Middle School Physical Science Resource Center
 

 

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Homeschool

Most of the questions that I have been responding to off-line have been from home schoolers. Obviously, there is overlap, but to avoid material that would not be of interest to others (and thus the reason for off-line responses) and yet reach more of the home schoolers, we have set up a separate option.

Q: I am a senior at the University of North Florida majoring in Middle School Math and Science. I am interested in finding out how our Education Tech Center can receive free teacher edition textbooks in Middle School Math and Science. It would help us tremendously as future educators to have these resources available in developing lesson plans; a critical task for graduation.

A: I am sorry that we can't help with books, but do suggest that you get on to the listservs of Middle Schools Math and Science groups (NSTA, e.g.) and simply ask. Your public school Book Depositories get books for evaluation and they just get stored, helping no one. After selection has been made, ask to have them donated to your Center.

Q: Do you have any specific recommendations for homeschooling situations? Force, Motion and Energy will not sell to homeschooling families (reasons understood), but are there GOOD books out there that are available to purchase by homeschoolers, as well as applicable in a homeschool environment?

A: The Website gives several recommendations; perhaps the simplest is to get Conceptual Physics by Hewitt and some of the lab/science fair books and use them for projects.

Q: I would love to see you review the textbook I am burdened with. It’s called “Spotlight Science” and is purported to be the most popular text in the UK. Sometimes the inaccuracies are so profound it makes me want to weep in despair. My middle school class and I often play “spot the contradiction”. Most of the time it is obvious to them (and they are 10-13 yrs old), so why isn’t it obvious to the authors?

A: Do you have a copy that you could send to me. I will return it after reviewing. I went to the website for "Spotlight Science" and kept getting "NOT FOUND" when I tried to read selected chapters.

Q: California is adopting new science text books from grades k-8 and I was just wondering if you know of anyone that is qualified that is in the process of reviewing these books for factual accuracy? I have looked, but have had no success.

A: I am heading up a review of about 12 texts at the 8th - 9th grade level with Barry Feierman. I have lost track of what books are being adopted in CA. Can you send me titles?

Q: I am homeschooling and the search for a physical science textbook has me pulling out my hair! Can you recommend a curriculum/textbook for 8th grade physical science? I checked into the books published by Science Curriculum Inc but they do not sell to homeschoolers, or recommend their use in homeschool. Conceptual Physical Science by Hewitt appears to be too advanced, though I could be wrong. Robinson, too expensive. Integrated Science, Book 1&2 seems recommended for lower grades. I have in my possession Holt's Science Spectrum: A Physical Approach pub.2001 but am very wary. Can you offer any insight/help?

A: What sort of environment are you and your child in and what background do you or anyone who will be helping have? The response from IPS/FME suggests that you could not convince them that you could provide the environment. Robinson is a K-12 curriculum and at $15.00 a year is not expensive. It encourages discipline. Hewitt has a lower level book as well (Conceptual Physics Fundamentals, but they are all good), which I would recommend. My site has lots of suggestions for labs.

Integrated Science, Books 1&2 are easier, but accurate. I would not recommend Holt's book except for you to get ideas from.

CPO Science is very good. Do you know someone who is good at woodwork? Do you have 24 friends willing to work the same curriculum? Another excellent book is InterActions in Physical Science.

Active Physics has lots of good ideas, but probably needs a bigger group as a base.

Q: I teach sixth grade physical science in a middle school. Two weeks ago, I was advised that the sixth grade would be screening and adopting new textbooks for next year. Help!! What do you see as valuable books/programs, etc. He currently use McDougall/Littell

A: Are there offerings? What would you like to happen? What would you like to have available? How much say do you have? Can you suggest texts to look at to whoever does the selecting? Have you looked at InterActions in Physical Science?

Q: I am looking for a good resource for homeschooling our rising 6th grader next year. He's working a couple of years above grade level, but is young, even for his grade. I read some of your suggestions and liked the looks of the Introductory Physical Science (Science Curriculum) but found that they don't sell to homeschoolers.

There is so much really awful science curriculum on the homeschooling market. If you have any suggestions, I'd be glad to hear them. My son's first choice would be either physics or chemistry as we've spent this year on astronomy and anatomy/physiology and did quite a bit of geology last year.

