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Middle Grades Science Textbooks: A Benchmarks-Based Evaluation

Science Interactions. Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 1998
Earth Science Life Science Physical Science

About this Evaluation Report
Content Analysis
Instructional Analysis

Science Interactions is a middle grades science program that distributes physical, Earth, and life science topics over three courses.

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 Science Interactions assesses the program’s life science component.

The life science idea set focuses on the transformations of matter and energy in living systems, including organisms and ecosystems. The key ideas about matter and energy in living things are distributed among ten chapters in the three courses. Course 1 introduces some of the ideas in the context of surveying living organisms (Chapter 8: Viruses and Simple Organisms, Chapter 9: Animal Life, and Chapter 10: Plant Life) and ecosystems (Chapter 11: Ecology). Course 2 presents the ideas mainly in the context of cell processes (Chapter 19: How Cells Do Their Jobs), but also in several other chapters (Chapter 16: Breathing, Chapter 17: Basic Units of Life, Chapter 18: Chemical Reactions). And course 3 presents only a couple of the ideas, in the context of human nutrition and digestion (Chapter 11: Fueling the Body) and organic chemistry (Chapter 10: Organic Chemistry).

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 Interactions.

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. 33s”), and “t” denotes the Teacher Wraparound Edition (as in “p. 33t”). Where “T” appears as part of a page number (as in “p. 31T”), it denotes the Teacher Guide within the Teacher Wraparound Edition. And the use of “A” or “B” (as in “p. 44A” and “p. 44B”) simply refers to a multiple-part page that is so identified in the 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