Adaptive Curriculum

Article excerpt

REPORT CARD

***** = Highly Recommended **** = Recommended *** = Good ** = OK in some cases * = Don't consider

This section provides concise, original reviews of new or important hardware, software, websites, and electronic media that relate to the K-12 curriculum. All reviews are written by practicing educators who, in most cases, have used the software in a school environment. Where grouped into broad, age-appropriate categories, these categories should not be viewed as prescriptive.To facilitate "comparison shopping," these reviews are highly structured. Reviewers prepare a "report card" based on a five-star scale.

Company: Sebit, LLC, Arizona State University, Sky Song, Suite 200, 1475 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ, 85257. Phone: (480) 884-1689. Internet: www.adaptivecurriculum.com.

Price: An annual license for the entire Adaptive Curriculum online library begins at $10 per student for the average middle school with 700 students. The annual subscription fee for virtual schools is based on a defined number of active users. School and district licenses are available. A free 30-day trial is offered for preview.

Audience: Grades 6-8.

Format: Internet-based: text, animation, audio, video.

Minimum System Requirements: A computer with internet access and a web browser. The site works with Windows, Mac OS, and Linux systems.

Description: Adaptive Curriculum offers an online library of middle school math and science lessons aligned to national and state standards. The curriculum includes virtual experiments, scientific inquiry exercises, and problem-based learning.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: No installation is needed. Alogin is required for access. Access is simple and quick. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: Content is provided in more than 200 math and science Activity Objects (learning activities) that enable students to participate in interactive lessons presented at a fifth- or sixth-grade reading level.

The Activity Objects cover a range of areas, with titles such as Mendel's Experiment, The Advantages of Friction, The Properties of Bases, Physical Properties of Substances, Addition of Integers, Multiplying Fractions, Simple Interest, Park Planning Using Rational Numbers, and more. Each Activity Object includes an experiment report to track progress, an interactive virtual lab area, experiment questions, activity sheets with teacher editions, an assessment component, and a print function for all reports and activity sheets.

Each 20- to 45-minute lesson presents a single topic in easy-to-understand language geared toward middle schoolers. Students struggling with a concept taught in class will benefit from the audio and nonverbal context clues provided in these lessons.

The experiments are remarkable. In a virtual environment, students can heat metals to determine melting point, measure water solubility, test for density, and calculate mass-volume ratios. The 3D graphics are colorful and attractive and are sure to appeal to today's preteens accustomed to a fast-paced, media-rich environment.

The virtual labs are highly interactive and take place in realistic surroundings. Most lessons have activity sheets that can be printed out ahead of time. Experiment questions guide the learner through each activity. Multiple-choice assessment tests provide quick feedback on student progress.

Everything a student does can be printed with the click of a button through the print function. This feature helps in holding students responsible for independent learning.

The program includes a variety of teacher tools, lesson organization and planning options, and assessment reports and features. The assessment component tracks and reports progress and use related to content, skill development, lab experiences, homework, remedial practice, and challenge. Activities can be developed and assigned to a class, to a group, or to specific individuals. …