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Middle Grades Science Textbooks: A Benchmarks-Based Evaluation

SciencePlus: Technology and Society. Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1997
Earth Science Life Science Physical Science

About this Evaluation Report
Content Analysis
Instructional Analysis

SciencePlus: Technology and Society is a science program that distributes physical, Earth, and life science topics across three grade levels. The three levels—labeled “Green,” “Red,” and “Blue”—correspond to grades six, seven, and eight, respectively.

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 SciencePlus 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 SciencePlus, these key ideas are presented in three units, one in each of the three grade levels. In grade six (Level Green), Unit 4: Investigating Matter introduces the idea that all matter is made up of particles and asks students to use the particle model of matter to explain states of matter and changes of state. In grade seven (Level Red), Unit 3: Solutions briefly states the idea that all matter is made up of particles and uses it to explain dissolving. In grade eight (Level Blue), Unit 2: Particles presents a variety of phenomena that can be explained through use of the key ideas, and it attempts to build a case for the key ideas based on these phenomena.

The other two sections of this report—the Content Analysis and the Instructional Analysis—summarize the results of the evaluation of the physical science content and instructional efficacy of SciencePlus.

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 Annotated Teacher’s Edition (as in “p. 16t”). Where “T” appears as part of a page reference (as in “p. T7”), it denotes the Teacher’s Guide within the Annotated Teacher’s Edition. Where “A,” “B,” or “C” appears as part of a page reference (as in “p. 2A”), it denotes a page number as given in the evaluated materials.

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.