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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 physical science component.

The physical science idea set focuses on the particulate nature of matter and the kinetic molecular theory. In the Science Insights program, the material relating to these key ideas is to be found in three main chapters in the Science Insights: Exploring Matter and Energy book. Chapter 6: Properties of Matter introduces briefly the particle model of matter and describes the different arrangement and motion of particles of solids, liquids, and gases. Chapter 7: Atoms, Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures revisits the idea that all matter is made of particles, but it moves quickly to descriptions of the structure of the atom. Chapter 9: Heat presents ideas related to the kinetic molecular theory in the contexts of heat energy, heat transfer, thermal expansion, and phase changes.

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 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.