Online programs are hard for us because we are rural and have dial up modem at home.

A: (For the purposes of this note, we are thinking 8th & 9th Grades. John Hubisz)
Active Physics by Eisenkraft and published by It’s About Time.
Conceptual Physical Science: Explorations by Hewitt, Suchocki, and Hewitt and published by Pearson Addison-Wesley.
Conceptual Physics: A High School Physics Program by Hewitt and published by Addison-Wesley.
Foundations of Physical Science by Hsu published by CPO Science including Investigations. Free equipment.
Physics: A First Course by Hsu and published by CPO Science including Investigations.
Interactions in Physical Science by Goldberg et.al. and published by It’s About Time.
Introductory Physical Science + Force, Motion, and Energy by Haber-Schaim, et.al. and published by Science Curriculum Inc.
Physics Matters by Trefil and Hazen and published by John Wiley (May be a bit much, but good for the teacher.)
Prisms Plus by Unruh and published by Centre Pointe Learning.
Understanding Physics by Cassidy, Holton, and Rutherford and published by Springer including the Student Guide (This is a revised Project Physics, but its level has been raised.)

Q: We are planning to have a textbook for 7th grade science for next school year 2008-2009. Is there a way in which you could provide me a science textbook/activity book for 7th grade for a review and a possibly we could adapt it as a textbook for our 7th grade.

A: We do not provide any materials. We review, answer questions, and make suggestions about materials.

Q: Is a translation of FAST series available in Spanish?

A: At the present time (May 2008), FAST is only available in English.

Q: I am looking to review any free material on middle school physical science grade 8 has a series that must be at least 10-12 years old. Do you have a student and teachers edition to preview?

A: We review books and materials. We do not provide books or material nor do we sell books or materials.

Q: I just got my eyes uncrossed from reading your article on middle school text books. I was so hoping to find a some what correct text book recommendation at the end of your article and was discouraged by the lack of one. I am homeschooling my daughter (for lots of reasons) and am trying to find decent materials to teach from. (Non-religion based) Your article certainly made me question what I know or think I know! Even my daughter, studying at University of Glasgow, Scotland, who knows so much more than her poor mum, has found the article mind boggling.

A: Have you been to my Website? http://www.science-house.org/middleschool/ ?

Regardless, here are some titles that are good but different from each other in their aims. I am putting together a new review that should be out soon and it will provide some good stuff.

Books for Consideration:
(For the purposes of this note, we are thinking 8th & 9th Grades. John Hubisz)
Active Physics by Eisenkraft and published by It’s About Time.

Conceptual Physical Science: Explorations by Hewitt, Suchocki, and Hewitt and published by Pearson Addison-Wesley.
Conceptual Physics: A High School Physics Program by Hewitt and published by Addison-Wesley.
Foundations of Physical Science by Hsu published by CPO Science including Investigations. Free equipment when a classroom set is purchased.
Physics: A First Course by Hsu and published by CPO Science including Investigations.
Interactions in Physical Science by Goldberg et.al. and published by It’s About Time.
Introductory Physical Science + Force, Motion, and Energy by Haber-Schaim, et.al. and published by Science Curriculum Inc.
Prisms Plus by Unruh and published by Centre Pointe Learning.
Physics Matters by Trefil and Hazen and published by John Wiley (May be a bit much.) GOOD FOR THE TEACHER
Understanding Physics by Cassidy, Holton, and Rutherford and published by Springer including the Student Guide (This is a revised Project Physics.) GOOD FOR THE TEACHER
Also, you may want to look at the following:
“CPU materials.” http://cpuproject.sdsu.edu/
Comprehensive Conceptual Curriculum for Physics (C3P) http://phys.udallas.edu/
“Physics That Works” http://www.kendallhunt.com/index.cfm?PID=219&PGI=224
Minds on Physics http://umperg.physics.umass.edu/resources/mop/whatIsMOP/
Physics First! Review Guidelines:
Accuracy: Regardless of the level of the textbook, accuracy is most important. Even here though, there has to be some latitude. We cannot expect to introduce the most recent, most exact picture of our understanding of the topic at hand. Qualifying answers and suggesting that answers with deeper insights are yet to come is important. In fact, wonder and the notion that we do not have all the answers and that there are still many problems left to be solved should be clearly shown.
Readability: The text must be a joy to read to encourage the students to go out and read more on their own. If graphs and photos are used, make certain that they connected to the text in an integral way. “Busy” texts are more of a distraction to these students especially if there is no immediate connection to the textual material. Adults may find this “busyness” interesting, but they are already readers who have learned how to sort through the multiple means of communication. Forget readability formulas that are inappropriate for science texts anyway as the vocabulary of science almost always “looks” hard to these formulas.
These new high school students or upper level Middle Schoolers need an understanding of how to read critically and fluently, translating the meaning and purpose of text. When students reach middle and high school, the demands on their reading abilities undergo a significant shift – from primarily narrative texts to complex expository material. So how do we help them crack the nonfiction code? What can we do to stimulate their interest and improve their skills in reading at this crucial period? Compound and compound-complex sentences help stimulate the reader and they are more interesting than simple sentences that get to be boring fast. Our subject is ideal for doing this.
Age and Sex Appropriateness: There is physics all around us and we use physics principles daily. We want to take advantage of those that interest students and those that students are familiar with already to show physics’ connection with their everyday lives.
Mathematics Requirements: A primary goal of Physics First! is to get as many students as possible familiar with physics and how it is important and useful in their lives. For most students then, mathematics should be kept to a minimum and linked to their previous studies. We do recognize that there are exceptions where there might be different levels of such a course offering. All books then, should be reviewed with a recommendation on the suitability of the mathematics for the various possible curricula.

