.How does making a shallow end in the ripple tank demonstrate refraction?(This activity should be included later, when the explanation is actually given in the chapter.) p. 454 The teacher’s notes should include some explanation of what the spectra should look like for fluorescent lights, streetlights, etc. p. 455 The incident and reflected angles are labeled backwards in Figure 19-16.
p. 457The text material on prisms may be confusing to students.It states, “a prism has the shape of a triangle” and then “Rain droplets...act as prisms.”The two statements need to be clarified. p. 458 The picture chosen to demonstrate diffraction is not a very good one.It is difficult to tell in which direction the water is moving. p. 459 Some teachers may not understand the term “monochromatic light source.”It should be defined.
Chapter 20Mirrors and Lenses
p. 466 The directions to the “Skill” activity in teacher’s notes need to be more detailed.How exactly are the students supposed to trace the light rays?What is meant by “reversed”?p. 471 In Figure 20-7 it would be helpful to have arrows indicating the direction of the incoming light rays.It would make more sense if the ray diagrams were next to the photos. p. 471 The word “flat” is poorly used here:“A thick convex lens will bend the light more than a thin flat one.”The students have already been told earlier in the chapter that flat indicates a plane surface.Deleting “flat” would solve the problem. p. 478 Teacher’s notes answer to Question 2 should be more like14 cm rather than 24 cm. p. 479 Whenever dealing with lasers always point out that one should be careful.Although laser pointers are not harmful, there are more powerful lasers that could result in retinal damage. p. 482 In figure 20-19 it should be more obvious than it is that the incident angle is getting larger in each successive diagram. p. 482 The photo of optical fibers looks more like fireworks. p. 489 “Many scientists won’t live near an overhead power line or sleep under an electric blanket” is nonsense.(The article is discussing possible hazards from low frequency radiation, a subject that has been studied very thoroughly and shown to be non-hazardous.)There may even be some scientists who won’t walk under ladders.This topic is totally outside the realm of physics for these students.
Unit 7Energy Resources
Chapter 21 Electricityp. 494 In diagram 21-1 it should be made more obvious that there are more positive charges on the rod. p. 496 Will the teachers know what a “Leyden jar” is (listed in teacher’s notes)? p. 512 The “Problem Solving” activity (drawing circuits to represent different situations) is a good one for determining the student’s understanding of parallel and series circuits.
Chapter 22Electricity and Magnetism
p. 516There is no real explanation of what is in the photo – is this a microchip that runs a computer?Will the teachers know what a Crookes’ tube is?Note that this is the correct spelling for the inventor is named “Crookes.” p. 517 The definition of a magnet, “A magnet is any object that can exert a force on another magnet” is both circular and incorrect.Any object can exert a gravitational force on a magnet without being a magnet itself. p. 518 It is not clear in the photos of Figure 22-2 which poles are like and which are unlike.(It looks like two different sections of the same photo.)Also the caption suggests that unlike poles repel.Labels would be helpful. p. 519 It should be stressed that the current in Figure 22-3 is a negative one – otherwise the force directions given are incorrect. p. 519 There needs to be more emphasis on the fact that a charge moving through a magnetic field experiences a force. p. 521 The labels in the photo of Figure 22-6 are very difficult to read. p. 530 The text on transistors is not at all clear. p. 531 The numbers in Figure 22-16 are quite small. p. 535 The directions for the Problem Solving activity (diodes and circuits) are not clear.The solutions in the teacher’s notes use symbols that are not defined anywhere. p. 536 The photo/description of a floppy disk is a little outdated, but that comes with using a rather old text.Regardless, there is a lot of good physics that could be discussed here.
