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Resources for Teaching Middle School Science
art, and research. They require students to locate, manipulate, organize, and analyze data. Generally, students use the word processor, database, spreadsheet, or draw/paint program to complete each activity. For example, they make a graph from a spreadsheet showing the number of endangered and threatened animal and plant species, they create an illustration of the food chain in a tropical rainforest using a paint or draw program, and they write an environmental newsletter using desktop publishing. They also identify and collect information on the 10 highest active volcanoes in the world, and they research and write a report on the superconducting supercollider.
The CD-ROM uses either Claris-Works for Macintosh or Microsoft Works for Windows. Students must know how to use these applications before they can complete the activities. All of the activities are designed so that students can conduct their research on the computer using an electronic encyclopedia or other reference source. Full-video clips and clip art illustrations are included on the CD-ROM for students to use as they create documents or reports. A list of relevant Web sites for obtaining information is provided. Students are encouraged to consult research sources such as the Internet, CD-ROM encyclopedias, books, and periodicals.
The CD-ROM comes with a teacher's guide that summarizes the goals, skills, and research requirements for each activity. The activities can be tailored for different grade levels; the time they require depends on the level of detail teachers assign.
Price: Unit, $99. (Contact publisher/supplier for complete price and ordering information.) Publisher/supplier: Educational Activities. Materials: Available locally, or from commercial suppliers.
5.84Transformations: Science, Technology and Society.
Developed by American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers [AIME] (New York, N.Y.). New York, N.Y.: AIME, 1991.
Recommended grade level: 7-8.Transformations is a series of 8 videotapes of 15 minutes each, with companion teacher's guides, designed to motivate learning and enhance science instruction in middle school classrooms. Hosted by 4 high school members of a rock-'n'-roll band, each video unit explores a major theme through a set of specific topics and connections. The videotapes are on (1) problem solving, (2) geology and mapping, (3) energy resources and the environment, (4) electronics and computers, (5) heat and electrical power, (6) microbes and mining, (7) recycling, and (8) technology and values.
Each video features a site visit to a place where young engineers and technicians explain how science and technology relate to their everyday problems. In the video on recycling, for example, the band finds itself overwhelmed by trash while trying to practice at a band member's house. The band makes 2 visits to recycling facilities, where they are hosted by a young recycling supervisor, and the band also investigates the value of recycling. Among the activities, students calculate how much solid waste they generate every year, examine different types of packaging, and construct a model landfill.
The video programs maintain a rapid visual pace, and the band members perform songs with lyrics that underscore questions raised in the unit. Each videotape comes with a 16-page teacher's guide that presents background material, summarizes key concepts, offers short follow-up classroom activities and project ideas, and lists research topics and resources such as recent book titles and organizations. Reproducible activity masters are also included.
Price: Teacher's guides, with set of 8 videos, $125. Publisher/supplier: Karol Media. Materials: Available locally.
5.85The Whole Cosmos Catalog of Science Activities.
2nd ed. Joe Abruscato and Jack Hassard. Glenview, Ill.: Good Year Books, 1991.
Recommended grade level: 5-8.The Whole Cosmos Catalog of Science Activities is an oversized book containing a collection of more than 275 stand-alone science activities, puzzles, board games, biographies, and creative arts activities that cover topics in life, earth, physical, and aerospace science, along with science and technology subjects such as computers and biomaterials. Among the activities, for example, students make spore prints, grow brine shrimp from fertilized eggs, build a sand sculpture, play pendulum games, or build a small spectroscope.
Each idea or activity includes a very brief introduction to concepts, directions for experiments or activities, and black-and-white illustrations or diagrams to guide student work. Some of the activities are abstracted or adapted from various curriculum projects, including the Science Curriculum Improvement Study (SCIS), Science—A Process Approach (SAPA), and the Earth Science Curriculum Project (ESCP), among others. All of the activities can be done with inexpensive and readily available materials.
Price: $14.95 (ISBN 0-673-16753-4). Publisher/supplier: Scott Foresman/Addison-Wesley. Materials: Available locally, or from commercial suppliers.