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AAAS  :: Project 2061  :: Textbook Evaluations

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
I. [Explanation] This category consists of criteria for determining whether the curriculum material attempts to make its purposes explicit and meaningful to students, either in the student text itself or through suggestions to the teacher. The sequence of lessons or activities is also important in accomplishing the stated purpose, since ideas often build on each other.
II. [Explanation] Fostering understanding in students requires taking time to attend to the ideas they already have, both ideas that are incorrect and ideas that can serve as a foundation for subsequent learning. This category consists of criteria for determining whether the curriculum material contains specific suggestions for identifying and addressing students’ ideas.
III. [Explanation] Much of the point of science is to explain phenomena in terms of a small number of principles or ideas. For students to appreciate this explanatory power, they need to have a sense of the range of phenomena that science can explain. The criteria in this category examine whether the curriculum material relates important scientific ideas to a range of relevant phenomena and provides either firsthand experiences with the phenomena or a vicarious sense of phenomena that are not presented firsthand.
IV. [Explanation] Science literacy requires that students understand the link between scientific ideas and the phenomena that they can explain. Furthermore, students should see the ideas as useful and become skillful at applying them. This category consists of criteria for determining whether the curriculum material expresses and develops the key ideas in ways that are accessible and intelligible to students, and that demonstrate the usefulness of the key ideas and provide practice in varied contexts.
V. [Explanation] Engaging students in experiences with phenomena (category III) and presenting them with scientific ideas (category IV) will not lead to effective learning unless students are given time, opportunities, and guidance to make sense of the experiences and ideas. This category consists of criteria for determining whether the curriculum material provides students with opportunities to express, think about, and reshape their ideas, as well as guidance on developing an understanding of what they experience.
VI. [Explanation] This category consists of criteria for evaluating whether the curriculum material includes a variety of aligned assessments that apply the key ideas taught in the material.
VII. [Explanation] The criteria in this category provide analysts with the opportunity to comment on features that enhance the use and implementation of the curriculum material by all students.

I. Providing a Sense of Purpose

Conveying unit purpose (Rating = Fair)

Exploring Physical Science makes an attempt at setting a purpose for each unit and chapter. Unit and chapter purposes follow a similar pattern, including photographs, introductory text, and questions. For example, Chapter 3: Physical and Chemical Changes opens by presenting a problem in which workers trying to save an orange crop during very cold weather: “To keep oranges from being destroyed by freezing temperatures, the oranges are sprayed with water that quickly freezes into ice. How does ice protect the oranges?” (p. 61s). This problem is likely to be comprehensible, interesting, and motivating to students. The teacher’s notes encourage the teacher to give students opportunities to discuss the problem, and the student text returns to the stated purpose at the relevant point in the chapter (solid-liquid phase changes) and gives an answer to the question (p. 71s). However, only a small part of one lesson is consistent with coming to an understanding of this problem; there are many other lessons that are not related to this problem. Hence, the stated problem is not sufficient to frame the whole chapter.

Other chapter purposes may be less comprehensible and interesting to students. For example, Chapter 17: What Is Heat? starts with the story of a man “slowly freezing to death” in a very cold environment and points out that an understanding of heat and the many roles it plays in the lives of people is important (p. 423s). Although the story could be marginally comprehensible and interesting to students (especially to those with any experience of inclement weather), it does not present explicitly a problem or an issue that the chapter addresses. The only purpose that is provided is to “find out what heat is, how it is measured, and how it affects the world around you” (p. 423s), which is not likely to be of interest to most students. Although the chapter that follows addresses what heat is and how it is measured (among many other topics), it does not address specifically how heat affects the world around us, the topic that is most closely related to the story presented at the beginning of the chapter.

Conveying lesson/activity purpose (Rating = Poor)

Exploring Physical Science does not provide purposes for activities or readings, nor does it ask teachers to convey a purpose to students. Activities presented in the student text are headed by titles, such as Determining Particle Space (p. 66s), that are not likely to convey a purpose or to be comprehensible to students. Students are not likely to know what it means to determine particle space. Also, the concept “particle space” is not defined in the text. Even titles with seemingly comprehensible phrases (such as Melting Ice and Freezing Water [p. 70]) do not convey the purpose of the activity (which is to compare the melting point of ice with the freezing point of water). However, often a purpose is provided for activities in Teaching Resources (a boxed set of booklets), and the purpose is often comprehensible (e.g., Teaching Resources, chapter 3 booklet, Discovery Activity: Pouring a Gas, p. 5; Discovery Activity: Observing a Phase Change, p. 15). With regard to the purpose of readings in the student text, each section includes a feature labeled Guide for Reading. However, the purpose conveyed there usually relates to only a small portion of the section.

