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AAAS  :: Project 2061  :: Textbook Evaluations

Middle Grades Science Textbooks: A Benchmarks-Based Evaluation

PRIME Science. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1998
Earth Science Life Science Physical Science

About this Evaluation Report
Content Analysis
Instructional Analysis

PRIME Science is a science program that distributes physical, Earth, and life science topics across five grade levels, grades six through ten. The program’s levels A, B, and C correspond to grades six, seven, and eight; levels 1 and 2 correspond to grades nine and ten.

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 PRIME Science assesses the program’s life science component.

The life science idea set focuses on matter and energy transformations in living systems, including organisms and ecosystems. In PRIME Science, the key ideas about matter and energy transformations in living systems are treated in two chapters in middle school level C and one chapter in high school level 1. At the beginning of level C, in Chapter 1: Green Machine, the material introduces the process of photosynthesis as the primary process by which food is produced. The chapter emphasis the role of chlorophyll in trapping light energy and the production of oxygen during the process, and it introduces the key ideas about food chains, food webs, and food pyramids. In Chapter 5: Food (also level C), the text defines food and introduces students to the reasons people need food. Food is discussed in terms of its component nutrients and dietary value, and respiration is described. In Chapter 12: Balancing Acts (level 1), the material explains energy transfer in food webs and further develops the concept of an energy pyramid.

The other two sections of this report—the Content Analysis and the Instructional Analysis—summarize the results of the evaluation of PRIME Science’s life science 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”).

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.