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Resources for Teaching Middle School Science
3.60The Tapwater Tour.
LaMotte Co. Chestertown, Md.: LaMotte Co., 1989.
Recommended grade level: 4-8. Students perform a water analysis in The Tapwater Tour, which is a test kit and "minicurriculum" for exploring drinking water. The unit is designed to be teacher-directed, but it has hands-on activities throughout. Students determine the pH of various solutions; they test water samples for the presence of chlorine, iron, and copper; and they use a soap solution to determine the "hardness" of water samples. They also summarize results in a water-quality report. Chemical test tablets and plastic bags required for the activities accompany the teacher's guide.
Prices: Complete kit, $44.50. Replacement kit, $35.00. Publisher/supplier: LaMotte. Materials: Available locally, from commercial suppliers, or in kit.
3.61Trash and Garbage: What Happens to Trash and Garbage? An Introduction to the Carbon Cycle.
Recommended grade level: 7-8+.Trash and Garbage: What Happens to Trash and Garbage? An Introduction to the Carbon Cycle is a kit designed to introduce students to the idea of the cycling of elements in nature. Working in small groups, students learn how refuse, if handled properly, breaks down and is recycled back to a usable form. In the first of 9 activities, they discuss the definitions of trash and garbage and what happens to trash and garbage. In the second activity, they match a series of black-and-white photographs with a series of captions to show what happens to trash and garbage in a real community. During the third activity, students watch a demonstration of fermentation. For the fourth activity, they use a potted plant as a starting point for a discussion of photosynthesis and the carbon cycle. They set up "mold microgardens" in jars to observe how small items of trash and garbage break down over time. Students also watch an 18-minute videotape—Common Fungi—that allows them to see life histories of common molds, and at the end of the unit they investigate what happens to trash and garbage in their own communities.
Observation of the mold microgarden takes a few minutes a day for 2 to 6 weeks; the other activities take a total of 7 to 9 class periods. Included in the kit are a teacher's guide, photographs and captions for the photo-sorting activity, the videotape, and a poster illustrating the carbon cycle. Other inexpensive materials need to be collected or purchased to complete the unit.
Price: Kit, $149. Publisher/supplier: Ward's. Materials: Available locally, from commercial suppliers, or in kit.
3.62Wading into Wetlands.
NatureScope series. Washington, D.C.: National Wildlife Federation, 1989.
Recommended grade level: K-7.Wading into Wetlands includes background information and activities for an interdisciplinary introduction to the ecology of wetlands, including salt marshes and mangrove swamps, and freshwater swamps, marshes, and bogs. Students participate in classroom and field experiences, observing flora and fauna. They engage in experiments, games, writing, art, and mathematical activities that demonstrate the unique characteristics of wetlands and their importance to wildlife and humans. Chapters usually begin with primary activities and end with intermediate or advanced activities.
Wading into Wetlands contains 20 lessons organized in 4 chapters; a fifth chapter provides art and craft ideas. Teachers may choose single activities or teach each chapter as a unit. Copycat pages supplement the activities and include ready-to-copy games, puzzles, and worksheets.
Price: $12.95 (ISBN 0-07-046507-X). Publisher/supplier: McGraw-Hill Order Services. Materials: Available locally, or from commercial suppliers.
3.63Water Wisdom: A Curriculum for Grades Four Through Eight.
Carolie Sly, Leslie Comnes, and Sandra Brislain. Hayward, Calif.: Alameda County Office of Education, 1990.
Recommended grade level: 4-8.Water Wisdom contains 20 activities through which students explore the subject of water—its importance to biological systems, its use and distribution, and its symbolic role in myth and folklore. The activities are presented in 3 instructional units: a science unit, a social science unit, and a literature unit. In the science unit, for example, students predict how much water they use in a day, keeping a log of their actual water use; they also observe algae and learn how changes in water temperature and nutrient composition can affect algae and other organisms; and they learn about the adaptive characteristics of desert plants. In the social science unit, students conduct a survey to find out peoples' attitudes about water, and they evaluate