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AAAS  :: Project 2061  :: Textbook Evaluations

Middle Grades Science Textbooks: A Benchmarks-Based Evaluation

Science Insights. Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1996 and 1997
Earth Science Life Science Physical Science

About this Evaluation Report
Content Analysis
Instructional Analysis

The Science Insights program for science at the middle grades level distributes physical, Earth, and life science topics across the middle grades.

This 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 Science Insights assesses the program’s Earth science component.

The Earth science idea set focuses on the processes that change the surface of the Earth. In the Science Insights program, the material relating to these key ideas is to be found primarily in six chapters in the Science Insights: Exploring Earth and Space book. Chapter 4: Time and Change introduces the history of the Earth and its geologic time scale. Chapter 5: Plate Tectonics introduces ideas about plate tectonics. Chapter 6: Movement of the Crust, Chapter 7: Earthquakes and Volcanoes, Chapter 11: Weathering and Soils, and Chapter 12: Forces of Erosion present the processes that shape the surface of the Earth, including mountain formation, earthquakes, volcanoes, and weathering, as well as erosion by wind, water, ice, and gravity.

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

In both sections, the within-the-text page references to the evaluated materials have been clarified by appending letter suffixes to the cited page numbers: “s” denotes the Student Edition (as in “p. 53s”), and “t” denotes the Teacher’s Edition (as in “p. 53t”). In some instances, both materials are cited (as in “p. 53st”). In addition, letter prefixes and suffixes are used on some pages in the Teacher’s Edition. The prefix “T” is used for a set of pages at the front of the book (as in “p. T–6,” “p. T–7,” etc.). The suffixes “A” and “B” designate multiple-part pages (as in “p. 208A,” “p. 208B,” etc.).

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.