professionals—a roller coaster engineer, an amusement park manager, and a physicist, for example—involved in developing and running amusement parks. Other information that students need to complete the task must be obtained from encyclopedias, textbooks, films, and other sources that they locate. Students can also engage in several interdisciplinary activities, such as determining the geographic factors that affect the success of theme parks, or writing a description of a trip to an amusement park.
The wraparound teacher's guide provides brief overview information on the module's structure and activities. It includes suggestions for guiding specific student activities, a scoring rubric for a performance assessment at the end of the unit, and a list of resources.
Prices: Teacher's guide with video, $18.00. Student book, $7.95. Classroom package, $115.00. Publisher/supplier: Addison Wesley/Longman. Materials: Available locally.
Bernie Zubrowski. Models in Physical Science (MIPS) series. White Plains, N.Y.: Cuisenaire, 1994.
Recommended grade level: 6-8. Tops and Yo-Yos contains 8 activities that help students learn about rotational motion while collaboratively building and launching tops and yo-yos. The required materials are inexpensive, familiar objects such as plastic plates and drawer knobs, so students can easily experiment with them and alter their characteristics. Among the activities, students launch and time different tops to determine the characteristics that produce different spin times. They also design their own tops to see which kinds spin longest. They investigate the relationship between weight and spin time, and they assemble different kinds of yo-yos and compare their spin times. Several of the investigations in Tops and Yo-Yos require data collection and representation.
The guide includes reproducible pages for students, directions for teachers on the assembly and use of equipment and materials, suggestions for introducing and leading the activities and for follow-up discussions, and embedded assessments. Many of the activities also include ideas for further investigations.
Prices: Teacher's guide (ISBN 0-938587-37-4), $12.50. Kit, $225.00. Publisher/supplier: Cuisenaire/Dale Seymour Publications. Materials: Available locally, from commercial suppliers, or in kit.
Robert Gardner. Yesterday's Science, Today's Technology Science Activities series. New York, N.Y.: Twenty-First Century Books, 1994.
Recommended grade level: 6-8. In Transportation, 17 activities written for students help them investigate some of the science and technology associated with different types of transportation, such as cars, trains, boats, and airplanes. Topics addressed in the unit include friction, wheels, gears, ball bearings, air pressure, levitating magnets, Archimedes' principle, and aerodynamics. Among the activities, for example, students compare the forces needed to move a wagon on wheels or on rollers. They use a bicycle and a pair of spring scales to see how changing gears changes both speed and the force one has to exert on the pedals. They also compare the forces involved in floating a block of wood and a ball of clay in water, design paper airplanes, and use a water hose to demonstrate the action of a jet engine.
Each activity includes a brief historical or science background section on the scientific discoveries of people such as James Watt, Henry Ford, and the Wright Brothers. Colorful illustrations, directions, and questions in the narrative then guide students through the activity. Although students can do most of the activities without supervision, several of them may require the assistance of adults. Some of the activities require materials such as a bike, wagon, or playground seesaw that may not be readily available. Many activities also need to be done outside.
Price: $16.98 (ISBN 0-8050-2853-6). Publisher/supplier: Von Holtzbrinck (VHPS). Materials: Available locally.
Paul C. Beisenherz and Marylou Dantonio. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann, 1996.
Recommended grade level: 6-8. Using the Learning Cycle to Teach Physical Science discusses and gives examples of a science teaching strategy—the learning cycle—that emphasizes science as a process of inquiry rather than as a body of knowledge, and uses questions, activities, and experiences to guide students in constructing science concepts on their own. The first part of the book discusses the rationale for this approach and its use in teaching science. The second part then gives examples of how the cycle can be used to teach 6 basic physical science concepts: (1) Bernoulli's principle, (2) acids and bases, (3) properties of gases, (4) expansion and contraction of gases, (5) circuits, and (6) density.
A series of between 9 and 17 short activities is given for each of the 6 basic concepts. For example, for the learning cycle sequence on circuits, students are asked to see how many ways they can make a bulb light using a battery and copper wire