Q: I have just accepted a teaching position at a new college preparatory private school in Albuquerque, NM for low income students. I have been asked to help select the science book for the seventh grade class. After reading your site and others I have become disheartened in my search. I want the best textbook I can find for my students. The problem is that we have a small budget, so need a general science textbook versus separate textbooks for physical science and life sciences. I am leaning towards requesting the textbook, Integrated Science. You mentioned though that there are decent curricula out there for homeschooling. Are there any curricula/textbooks in the homeschooling/private school sector that you would recommend over the Integrated Science textbook?

A:I am not a fan of integrated science as it promotes an incorrect view of what science is all about in its many disciplines.

The Robinson Curriculum is a K-12 program that emphasizes student discipline to encourage learning independence. It costs just under $200 for 22 CDs. It could always be used in the background.

From your note I would, for now, recommend Interactions in Physical Science by Goldberg, et. al. and published by It's about Time.

Watch for our review that should be coming this Fall.

Q: With regard to your review of "Mousetrap Racers", how can Dr. Hubisz consider any review fair when he begins his review with "I have not read the book..."?

A: Because right up front I found a serious error that would make a favorable review difficult. Besides this was not a review of the book, but a review of the advertising for the book.

Q: How about we send you the book...the materials sent were to gauge interest in receiving an advanced copy.

We'll put one in the mail...if you feel a favorable review is difficult, that's perfectly fine with us as long as you've read the book. We'd rather have a negative review based on the book rather than the advertising.

And, we appreciate any and all objective feedback; we use it to improve our products...

A: I'll be happy to.

Q: I am homeschooling children aged 8 and 11. I have been looking at Real Science 4 Kids: Chemistry but philosophy is my field and I find it hard to evaluate the quality when I'm just looking on Amazon. Is this something you have seen and can express an opinion on? I would appreciate any suggestions.

A: I have not seen the books in the series and should not comment.

I do, however, have a serious problem with an author who is heavily into Intelligent Design and teaching the "controversy" to children.

Q: I have sent an e-mail directly to Dr. Hubisz; however, I am not sure if he prefers receiving queries via the website. I won't reproduce the entire e-mail here, except to say that it was an inquiry related to homeschooling. I can provide more details if Dr. Hubisz can let me know which is the best way to reach him.

A: I have your detailed question and will answer it after I have more time to think about it.

Q: I’m just asking a question that I need to do for class that is about physical science. umm... I’m just wondering, how is dancing related to physical science?

A: You might start with two books by Kenneth Laws: The Physics of Dance published by Schirmer Books and Physics and the Art of Dance published by Oxford University Press.