Justifying lesson/activity sequence (Rating = Poor)

The teacher’s notes provide an overview of each chapter and a section-by-section description of its contents. However, the reasons for the sequence of sections are rarely discussed. Chapter 3: Physical and Chemical Changes contains a fairly logical sequence of sections, starting with phases of matter, continuing with changes in phases of matter (physical changes), and concluding with chemical changes. Chapter 17: What Is Heat? presents a sequence of five sections with the titles Heat: A Form of Energy; Temperature and Heat; Measuring Heat; Heat and Phase Changes; and Thermal Expansion. However, no rationale for a logical or strategic sequence could be inferred readily. Most problematic is the sequencing of the hands-on activities in both chapters. Nearly every two-page spread has an insert referring to an activity in the student text or teacher’s notes. Very few of these activities correspond to the adjacent text; they seem to be inserted at regular intervals as a part of the overall design of this textbook program. For example, the activity Determining Particle Space (p. 66s) is placed in the middle of the gases section, although it is relevant to solids and liquids. No link is made to this activity in the student text.

II. Taking Account of Student Ideas

Attending to prerequisite knowledge and skills (Rating = Poor)

Exploring Physical Science does not alert teachers to specific prerequisite ideas or make connections between the ideas in a particular unit and their prerequisite ideas. The student text and teacher’s notes omit references to many prerequisites. For example, the student text presents a discussion of “What is matter?” (pp. 40–42s), but does not address the equally important topic of “What is not matter?” Also several statements about prerequisite ideas in the student text may be confusing. For example, the text provides the following definition of matter: “You see and touch hundreds of things every day. . . . They are all forms of matter” (p. 40s). This may be problematic for students who feel they have been touched and burned by sunlight. A second definition, “Matter is what the visible universe is made of” (p. 40s), may lead to additional puzzlement. One can see light and shadows but not the wind. Furthermore, the index reference for “particle” mentions the “particle theory of light.” That might make students wonder if light is a form of matter. The issue of matter and nonmatter needs explicit discussion.

Many terms are used in the text without explanation or reference to the later sections of the book in which they are discussed. For example, “atom” appears in a figure caption: “The illustration shows how atoms are arranged in a sodium chloride crystal” (Figure 3–2, p. 62s). And “heat energy” appears in a paragraph about gases: “As the temperature increases, the gas particles absorb more heat energy” (p. 67s). In neither case is the reader referred to the later definition and discussion of the terms.

Alerting teachers to commonly held student ideas (Rating = Poor)

Exploring Physical Science does not describe for the teacher’s benefit any of the ideas commonly held by students related to the kinetic molecular theory that have been documented in research studies. For example, research on student understanding of the structure of matter reveals that many students think that particles (atoms or molecules) are in substances and/or that there is something (e.g., air) between the particles, rather than that substances consist of nothing except molecules with empty spaces between them (Brook, Briggs, & Driver, 1984; Nussbaum, 1985). Research also reveals that students often are confused between the observable properties of substances and the properties of molecules themselves. For example, students may think that molecules themselves become hot or cold, or that molecules themselves expand, causing substances to expand (Johnston & Driver, 1989; Lee, Eichinger, Anderson, Berkheimer, & Blakeslee, 1993). Teachers are not alerted to these beliefs of many students.

Assisting teachers in identifying their students’ ideas (Rating = Poor)

The teacher’s notes have many suggestions of questions to ask students that are linked to particular portions of the student text. However, typically, these questions are focused very narrowly, with the right answers provided. The questions do not invite students to write about or discuss a topic in ways that provide opportunities for them to express commonly held conceptions.

Addressing commonly held ideas (Rating = Poor)

Common student difficulties relevant to these key physical science ideas include distinguishing between matter and nonmatter, recognizing air and other gases as matter, understanding the scale of the “tiny” particles involved, recognizing that the “particles” are moving in a solid although the object appears at rest, attributing macroscopic properties such as hardness to individual particles, and many more. None of these are addressed in this textbook. Even those that are mentioned (e.g., that air is difficult to recognize as matter [p. 40s]) are not addressed. Students are rarely invited to make predictions and to compare their predictions to what happens. They are rarely prompted to contrast commonly held ideas with scientifically correct ideas and to resolve differences between them. The text makes no attempt to guide teachers in how to take their students’ ideas into account.