Chapter 23 Radioactivity and Nuclear Reactions
p. 545The word “fusion” is used (in the supernova article) before it has been defined. p. 545 In the teacher’s notes, what do these directions mean:“Have student draw electron diagrams for several isotopic pairs...” p. 546 The “Motivation” activity in the teacher’s notes should include some notes about what is to be expected in the demonstration. p. 548 Question 9 is impossible to answer: Question:“Is a radioactive sample safe once it is one half-life old?” Answer:“No.”This question depends on too many factors to be answered that simply.What kind of sample?How much?What is its activity?Where is it stored? p. 549 It would be nice if this section on carbon dating gave some actual dates and an upper limit to its accuracy.Also, carbon-14 can’t be used to date “rocks and fossils.”The text correctly says later it can only be used on once-living objects. p. 551 There are no “statements a., b., and c.” in Figure 23-8.Also the statements have two blanks each and only one answer for each is given in the teacher’s notes. p. 552 The photo has too much glare to show the foil ends of the electroscope. p. 554 Answers to procedural questions should be given in teacher’s notes for Investigation 23-2. p. 556 The SSC is old news (no longer being funded) and should be removed from text unless the physics involved could be discussed.
Chapter 24Energy Alternatives p. 562 Text should include some note about the photo (or the text on p. 568 discussing the solar car in the photo should reference p. 562).It’s appropriate that not much was made of solar cars being practical. p. 573 Should the paper strip catch on fire in this activity?Teacher’s notes don’t make this clear. p. 574 In Figure 24-7 the photo is too dim – can’t really tell that it is a dam. p. 578 It should have been pointed out that the 4000 predicted deaths due to cancer is a very small fraction of the total number expected to get cancer in the same area.The largest dose was received by the Bulgarians and that dose was half what folks in Colorado get naturally.The beneficial effects of radiation are not even pointed out.Drop the background information as unreliable and inappropriate. p. 584-5 This essay on plutonium should be dropped.The material is questionable and totally inappropriate for Middle School or even high school students without much more background.
AppendixThe appendix has useful instructions for some experimental methods (filtering techniques, e.g.) – very clearly written with good illustrations.
Science Anytime Napoleon Adebola Bryant, Jr., Carol J. Valenta, Gerald H. Krockover, Marjorie Slavik Frank, Mozell P. Lang, and A. Deman, Harcourt Brace & Company 1995Overall Comments: The introductory material given in the teacher’s edition is much shorter and more helpful than some of the other texts we have looked at.There is still too much in the way of “aids” for the teacher and very little “white space” in either the teacher’s edition or the student’s edition.Integrating history and vignettes into the text when appropriate is much better than filling up the page with boxes that do not always relate to the text or the science. The “Projects To Do” section for students comes before the ideas are even discussed.For example, students are told to “make a series of diagrams that show...an oceanic plate collapsing” before they know what an oceanic plate is.This is certain to be confusing.The “Projects To Do”, “People to Contact”, and “Books To Read” sections should come later. Science by its very nature is multicultural.There is no need to artificially introduce exercises to illustrate this.An activity such as “challenge students to discover the names of ... other scientists and to make a list of all the different countries they represent” (p. A22) is not science.If a teacher uses this activity to fill up a “science time requirement” then he or she is cheating the children. There are many interesting and enjoyable specific topics within each general unit of study.The difficulty is that they are not always pertinent nor do they teach science.To call a “jungle” a “rain forest” is not appropriate in a science book.There is a bias in the articles against technology and science and is not always clear as to what science is.If a teacher is concerned about his or her ability, there are worksheets available to fill in and help math and experimental skills. The teacher’s edition contains many notes and hints.Teachers will find several chapters of useful information on both science and pedagogy.The most overwhelming problem, however, is that it is trying to be all things to all people.Multiculturalism is important and teachers have to deal with students with different learning capabilities, different backgrounds, and even different primary languages.This book tries to address every one of those issues.It is supposed to be a science book, not a social studies book!Many of the suggested projects are worthless from a science perspective and should not take time from science. Another problem has to do with the directions for the hands‑on activities for the students.They are not very clearly written and we even found them at times difficult to figure out what the author meant. Unit A ‑ Ring of Fire Some detailed comments: p. A14 This is not a photographic essay.The second picture is confusing – it looks as if the gas cloud evolved into many little spiral galaxies before becoming the Sun.More textual material and a less uniform drawing would help. p. A30 The map is meant to show the Ring of Fire, but is presented in a way such that students won’t see the “ring.”The map should be centered on the Pacific Ocean. pp. A30-33 These two activities are confusing.Is stuff falling into or squishing out of the receding plates? p. A35 Students are told to use paperback books, but on p. A27b, the teacher notes say that magazines should be used because paperbacks won’t work.This is sure to frustrate the students who try the activity. p. A36 The trench should be labeled on the diagram. p. A37 The teacher’s “Think About It” notes don’t include any sort of explanation as to why one plate would go under another, or why both would go up.