Q: I am looking for a physical science book in Spanish. Do you have one?

A: Sorry, we do not provide any books in any language. We just provide reviews of books.

Q: I am a graduate student in technical writing and am currently writing a thesis on instructional design for middle school math and science students. I am trying to find information (list etc.) of the top, most widely used, middle school math and science textbooks. I am having trouble finding anything. Could you point me to any resource that might provide this information? I've been to all of the organizations where one might think to find this information and have still come up empty. Any assistance you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

A: Those are just the books that we reviewed in our initial report given on the website. I do have a new report coming out of new books that are being used by many fewer students that are much better than the more popular titles.

Q: I'm doing an essay on what is physical science and I need to know the basics so what are the basics?

A: I am not clear as to just what you are looking for. How old are you or what grade are you in? What is the essay for?

Physical Science is the study of physical phenomena usually from the sciences of physics, chemistry, geology, astronomy, meteorology, etc. It would not include biology or anatomy & physiology, e.g.

Q: I am doing a science project based on The Science House "Muscles at Work" experiment. I am having difficulty finding scientific articles for research. Do you have any suggestions?

A: For a simple story view look, you might like to see ABC's of the Human Body published by The Reader's Digest.

Q: Your reviews were very interesting. I am currently looking for a good text for 7th grade life science and 8th grade physical science. Have you reviewed any of the 2008, 2009 editions?

A: We do not review life science texts, but http://www.textbookleague.org/ does.

I do not know your situation, but you can't go wrong with Goldberg.
(For the purposes of this note, we are thinking 8th & 9th Grades.)
Active Physics by Eisenkraft and published by It’s About Time.
Conceptual Physical Science: Explorations by Hewitt, Suchocki, and Hewitt and published by Pearson Addison-Wesley.
Conceptual Physics: A High School Physics Program by Hewitt and published by Addison-Wesley.

Foundations of Physical Science by Hsu published by CPO Science including Investigations. Free equipment.
Physics: A First Course by Hsu and published by CPO Science including Investigations.
Interactions in Physical Science by Goldberg et.al. and published by It’s About Time.
Introductory Physical Science + Force, Motion, and Energy by Haber-Schaim, et.al. and published by Science Curriculum Inc.
Physics Matters by Trefil and Hazen and published by John Wiley (May be a bit much.)
Prisms Plus by Unruh and published by Centre Pointe Learning.
Understanding Physics by Cassidy, Holton, and Rutherford and published by Springer including the Student Guide (This is a revised Project Physics.)
Projects that your teachers might like to look at:
“CPU materials.” http://cpuproject.sdsu.edu/
Comprehensive Conceptual Curriculum for Physics (C3P) http://phys.udallas.edu/
“Physics That Works” http://www.kendallhunt.com/index.cfm?PID=219&PGI=224
Minds on Physics http://umperg.physics.umass.edu/resources/mop/whatIsMOP/

Q: I'm a homeschooler in Cary and found lots of great information available on this site. Thank you!

I had a couple questions. First, is it possible to see any of this curriculum in person? As a homeschooler it's hard to see sample texts without buying them and it would be great to be able to browse/compare several at a time.

My second question is whether or not it would be possible to put together a meeting/workshop for homeschooling parents on things to look for in choosing a science curriculum.

A: I'll be happy to meet with your group. Send me a note at hubisz@unity.ncsu.edu to see what we can work out.

Q: I have an 11 yr old in 6th grade. Can you help me with a recommendation for a solid home schooling science curriculum for 7th grade? I see your recommendations for Integrated Science Book One and Book Two, as well as Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum.

A: Interactions in Physical Science by Goldberg et.al. and published by It’s About Time.

Q: I am an elementary teacher. I read Review of Middle School Physical Science Texts, John L. Hubisz, Ph.D. I am piloting Houghton Mifflin Science for elementary school. I have been very disappointed by the "thematic" nature of the textbook and units. Each unit has one or two activities relating to a general principle, and then moves onto another very different principle. Many of the activities do not support the principles discussed in the text and some of the activities are not supported by science. For example, one activity has children propelling a flat pine wood car with a rubber band, then putting an object on the car and repeating the activity. The children are supposed to see that the car does not travel as far with weight on it. Unfortunately an object at rest remains at rest stays at rest unless acted upon, so the car moves forward and the object on the car fall right off. Can you give my any advice as I pilot the program? What is your opinion of Houghton Mifflin?