III. Engaging Students with Relevant Phenomena

Providing variety of phenomena (Rating = Poor)

Overall, there are only a few phenomena that support the different ideas examined. There is a satisfactory variety of phenomena that support the idea that increased temperature means greater molecular motion, so most substances expand when heated (Idea d). Students observe the different diffusion rates of food coloring in warm and cold water (p. 432s), measure the circumference of a balloon at different temperatures (p. 68s), and read about the expansion of alcohol (or mercury) in a thermometer (p. 432s). Numerous other examples of the expansion of solids, liquids, or gases are described in the text or shown in pictures; however, they are not linked explicitly to the idea of increased molecular motion at higher temperatures. The material connects the arrangement, motion, and interaction of particles of solids, liquids, and gases (Idea e) to the properties of shape and volume, but in most instances the links are neither clear nor precise. The material connects one example of melting (p. 70s) and two of evaporation (pp. 69t, 72s) to a molecular explanation (albeit minimally) but not to examples of freezing or condensation. There are hardly any phenomena that support the ideas that matter is made of particles (Idea a), that particles are too small to see even with magnification (Idea b), and that particles are in motion constantly (Idea c).

Providing vivid experiences (Rating = Poor)

With the exception of observing the diffusion of food coloring in warm and cold water (p. 432s) and measuring the circumference of a balloon (p. 68s), which are presented to students in hands-on activities, all relevant phenomena are described (typically, briefly) in the student text. It is likely that some middle grades students will not be able to form a mental picture of these phenomena.

IV. Developing and Using Scientific Ideas

Introducing terms meaningfully (Rating = Poor)

Exploring Physical Science does not provide experiences with phenomena and then develop definitions of the terms needed to interpret these experiences. In several instances, terms are introduced before students have had any experience to help understand them (see the introduction of the terms “particle” [p. 62s], “liquid” [p. 64s], and “gas” [p. 65s]). However, in other instances, the text refers to an everyday experience either immediately before or after the definition of a term (see the introduction of the terms “melting” [p. 70s] and “evaporation” [p. 72s]). The text often goes beyond the vocabulary and concepts recommended for middle grades students in Benchmarks for Science Literary (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1993) and National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996) by introducing terms such as “amorphous solid” (p. 63s), “crystalline solid” (p. 63s), and “vaporization” (p. 72s).

Representing ideas effectively (Rating = Poor)

None of the representations are helpful in making ideas of the kinetic molecular theory intelligible to students. Many of the drawings of molecules in the student text are hard to interpret and misleading. For example, one diagram shows three gas-filled balloons of different volumes (p. 66s, Figure 3–8). The balloons are green and black dots represent the gas molecules, but no legend is provided. Consequently, this diagram could reinforce the commonly held idea that gases are substances that have molecules in them, rather than the scientific idea that gases consist of molecules. Several drawings show molecules of solids, liquids, and gases in different colors, which could be interpreted as representing a change in the type of molecules (see, for example, p. 67s, Figure 3–9; p. 74s, diagram).

Demonstrating use of knowledge (Rating = Poor)

The student text frequently presents a general explanation (such as “solids have a definite shape” [p. 62s] or “evaporation” [p. 72s]), but does not relate it to a specific phenomenon (such as that a metal spoon stays spoon-shaped whether it is on a table or in a glass of water, or the level of water goes down in an open container if the glass is left for a while). Occasionally, the text presents an explanation of a specific phenomenon. For example, the text explains why the volume of a balloon increases when it is heated (p. 67s). Yet, even when these explanations are provided, typically they are not presented in a step-by-step manner (for example, the molecular explanation of melting [p. 70s]), although a few are (for example, the molecular explanation of thermal expansion in solids [p. 444s]). None of the explanations are identified to the student or teacher as examples of demonstrating the use of knowledge, nor does the material address what good explanations are like.

Providing practice (Rating = Poor)

Exploring Physical Science has a small number of opportunities for students to practice ideas related to the kinetic molecular theory. Most of the questions can be answered verbatim from the text and do not require students to use knowledge (e.g., “What happens to the molecules of a substance when the substance is heated?” [p. 447s], or “How is thermal expansion related to the motion of molecules?” [Teaching Resources, chapter 17 booklet, p. 48]).