p. A53 The parallel waves to be modeled on this page would be better modeled by shaking a slinky toy forward and backward.The bungee cord will simply stretch and contract.(In fact, on the following page, it shows a slinky!)
p. A58 The paper is going to fall over constantly without a support.It works better if the paper is mounted around a heavy roll of paper towels centered on the record.p. A59 Question #2 mentions a "base line" without defining what it is.This is a common problem – introducing new vocabulary without a context.See also p. B32 where “biome” is used without a definition.
p. A60 The teachers are not given enough information to answer the "Think About It" question.In addition, the phrase “longer lines” is ambiguous and should be accompanied by a labeled picture.
p. A71 The current most widely‑accepted theory of dinosaur extinction is that a large meteorite (not a volcanic eruption) caused a blanket of dust to surround the Earth and that killed off the dinosaurs.(Later, on p. B73 it says "the [theory] with the most evidence is that a giant meteor hit the Earth, causing a sudden change in climate.")This would be a good opportunity to introduce something about how scientists handle conflicting theories, but as with all books that we have looked at – they fail to.Some overall reactions to Unit A: The science presented is for the most part correct.It’s too bad that this series ends at Grade 6.The unit is far too "touchy‑feely".Too many under-prepared teachers will consider teaching cultural concepts as teaching science. Maintaining a science log is a good idea to force students to put down ideas in written form and to organize ideas, but ONLY if incorrect assumptions and writing errors are noted and corrected.Science isn't a study based on opinion, but on observation and fact. Unit B ‑ Caution: Endangered Species Ahead
p. B14 It’s important for students to get the idea that we do have an organized classification system and each scientist does not make up his or her own scheme.
p. B16 More activities like the "Key to a Tree" activity would be welcome.pp. B30‑31 No explanation for answers is given (for the teacher) for the activity on these pages.
pp. B33‑35 The story about a girl who visits the “rainforest” is a very interesting way to present some of the details about a jungle.Occasional diversions such as this one are probably OK, but too many turn the course from science to natural history.
p. B60 The "which bird beak type works best" lab suggests that students will discover that straw‑type beaks will work best for liquid food.However, the experiment instructions do not ever tell the students to try the lab with any liquids and no liquids are listed in the materials list.Overall impressions for Unit B: References to outside reading are an important practice.Besides improving reading skills students come to realize that everything is not included in one book.Stories about real scientists (such as the guy who can identify over 3000 bird species by sound) show that one does need to be committed to one’s discipline.Including evolution and not giving in to pressure groups marks this as one of the better books. Unit C ‑ Stage and Screen: Using Light and Sound
p. C24 In the "Multiply with Mirrors" activity, the students are told to unfold the mirrors and stand them upright ‑ they won't stand upright unless supported or held there.The instructions are confusing and will be a problem for 6th graders.
p. C27 Students are told to use concave and convex lenses, but are never told what they are.There should be many diagrams accompanying this topic and yet students are never shown a ray diagram.See p. C36 also.
p. C34 The phrase "sensitized by fuming with vapors of iodine" has to be explained for teachers and students alike.
p. C35 The "families afraid of separation by death" statement is very strange.Did the daguerreotype alleviate this fear?
p. C39 The directions for making a triangular shape out of a soda bottle for a prism are no help at all.
p. C40 Again a diagram of light refracting within a raindrop and a picture of a rainbow and the conditions for a rainbow to be seen would be much better than pure text and a poem about rainbows.In addition, the prism drawing is not quite correct.Writing a poem about rainbows or sound (p. C51) is not very scientific.
p. C47 The teacher notes say that "Blue light will cause all but blue objects to appear black", but the picture of the tomato on the previous page in blue light appears to be blue, not black like the picture beside it.
p. C 48 Students should be given the color "wheels" shown on p. C38 of the teacher's edition.Most of the students probably won't know what the colors cyan and magenta are.
