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Middle Grades Science Textbooks: A Benchmarks-Based Evaluation

Prentice Hall Exploring Earth Science, Exploring Life Science, and Exploring Physical Science. Prentice Hall School, 1997
Earth Science Life Science Physical Science

About this Evaluation Report
Content Analysis
Instructional Analysis

Prentice Hall Exploring Physical Science is one of three components of a science program that distributes physical, Earth, and life science topics across the middle grades.

The program has been evaluated in terms of how well its content matches each of three topic-specific sets of key science ideas, and how well it provides effective instructional material in terms of a set of universal criteria for the teaching of science ideas. This report on the Prentice Hall program assesses the program’s physical science component.

The physical science idea set focuses on the particulate nature of matter and the kinetic molecular theory. In Exploring Physical Science, the material relating to these key ideas is to be found in four chapters. Chapter 3: Physical and Chemical Changes introduces states of matter and changes of state and explains them in terms of small particles. Chapter 4: Mixtures, Elements, and Compounds presents atoms as the smallest particles of elements and molecules as the smallest particles of compounds. Chapter 5: Atoms: Building Blocks of Matter describes atoms as the basic building blocks of matter in the context of how the atomic model has changed over time. Chapter 17: What Is Heat? explains changes of state again, this time in terms of moving molecules, and it also explores thermal expansion.

The other two sections of this report—the Content Analysis and the Instructional Analysis—summarize the results of the evaluation of Exploring Physical Science’s content and instructional efficacy.

In both sections, within-the-text page references to the evaluated materials have been clarified by the use of letter suffixes: “s” denotes the student text (as in “p. 16s”), and “t” denotes the Teacher’s Edition (as in “p. 16t”). Where “T” appears as part of a page reference (as in “p. T–7”), it denotes the Teacher’s Guide within the Teacher’s Edition.

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.