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Middle Grades Science Textbooks: A Benchmarks-Based Evaluation

Science 2000. Decision Development Corporation, 1991 and 1995
Earth Science Life Science Physical Science

About this Evaluation Report
Content Analysis
Instructional Analysis

Science 2000 is a technology-based science program that distributes physical, Earth, and life science topics across theme-based units. The program is intended for grades six through eight (with one unit for grade five). It includes software, laser videodiscs, and manuals for teachers, but does not include a student textbook.

The program has been evaluated in terms of how 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 Science 2000 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. Science 2000 treats all of this set’s key ideas, although the extent of treatment varies. Most of the ideas are dealt with in grade six in unit 4 in the context of students learning what is needed to design a delicious snack food that meets the school board’s health requirements. Some of the ideas are touched on in grade five in unit 1 in the investigation of food webs in ocean and grassland environments. Others appear briefly in grade seven in unit 1 while students are considering the role of nutrition in human health and disease and in unit 2 while students are investigating food webs and factors affecting the rate of photosynthesis in a lake ecosystem.

Although Science 2000 contains a lot of information that is relevant to the key life science ideas, it is not clear how much of the information is to be seen by students. Some of the most relevant information is in the Teacher Background notes, but no directions are given that indicate how it is to be used, particularly whether it is to be presented to students.

The other two sections of this report—the Content Analysis and the Instructional Analysis—summarize the results of the evaluation of Science 2000’s life science content and instructional efficacy.

In both sections, within-the-text references to the evaluated materials are given as a basic sequence of four numbers separated by periods. It is a top-down sequence that identifies, in order, the grade, unit, cluster, and lesson (e.g., “”). In some cases, more than one lesson is cited (e.g., “–3” and “, 3”). And in some cases, the basic sequence is extended to include lesson subunits, set off by a comma. Such subunits consist of either a lesson plan (LP) or student investigation (SI). Lesson plans are designated “LP1,” “LP2,” etc. Student investigations are designated by both cluster and lesson number (following usage in Science 2000), as, for example, “SI21–1–A.”

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.