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Middle Grades Science Textbooks: A Benchmarks-Based Evaluation

Matter and Molecules (stand-alone unit). Michigan State University, 1998.
Earth Science Life Science Physical Science

About this Evaluation Report
Content Analysis
Instructional Analysis

Matter and Molecules is a seven-week unit whose objective is to teach middle grades students the kinetic molecular theory. The materials consist of a Science Book, which contains readings, and an Activity Book, which contains experiments and question sets. The unit consists of nine lesson clusters. The first three lesson clusters introduce students to the idea that substances are made up of small, seemingly invisible molecules that are in constant motion. The next six lesson clusters use these ideas to explain various physical changes such as the compression and expansion of gases, dissolution, the thermal expansion and contraction of gases, and changes of state.

The physical science idea set, which focuses on the particulate nature of matter and the kinetic molecular theory, was used to evaluate Matter and Molecules.

The other two sections of this report—the Content Analysis and the Instructional Analysis—summarize the results of the evaluation of the unit’s physical science content and instructional efficacy.

In both sections, the within-the-text page references to the evaluated materials have been clarified by appending letter suffixes to the cited page numbers: “s” denotes the student pages (as in “p. 5s”). The teacher pages are cited as they appear in the unit (e.g., “p. T-14”).

The reference works cited in this report are given as complete citations in the References list, along with those cited in other reports in this document. The References list can be accessed by clicking on the link at the beginning of each content and instructional analysis. To view a specific research reference while reading the content and instructional analyses, simply click on the in-text citation.

The key science ideas and the instructional analysis categories are presented and discussed under Project 2061 Analysis Procedure on the main menu.