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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 physical science component.

The physical science idea set focuses on the particulate nature of matter and the kinetic molecular theory. In PRIME Science, the material relating to these key ideas is to be found in five clusters in one chapter each of levels A, B, and C, and in two chapters of level 1. PRIME Science introduces physical changes such as dissolving, expansion and contraction, and changes of state (freezing, melting, and boiling) in level A, Chapter 1: Primrose Park, but does not link these changes to the kinetic molecular theory. In level B, Chapter 9: Wear and Tear, in the context of studying fabrics and their properties, the idea is introduced that just as fabrics are made up of threads, fibers are also built from smaller particles that are too small to see but whose properties can be inferred from the way in which larger pieces of the substance behave. Level C, Chapter 3: Gulp! uses the preparation and characteristics of drinks as a context for introducing the kinetic molecular theory, first to explain why materials dissolve and then to identify different properties of solids, liquids, and gases. In level 1, Chapter 2: Construction Materials, in the context of thinking about materials and how people use them, students consider how particles in materials are arranged and how tightly they are linked together to explain the material’s properties. In level 1, Chapter 11: The Atmosphere, the kinetic molecular theory is used to explain convection in gases, as well as the gas laws.

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