A: I can't do much with what you have given me except recommend some different texts.

However, with regard to the experiment that you describe, place an elastic band around the objects added to the car (i.e. a safety belt) to illustrate the principle, and also point out why you should always use a seat belt.

Q: Does the most recent (2006) edition of the Prentice Hall Physical Science: Concepts in Action correct many of the errors your reviewer mentioned?

A: I only have Prentice Hall's Science Explorer Grade 7 designed for Texas as an Advance Copy with no date. I was only interested in the first two Units. P-H's books borrow quite a bit from each other, which was another complaint as they lost continuity. The general unfavorable comments about the approach of the text and the tremendous "busyness" of the text are still there and still hold. When the text introduces the force of gravitation it mentions that the force decreases with distance, but fails to point out that it is with the square of the distance, which is significant.

I do not have a copy of the text that you mention. We are currently working on another survey at the 8th/9th grade level.

Q: I enjoyed reading all about the errors and mistakes in the middle school science books used by NC students. It reinforces by belief that there’s a lots of people getting paid for shoddy unacceptable work. I’m retired military; if in the due course of my military job I had made mistakes as glaring or critical as those you’ve pointed out, I would have been on the streets years ago because someone would have died. I digress from the subject that ignited this letter. I have a daughter in the 5th grade. I too have seen so many mistakes and errors in her books over the years. I have sent letters to the schools but I feel it’s not nearly enough. Is there a central office with an address or website that I can send this information to? Locally, it feels like just a wash. Any guidance will be appreciated.

A: Actually, there are two reports, the one on this site that dealt with texts from around the country and the one on the John Locke Foundation site that deals only with NC.

Letters to the schools generally do not help as they rarely have any say over the textbooks that are chosen. The criteria used by states or school districts are more concerned with things other than accuracy. Even the publishers pay more for people to check for political correctness than they do for experts on the subject matter. Publishers that have set up websites for errors usually have them in places that are almost inaccessible, especially for amateur computer users. They also do not have people dedicated to maintaining the site.

In the few places where teachers select the books, the situation is much better. They often attend meetings or keep up with colleagues who direct them to the good texts, which are rarely among the bestsellers.

I hope that I will find more time to get more of these up on this site. We are just finishing a review of some new good books at the 8th-9th grade level. You could send me information or copies of the book (I will return it!) and I will make use of it.

Q: I have been considering purchasing the 2009 edition of the Prentice Hall Science Explorer set, but after reading your reviews I have serious reservations. Have you reviewed the newest editions? Are they any better than the 2000 and prior sets?

A: I have not reviewed the 2009 printing; however my general remarks remain the same. They may have corrected some errors, but the basic operating philosophy is flawed.

Look at the books on the list that I have attached. Choose one with the approach that you feel comfortable with.

Q: I am currently trying to pick a physical science textbook for my 8th grade physical science class. I am mainly looking at more inquiry based books. Two books that I am currently looking at are It's about Time's Interactions in Physical Science and CPO's Physical science book. What are your opinions of these two books? Are there other books you would recommend?

A: Either one would be a very good choice. I do recommend that you feel comfortable with your choice because the styles are different.

Q: The name of the book is "Introductory Physical Science (8th edition) with Formative Assessment".

A: Actually, they will not sell to anyone who has not demonstrated that they are sufficiently well trained to present the material. If you can't show that, you must take one of their workshops. Too many people have given the text a bad name by poorly presenting the material. It is actually one of the best on the market for accuracy.
It has nothing to do with what type of school that asks for it.

Q: What are the exact titles of the math texts you mentioned? Thanks.

My oldest son is learning disabled. That is what led me to being so active with my other boys i.e. I've already seen the system let my oldest down.

The cognitive rehab specialist that worked with my son has a treasure trove of materials and if she would like to correspond with her I can set that up for her.

My son just completed an interesting program of cognitive rehab called the Arrowsmith program. It is very strong in nonverbal less so in verbal. She can check it out at www.arrowsmith.com.

The rehab of my son’s dysgraphia was amazing.