p. C 48 Why isn't the "Food‑Color Kaleidoscope" done at this point rather than earlier?It would make more sense to do it when talking about pigments.
p. C54 The dolphin echolocation section is very interesting and a nice addition to the sound discussion.It also goes well with the "Medium Matters" activity on the following page.This makes for a very good story line that provides information as well as incorporating some good science activities.p. C71 starts a new section entitled “Let the Current Flow.”It’s charges that flow.Letting students know this at an early age could help later on. p. C73 The water circuit analogy is a good one, but students should be warned that it is an analogy and that charges do not come spewing out of a broken circuit.
p. C78 The excerpt about Tesla is interesting, but why would we want to tell kids that he "insisted on having exactly 18 napkins before him at every dinner ... and would not stay in the same room with a woman wearing pearl earrings"?This seems an especially strange piece to include especially when we look at question 2 on the following page: "Do you think that Tesla's characteristics helped make him a good scientist?"Perhaps relegating such stories (Cavendish was a bit strange as well) to the teacher notes would be better.Students already believe that scientists are strange.
p. C85 The teacher notes encourage a discussion about how Farnsworth (who invented the TV) learned about electricity by taking apart and reassembling a home generator.The TV is one appliance that should NOT be taken apart by children because of the safety risks involved.That point should be stressed.General Notes About Unit C Since this is a 6th grade level book it can’t be expected to cover everything that one would wish.It’s too bad that the other grades are not available as this section makes a good jumping off point for light and radio waves from the stars.The umbrella activity on p. C66 could be modified for these radiations. Unit D: SeaBase Nautilus
p. D15 The picture/story of the circling barracudas is interesting, but where is the science?Similarly for the story of the girl who dives for pearls (p. D20.)Opportunities are being missed too often.
p. D49 Text states that "plants and animals need fresh water to survive" but the previous text had just discussed animals that live in salt water.
p. D52 There have been a number of good Teaching Resource Sheets.This "Count Off” activity for statistically determining a population count is a good one.
p. D58 The neap tides should occur twice per month (not once as stated in the teacher's notes.)
p. D63 If the students fill the baking pan with water in "A Chilling Experience" and then pour two glasses of water in, the pan will overflow.p. D68 If there were a lot more activities like this one to demonstrate the volume inside the submersible, Alvin, we would begin to approach a meaningful science book.
p. D72 The "floating iceberg" activity instructs students to have the teacher float a bag of ice (the students are not supposed to know how big the bag is).The teacher's notes imply that the students should do it (but this would ruin the experiment.They would know the result before the observation took place.)
p. D77‑78 The two depth measurement labs should have been performed right after the sonar discussion (on p. D29) to have the material ready for the Titanic story.This clearly would be a good example of using the physics principles learned for a problem.
p. D91 Once again we are warned about having "too much confidence in technology".It would be better to explain how important it is for engineers to learn from the human mistakes that led to these disasters and to stress the improvements in human quality of life that science and technology has brought us.Section E: Blackout! p. E16 Teacher's notes say that the flask should get warm during the experiment of mixing baking soda and vinegar, but the students are never told to touch the flask.
p. E18 The students are asked only about the environmental effects of nuclear energy.
p. E22 The "Teaching Resources Sheet", p. 125, shows an experiment of a toy car coming down a ramp to hit a paperback book.The students are asked to measure how far the book moved.If the book is positioned as shown in the diagram, all it will do is topple over.
p. E27 Teacher's notes suggest students describe a school day without electricity, which has already been asked, on p. E 17.It’s still taking away time from science class, just the sort of thing an under-prepared teacher will latch on to and think that science is being taught.In addition, on both p. E30 and p. E24, it is suggested that students look at their home energy bills.
pp. E28-E29 The Follow the Energy Trail schematic diagram is very good, but an opportunity is missed to point out that all “energy stations” perform much the same function – they just use a different fuel and method of “burning.”The anti-nuclear and pro-solar biases are clearly evident from this point onward.Even though pointing out some pros and cons they are weighted.Solar energy (including wind) is not free!In fact, it is very dangerous and expensive and does pollute, but the authors never mention these drawbacks.
p. E50 The wind turbine experiment (using two household fans) is another example of solid experimenting that can be done in Middle School, but the authors do not follow through.