One task that goes beyond simple recall asks students to imagine that they are a water molecule that is going through a series of phase changes and to describe their experiences as they change from a molecule of ice to a molecule of liquid water and from a molecule of liquid water back to a molecule of ice. However, the suggested response given in Teaching Resources is anthropomorphic and potentially misleading. The suggested response for the change from a molecule of ice to a molecule of liquid water is:

There I was, packed into this cold, tight space called an ice cube. All I could do was vibrate back and forth, which I sure did a lot of considering how cold I was. Then, suddenly, I began to feel warm. Heat was pouring all over the ice cube. Suddenly, I was not frozen anymore—I could swim! I was flowing along with all the other molecules in a drop of liquid water. [Teaching Resources, chapter 3 booklet, pp. 20–22, 34]

V. Promoting Students' Thinking about Phenomena, Experiences, and Knowledge

Encouraging students to explain their ideas (Rating = Poor)

Opportunities are not provided on a routine basis for students to express their own ideas. Generally, when questions are asked (as suggested by either the student text or teacher’s notes), the nature and types of questions dictate specific responses based upon content usually found in the textbook. Only occasionally are students required to state and explain their own ideas (on page 61s, for example, there are suggestions for the use of student journals). However, in only one of these instances are students asked to explain their ideas at a molecular level; specifically, students are asked to predict which molecules would have the greater motion for two different scenes (pp. 434–435st).

Guiding student interpretation and reasoning (Rating = Poor)

Rather than guiding student interpretation and reasoning, the textbook tends to focus on having students respond with the correct answers (usually based upon information in the text). It does not provide opportunities or suggestions for helping them to make connections among their own ideas, the phenomena observed, and the presented scientific ideas. There are a number of questions that are specific and relevant to the ideas examined. However, the questions asked are not likely to help students reflect on the readings or other activities, nor do they increase in complexity in any meaningful sequence.

Encouraging students to think about what they have learned (Rating = Poor)

Exploring Physical Science does not provide opportunities for students to revise their initial ideas or to monitor their progress in other ways.

VI. Assessing Progress

Aligning assessment to goals (Rating = Poor)

For the end-of-instruction assessment, the material provides tests and performance-based assessments for each chapter in the Teaching Resources booklets. In addition, the material identifies the Chapter Reviews as assessment. These assessment sections are examined in the two chapters that deal most extensively with the key physical science ideas (chapters 3, 17).

Some important ideas chosen for this study, such as the idea that all matter is made up of molecules (Idea a), are not assessed at all in Exploring Physical Science. Other key ideas are not assessed adequately.

Only a few items target the key physical science ideas. Students choose the phrase that completes the statement, “A regular pattern of particles is found in…” (p. 82s, Chapter Review, Content Review, Multiple Choice, item 2), and two questions ask what happens to a substance’s molecules when it is heated (p. 450s, Chapter Review, Content Review, Multiple Choice, item 2; p. 450s, Chapter Review, Content Review, True or False, item 2). They decide whether statements such as “The particles of matter are spread farthest apart in a liquid” are accurate (p. 82s, Chapter Review, Content Review, True or False, item 1), compare solids, liquids, and gases in terms of arrangement and motion of molecules (p. 83s, Chapter Review, Concept Mastery, item 4), and explain how thermometers use the property of thermal expansion (p. 451s, Chapter Review, Concept Mastery, item 5). Students also explain why air pressure in a car’s tires is different before and after the car has been driven for several hours (p. 451s, Chapter Review, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, item 1); however, while this question targets the idea that when a gas is heated its molecules move faster and collide more often (Idea c), it also requires students to know that friction causes the tires to heat.

In addition, students explain how solid air fresheners “disappear” and how these fresheners release their odor (p. 83st, Chapter Review, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, item 6) and compare evaporation and boiling (p. 83st, Chapter Review, Concept Mastery, item 5). Unfortunately, since the answers to these two questions in the Teacher’s Edition do not refer to the molecular level, it is unclear whether students will be prompted to talk about molecules in their answers.

Testing for understanding (Rating = Poor)

Of the relevant assessment items described under the previous criterion, only one focuses on understanding, namely, the explanation of how thermometers work (p. 451s, Chapter Review, Concept Mastery, item 5). (But even this question can be answered in macroscopic terms.)