A: I always go by authors as titles are useless, but Introduction to Mathematics, Geometry, Algebra I, & Algebra II for Brumfiel, et. al. and Modern Algebra: First Course & Modern Algebra: Second Course for Johnson, et. al.

Another Geometry by Moise & Downs is very good.

Q: I believe there's a new PS curriculum out for middle schools - see http://www.its-about-time.com/iathome2/newpub.htm. I assume you will be reviewing this and am interested in knowing when please?

A: *Interactions ...* is on the list for a review project that I started recently. I reviewed the material (CIPE) that became this book as it was being developed from cover to cover. It's excellent.

Q: We are interested in the vendor and cost of the Enhanced Science Helper K-8 CD ROM. Our interest would be for grades 6,7, & 8.

A: Try The Learning Team at sales@learningteam.org for up-to-date information.

Q: How do I get information about football under physical science?

A: Tim Gay wrote The Physics of Football and How Stuff Works has a segment on the physics of football.

Q: Hi! I am a middle schooler at West Lee Middle School in Sanford, NC. I am doing a science fair project on the conservation of momentum and I was wondering if you could tell me a little more about it and answer a few questions. If you'd be willing, just email me back anytime please.

A: Newton's Second Law says that the Impulse (Force times the time during which the force acts) is equal to the CHANGE in Momentum (mass times velocity.) So, if the net external force acting on a system is zero then the change in momentum is zero, or momentum is conserved.

If you fall from a third story window and hit a concrete sidewalk, the time during which the force acts is small and you are dead. If, however, you manage to land on a soft flower bed or an awning, the time of collision is extended and you might well survive.

It is the same principle with airbags. The tough part of this idea is that force, momentum, and velocity are all vector quantities and that complicates matter for middle-schoolers.

Q: Can you recommend a Physics Textbook for an adult who has never studied Physics?

A: Yes, any Conceptual Physics text by Paul Hewitt.

Q: Do you know where I can buy a copy of the following Middle School Science Book? Science Insights Exploring Matter and Energy, Addison Wesley, 1999?

A: Go to Amazon.com and enter "Science Insights Exploring Matter and Energy" and you will find lots of them for sale, cheap.

I also recommend going to http://www.textbookleague.org/65expl.htm and seeing the review there.

Q: I teach an Honors Level Physical Science Course at a Homeschool Resource Center in Lexington. What I am wondering is could you recommend a couple of books that would be good to get a 9th grader to read and do a book report on or a simple essay? We are going to begin doing a book report each semester. Could you recommend some good projects to do with the 9th graders also?

A: Are you looking for a textbook for the student to write about or a biography/history book?

There are several science project books recommended and physics of toys books on the site that can easily be turned into projects.

Q: I am looking for a biography/history type book.

A: A Dangerous Engine: Benjamin Franklin, from Scientist to Diplomat by Joan Dash
Nicolaus Copernicus: Making the Earth a Planet by Gingerich & MacLachlan from Oxford Portraits in Science
Michael Faraday: Physics and Faith by Russell from Oxford Portraits in Science
Enrico Fermi: And the Revolutions of Modern Physics by Cooper from Oxford Portraits in Science
The Mystery of Gravity by Parker
A Look Inside Solar Energy by Kaplan
Sound and Ultrasonics by Freeman
Energy and Power by de Camp

Q: How may I obtain the textbook entitled, The Center for Applied Research in Education Ready to use Physical Science Activities for Grades 5-12 by Mark J. Hardwerker,Ph.D.(1999)? If this book could be sent free to my school, please use one or both e-mail addresses to let me know.

A: We do not deal in the sale of books.

Q: We have a school project: An experiment on: Baking soda & water vs. blown air (from the mouth), which can blow up the balloon faster?

A: That is what experimenting is all about. You have asked the question; now you should lay out the protocol for testing each method and then carrying it out. Your results will answer your question.

Q: I have two questions:

1. Which method would you recommend to teaching middle school science an integrated approach or looking at each discipline individually over two to three years.

2. Which program or book would you recommend for home schooling a sixth grader? Note both parents have science degrees.

A: I prefer to teach each discipline separately. The way of the physicist is different from that of the chemist which is different from that of the biologist. I would try my best to keep them apart so that the student does not get confused.