p. E52 Photovoltaic cells are described, but no explanation (even a simple one) is offered for how they work.
p. E56 The explanation of the term "short circuit" in the teacher's notes is not really an explanation; it’s just a description of one effect of a short circuit.
p. E75 The acid rain experiment description does not include an explanation of what the red and blue litmus papers represent in terms of acidic content.A comparison with various other materials including say, tomatoes, on litmus paper would make the experiment meaningful.
p. E76 The authors finally get around to including the ecological effects of fossil fuels, but the book is still skewed against nuclear energy.The section on fossil fuels shows a few dead trees and damage to the Statue of Liberty (presumably from acid rain).The nuclear energy section (two pages later) states "radioactivity can cause cancer, genetic effects, birth defects, and death".True, but why aren't the horrible effects of fossil fuel use mentioned?(Asthma attacks in children, respiratory illnesses, mining accidents, etc.)On later pages, the book states that "solar thermal conversion stations produce no waste products, so they don't harm the environment,” and "photovoltaic cells don't produce pollution", but the production of the special materials for thermal conversion stations and of photovoltaic cells does produce pollutants and many deaths.There is also no mention of the tremendous areas required for solar plants and their effect on the environment.The authors may be attempting to show pros and cons of these energy sources, but they aren't doing a very good job of being objective.
p. E84 The Kuwaiti oil fire story is interesting, but nothing was done about connecting the physics principles used to put out the fires and ends with the statement “Now young Kuwaiti scientists have become environmental watchdogs.They have vowed never to let such a disaster happen again."Nice thought, but let’s stick to teaching science here.
General Notes about Unit E
The discussion of energy and energy transformation is badly flawed.Too much time is being suggested for topics other than science and not enough time on interpreting basic experiments performed by the students.
Unit F: The Secrets Within Seedsp. F1e "Cotyledons" is used without a definition, but pops up confusingly on p. F55.
p. F32 Having the students actually design their own experiments is a great idea ("Growing Roots"), but one of the criticisms of this book (and the others that we have reviewed) is that the students have not gotten any experience designing experiments!
p. F69 The text states that seeds germinated in the orbiting space shuttle were "not subject to the force of gravity."These seedlings are in free fall and certainly are subject to the force of gravity.
General Notes about Unit F
This is a section on biology primarily and yet we see that an understanding of physics is still important.
We have found lots of errors.The number is overwhelming.What could possibly be wrong with the authors?Don’t they know anything about science?This question necessitated our looking into the qualifications of the authors.The investigation into the background of the “authors” for these books was much more thorough than the other books reviewed.Conclusion: The “authors” for the most part admitted that they did not write the book.A few reviewed and made suggestions, a few contributed essays, and a few did some other types of work.A September 6, 1999, transcript of 20/20 Book Report (re-run) (call 212 456-2324 to get a copy) has Sam Donaldson say of the authors, "the publisher admitted to us that none of them had written the book."Pearson/Prentice-Hall had ample time after the April 2nd first airing to request a correction if this were not so. North Carolina's price list of adopted texts following adoptions proceedings in the summer of 1999 lists the author for Exploring Physical Science as"editorial". Most of the people whose names appear in the title pages of Exploring Physical Science lack credentials in physical science.Prentice-Hall has taken steps that obscure that fact.The title pages i - xiv (i and ii lack page numbers) of Exploring Physical Science 1997 Second Edition, 3rd printing, ISBN 0-13-418716-4 (EPS) do not indicate anywhere that this book is part of a "set" of books.The other members of the "set" are Exploring Life Science and Exploring Earth Science.It is specifically NOT a part of a sequence because the reading and math levels are geared to a "generic" middle school standard.This allows schools to present these courses in any order.Five of the six listed authors had credentials in life or earth sciences and the sixth did not have time to write the book.None of the listed authors should or could have written the book. Page ii of EPS lists a National Science Consultant named Kathy French.She may be the "contributing writer."Kathy French is listed in Biology 1991 First Edition, 4th printing, ISBN 0-13-081241-2 (BIO) as a Biology Teacher at Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District, Bedford, Texas.A number of editorial people are common among these texts.Except for Ms. Christine Caputo, who