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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 life science component.

The life science idea set focuses on the transformations of matter and energy in living things, including organisms and ecosystems. In the Science Insights program, the material relating to these key ideas is to be found primarily in four chapters in the Science Insights: Exploring Living Things book. Photosynthesis and respiration are presented in the context of cell processes in Chapter 5: Cell Processes, and again in a section on the chemistry of plants in Chapter 12: A World of Plants. The definition and role of food are addressed in Chapter 23: Nutrition, Health, and Wellness. The flow of matter and energy in ecosystems is contained in a chapter on ecology entitled Chapter 25: Organisms and Their Environment.

The other two sections of this report—the Content Analysis and the Instructional Analysis—summarize the results of the evaluation of the life 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 suffix “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.