I have attached a list of books all of which are quite good that are currently being evaluated in order to make recommendations to teachers. Your style will be the deciding factor.

Q: I am a home schooling parent with children soon to enter the middle school years. I wish to choose the best science curriculum available with a strong laboratory component. I have researched those programs mentioned in this web site as being reputable. Integrated Science appears to be going out of print. Intro to Physical Science from Science Curriculum, Inc. does not cover all the physical science topics I would normally associate with a good overview (no E&M, light/optics, sound, etc.). I was very favorably impressed with the samples of CPO science (Foundations of Physical Science with Earth and Space Science)(although the equipment is quite expensive for our small co-op). Are you still as impressed with this program as when you wrote your initial review?

Also, on your FAQ sheet you mention that there are some lesser known but recommended science curricula available to home schoolers. I would sincerely appreciate any and all leads and advice you could provide in this regard.

A: How large is your co-op, i.e., how many students in grades 6 through 9?

I argue against "an overview" as that is not what you should look for. What you want is a solid foundation. IPS + FM&E from Science Curriculum, Inc. provide that.

InterActions in Physical Science from www.its-about-time.com is also excellent.

I stand by my initial reviews and am adding more as I finish the texts.

Q: I need some suggestions for my students for science fair projects.

A: On our website there are many books containing possible projects recommended. See the Science Fairs material.

After you check your library and get a topic, get back to us if you run into trouble.

Q: Get me to Mars.

A: To get started on your trip go to: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mgs/ and have a good trip!

Q: I'm looking for a PreAP Physics book with lots of problems for my 8th grade AP daughter. A high school level physics book will be great too. She needs lots of practice with solving physics problems.

A: Try the Schaum's Outline Series Physics or Saxon or Jesse Wall or Jennifer Hickman, ... if you just want problem solving techniques.

Q: I am looking for a recent (2006) review of Physical Science text books. Also, it would be helpful if the articles/reviews have the date of review.

A: All the book reviews have the publication date, which is the important piece of information. We have found that schools use books for years beyond the publication date so most reviews (as well as the errors pointed out) still have a useful life. We do have a new set of reviews being carried out now with over 50 reviewers across the country. If you like, I can send you a list of titles.

As far as dating essays, I can do that and also include revision dates (or more often addenda.)

Q: RE: Search for "Bob Brown Science Circus"

We are located in the Atlanta area. Grew up in Knoxville, TN. Now have 3 boys, 6, 11 & 12 years. I love science and math, and in elementary school in the 60's I was lucky to have seen several shows by Bob Brown. One year he had Tesla coils... big and small. I bought his booklet "Take 100,000 Volts", and built a very nice coil in the early 70's. Several years later I donated it to my physics teacher's class, and do not know what became of it. I also have lost my booklet, and would love to find another one. The title did not show up on Google. I will check the libraries nest.

Have you heard of that booklet?

A: I spent 18 months at UT Knoxville (1963-65) teaching with Roger Rusk in an experimental physics program.

I always read Bob Brown's column in the newspaper. Although I had both volumes of Science Circus in hardback from Fleet Publishing, I lent one to someone and it was never returned. The volume that I have does not have the Tesla coil in it. I also have his two-volume (paperbacks from TAB) 333 Science Tricks & Experiments and 333 More Science Tricks & Experiments and regrettably it is not mentioned there either.

Q: Your books in Middle School Physical Science Resource Center have no prices.

A: There are no prices as we do not sell anything.

Q: I need to home school my rising 8th grader because he needs much greater challenges than the public school system offers. I am a journalist, not a scientist. What do I do? Would you recommend the k12 curriculum used by the Virginia public schools for its online teaching (www.k12.com)?

A: If you looked at the Website within the past week, you saw lots of comments on books suitable for your child and some for yourself to pick up a bit more than your child.

There is only one total curriculum that I recommend, but that is only because I have not spent the time to go through all the material.

I did look at a few lessons from the Virginia program that you mentioned and immediately saw the North set as the North geographic pole (correct), but no note on the fact that it is a south magnetic pole (which is why the north pole of the compass points toward it). The site did not immediately impress me because it is too full of facts.

 

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