wrote that she had a degree in physics, we know of no particular credentials for those people who have broad responsibilities and are also the last who could have caught the spectacular goofs in earlier editions such as the flopped photo of the Statue of Liberty in 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1997, or the picture of Linda Ronstadt described in 1997 as a silicon crystal doped with an arsenic impurity. Prentice-Hall knows very well that most of the people listed as “authors” are primarily grounded in biological sciences.PH has published their biological credentials in Biology.Calling them generic "Science Instructors" in Exploring Physical Science leads administrators and teachers to believe that this text has had its contents reviewed by these thirty-six people who are out in the field now in the listed subject."Thirty-Six Content Reviewers.Wow!I should be safe choosing this book" would be a reasonable response.Of the content reviewers that we were able to reach, only one had a physical science background.He admitted to reviewing nothing since 1992. Twelve of the EPS Content Reviewers shown as "Science Instructors" are credited as Biology Teachers in other PH texts or personally told us of their biological background.The thirteenth is in math education.In the best case scenario one third of the listed content reviewers could actually have had training in Physical Science. Listing thirty-six content reviewers in the front of EPS must reassure (and intimidate) students, parents and teachers who are fuzzy on the difference between momentum and kinetic energy, inertia and gravity or even about the metric system.Intimidation may not be the goal, but why list as content reviewers people who did not review the content of the book and why obscure their actual credentials making it appear that they are competent to review the content of this book?
By April 1997 Prentice-Hall Science, 1997, 3rd edition listed in each of the nineteen books the same thirty-six content reviewers plus five more, but by the 7thprinting (Fall 1998) these five were no longer listed.How can these five have reviewed it in April 1997 and not be listed as reviewers in October of the next year?It's the same stuff! One reviewer admitted that he found 25 errors in Chemistry of Matter (the only volume that he reviewed.) As of the 2nd printing of EPS, 1999, 3rd edition, teacher version, which is a photographically reduced EPS, 1999, 3rd edition, student version, there are still only the "original" thirty-six content reviewers.One can readily make up a page concordance between Exploring Physical Science and Prentice-Hall Science noting only minor differences.
The page layouts have remained constant throughout.PHS is available in editions of 1993, 1994 and 1997, and EPS in editions of 1995 and 1997.When a new edition comes out there is a new ISBN number.There is no reference in EPS to the pre-existence of PHS.Therefore a purchaser may not determine whether or not a review of PHS is pertinent to an evaluation of EPS.
"Tear sheets" sent to Millcreek in summer 1996 to show tentative fixes were longhand fixes on PHS page copies, and some were on EPS page copies.Changes on student pages were not always accompanied by changes on the teacher pages.
A history of the interaction among a concerned parent, a school district, and the publisher in an attempt to clear up the large number of errors in these books eventually led to the 20/20 show.One Parent’s Experience (An unpublished letter of HPL describes the frustration of a parent with this publisher.) My seventh grade daughter brought home the brand new Exploring Physical Science; copyright 1995, in the fall of 1994 and within weeks had found gravity goofed up.Before Christmas we had found eighty some mistakes, and I had spoken to her teacher and her principal and to administrators downtown.With frustrating and agonizing slowness (my opinion then) the administrators set up a faculty committee to review my findings and the text and write corrective measures where appropriate.With excessive courtesy and attention to protocol (again -- my opinion then) the district contacted the publisher.
With 20/20 hindsight it is obvious that the school district did absolutely everything as perfectly as could have been done.The 34 page booklet of corrective measures has been available to students ever since.The publisher paid for the printing.The school district tried to work with the publisher rather than to just simply get the deal undone.And the saga developed bizarre and Byzantine complexities.The publisher sent out a group of executives to explore possible remedies on May 8th, 1996.That morning the district received a 2nd edition, 1st printing of Exploring Physical Science -- 1997 copyright.My one-hour pre-meeting examination of the book with a mathematics professor found most errors checked continued intact into that printing.After the meeting the publisher offered a "corrected" 2nd edition 2nd printing as a free pilot for the district.Before printing that, the publisher sent the corrective measures and the text to an outside expert chosen by Publisher's Resource Group for evaluation.