Using assessment to inform instruction (Rating = Poor)

Assessment aimed at determining the progress of student learning and modifying instruction accordingly is not a feature of Exploring Physical Science. Most questions included in the student text and Teacher’s Edition, as well as Teaching Resources, can be answered by repeating definitions or statements from the text. The few questions provided are not likely to be used to inform instruction since the material does not make explicit claims about this instructional strategy. Only one such question was found in all of the components examined (Section Review and Reteach in the student and teacher texts, respectively, and Review and Reinforcement in Teaching Resources). Students imagine that they are water molecules and describe their experiences as they change from state to state (Teaching Resources, chapter 3 booklet, pp. 20–22, items 1–4). While this is a potentially good item that could diagnose students’ remaining difficulties, the suggested answer to the first item is itself problematic because it imparts to the molecules properties of macroscopic objects or substances:
There I was, packed into this cold, tight space called an ice cube. All I could do was vibrate back and forth, which I sure did a lot of considering how cold I was. Then, suddenly, I began to feel warm. Heat was pouring all over the ice cube. Suddenly, I was not frozen anymore—I could swim! I was flowing along with all the other molecules in a drop of liquid water. [Teaching Resources, chapter 3 booklet, p. 34, emphasis added]

All the other questions can be answered by repeating definitions or statements from the text.

VII. Enhancing the Science Learning Environment

Providing teacher content support (Minimal support is provided.)

The material provides minimal support in alerting teachers to how ideas have been simplified for students to comprehend and what the more sophisticated versions are. Content background notes usually summarize the student text (e.g., p. 2t, Unit Overview), give brief elaboration of one or a few student text concepts (e.g., pp. 72–73t, Background Information), or offer tidbits of questionable relevance (e.g., p. 440t, Background Information, Fusible Alloys). Overall, the teacher content support is brief, localized, and fragmented.

The material rarely provides sufficiently detailed answers to questions in the student text for teachers to understand and interpret various student responses. Most answers are brief and require further explanation (e.g., “They lose energy” [p. 73t, Develop, item 2]), often emphasize factual recall of information from the student text (e.g., “Conduction: direct molecular contact; convection: currents; radiation: invisible light” [p. 430t, 17–1 Section Review Answers, answer 2]), and frequently focus solely on the definitions of terms (e.g., “Melting point: temperature at which a solid changes into a liquid; freezing point: temperature at which a liquid changes into a solid” [p. 74t, 3–2 Section Review Answers, answer 2]).

The material provides minimal support in recommending resources for improving the teacher’s understanding of key ideas. While the material lists references by author, title, and publisher at the beginning of most chapters that could help teachers improve their understanding of the key ideas (e.g., “Booth, V. H., and M. Bloom. Elements of Physical Science: The Nature of Matter and Energy, Macmillan” [p. 60at]), the lists lack annotations about what kinds of information the references provide or how they may be helpful.

Encouraging curiosity and questioning (Minimal support is provided.)

The material provides no suggestions for how to encourage students’ questions and guide their search for answers.

The material provides a few suggestions for how to respect and value students’ ideas. Introductory student notes about concept mapping state that responses may vary. Maps are correct if they show important concepts and relationships, are meaningful to the student, and help the student understand the text (p. 1s). In addition to concept mapping, the material explicitly elicits and values students’ ideas in journal writing and some other activities. For example, the Teacher’s Guide instructs the teacher to “[a]ccept all logical responses” for selected tasks (e.g., p. 424t, Explore, Activity, item 1).

The material provides a few suggestions for how to raise questions such as, “How do we know? What is the evidence?” and “Are there alternative explanations or other ways of solving the problem that could be better?” But it does not encourage students to pose such questions themselves. Specifically, the material includes a few tasks that ask students to provide evidence or reasons in their responses (e.g., p. 80st, Observations, item 5; pp. 445s, 444t, Activity: Doing).

The material provides a few suggestions for how to avoid dogmatism. The first chapter portrays the nature of science as a durable yet dynamic human enterprise in which students can participate (pp. 5–19s). The material later illustrates changes over time in scientific thinking leading to the current concept of heat (pp. 424–425s). However, the material also contributes to dogmatism by presenting most of the text in a static, authoritative manner with little reference to the work of particular practicing scientists, and by expecting single, specific responses for most student tasks.

