MadSci Network: Physics

Re: What is the 'recommended' physical science textbook for high school?

Date: Thu Aug 3 08:36:15 2006
Posted By: Rob Fatland, Staff, Research and Education, Freelance Science Educator
Area of science: Physics
ID: 1152563153.Ph

From two teachers I quote:


We're developing an integrated physical science course that incorporates 
Earth Science, Chemistry and Physics, and are using Hewitt's "Conceptual 
Physical Science Book".  A (possible) downside is that the book is 
divided into the three subject areas, but the reading level is good, the 
questions are at a 9th grade level, and the explanations are very 
conceptual and easy to understand.


Answer - it depends on your goals.  No textbook (or diet) is right for 
everyone, and some of them don't seem right for anyone!

Moreover, most teachers grow away from relying on the textbook to drive 
their courses as they develop more experience, deepen their own knowledge 
of the concepts, and become able to use the positive features of whatever 
text they are stuck with.  (e.g. If it has great diagrams - have students 
analyze the diagram and just ignore the text around it).

The following essay on the Science House page might be helpful to the 
teacher.  (Science House is a neat outreach program out of NC State).

Personally, I have been impressed with the conceptual approach of the IPS 
book (from Science Curriculum Inc.  
I read a few chapters as a chemist and did not catch a mistake--
not my usual experience reading chemisty texts....   It is used 
in a couple of the districts I work with.  Attending the teacher training 
for it  seems to be important in teachers' success in using the labs, 
which are the core experiences through which students come to the 
concepts -
they are not just for verification.   
"Active Physical Science" from It's About Time
( would also be worth checking out.
It is a research-based, somewhat modular curriculum and they have done 
their homework.  I don't know this volume specifically but their Active 
Physics stuff is good (it is derived from that and Active Chemistry).

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