The material does not provide examples of classroom interactions (e.g., dialogue boxes, vignettes, or video clips) that illustrate appropriate ways to respond to student questions or ideas. However, a limited sense of desirable student-student interactions may be gained from procedural directions for laboratory and cooperative group activities (e.g., p. 80st, Laboratory Investigation; pp. 716–717st, Activity Bank: Crystal Gardening; Teacher’s Desk Reference, Cooperative-Learning Strategies).

Supporting all students (Some support is provided.)

The material generally avoids stereotypes or language that might be offensive to a particular group. For example, photographs include a diverse cultural mix of students and adults (e.g., pp. 80s, 92s, 426–427s), but the number of photographs that include people throughout the material is limited.

The material provides some illustrations of the contributions of women and minorities to science and as role models. Most of the contributions of women and minority scientists, however, appear in a few separate essays entitled Science Gazette at the end of each unit. For example, one Science Gazette describes the education and work of physicist Shirley Ann Jackson, “the first African-American woman to earn a PhD in physics in the United States” (p. 169s). The material also includes related features entitled Careers, Multicultural Strategy, and Connections. The Careers feature briefly describes a scientific occupation related to the chapter content, provides information on how students can learn more about the career, and includes a photograph of a scientist, who in some instances is a woman or minority (e.g., p. 204s). The Multicultural Strategy feature provides general directions in teacher’s notes for projects related to the chapter content in which students often research particular characteristics of a cultural group (e.g., p. 69t). Connections are essays in the student text that sometimes address scientific contributions of particular cultures and relate to one of the text’s overarching themes: energy, evolution, patterns of change, scale and structure, systems and interactions, unity and diversity, or stability (e.g., p. 30s). Teacher’s notes associated with the essays provide suggestions for student discussion or research projects (e.g., p. 30t). All of these sections highlighting cultural contributions are interesting and informative, but may not be seen by students as central to the material because they are presented in sidebars and teacher’s notes.

The material suggests multiple formats for students to use to express their ideas during instruction, including individual journal writing (e.g., p. 423s), cooperative group activities (e.g., p. 61t, Activity: Cooperative Learning), laboratory investigations (e.g., p. 80s), whole class discussions (e.g., p. 65t, Develop), essay questions (e.g., pp. 451s, 450t, Concept Mastery, question 5), concept mapping (e.g., p. 82st), and making models (e.g., p. 424t, Activity). In addition, multiple formats are suggested for assessment, including essay (e.g., Teaching Resources, chapter 17 booklet, p. 57, item 3; p. 59, item 3), performance (e.g., Teaching Resources, Performance-Based Assessment booklet, pp. 15–17), and portfolio (e.g., p. 83t, Keeping a Portfolio). However, the material does not usually provide a variety of alternatives for the same task in either instruction or assessment.

The material does not routinely include specific suggestions about how teachers can modify activities for students with special needs. However, the Teacher’s Edition and supplemental Teaching Resources (which include activities, review and reinforcement work sheets, laboratory investigation work sheets, science reading skills work sheets, and a laboratory manual) provide additional activities and resources for students of specific ability levels. Each chapter in the Teacher’s Edition includes ESL Strategy, Enrich activities, and Going Further: Enrichment activities. The ESL Strategy activities provide English-as-a-second-language students with practice in writing tasks often emphasizing vocabulary related to a chapter topic (e.g., p. 432t), and Enrich and Going Further: Enrichment activities allow interested students to further study a specified topic from the chapter (e.g., pp. 446t, 81t). One of the Teaching Resources booklets is a Spanish glossary that provides Spanish speakers with pronunciation assistance and definitions of key text concepts in Spanish. However, placing such supplemental resources in individual booklets separate from the main text may discourage their use.

The material provides some strategies to validate students’ relevant personal and social experiences with scientific ideas. Many text sections intersperse brief references to specific, personal experiences students may have had that relate to the presented scientific concepts (e.g., p. 426s). In addition, some tasks—including Journal Activity (e.g., p. 61s) and Multicultural Strategy (e.g., p. 436t)—ask students about particular, personal experiences they may have had or suggest specific experiences they could have. However, the material rarely encourages students to contribute relevant experiences of their own choice to the science classroom and sometimes does not adequately link the specified personal experiences to the scientific ideas being studied (e.g., p. 63t, Multicultural Strategy). Overall, support is brief and localized.