Making Sense of Science: Matter for Teachers of Grades 6-8

By Texley, Juliana | Science Scope, Summer 2013 | Go to article overview

Making Sense of Science: Matter for Teachers of Grades 6-8


Texley, Juliana, Science Scope


Making Sense of Science: Matter for Teachers of Grades 6-8

By Kirsten R. Daehler, Jennifer Folsom, Mayumi Shinohara, and Jennifer Mendenhall. (2011.) 656 pp. $249.95. WestEd Publications. San Francisco. ISBN: 9781938287022.

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At first glance, this pair of volumes may seem intimidating--especially for the elementary- or middle-level teacher who has suddenly come face-to-face with the strengthened physical science standards in both the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards. It is described as a semester-long professional development course, and it certainly could be that. The authors point out that the material is teacher centered, collaborative, rigorous, and standards based, focused on both learning and teaching with recognition of metacognition. But most importantly, the authors have tried to produce a guide that is "satisfying, worthwhile, and fun." That's why this compendium of methods and materials, along with its Facilitator Guide, has the potential to be much more--a very valuable reference for teachers who couldn't find the time to take a formal course or the core of a discussion group.

For each of five content areas ("Properties of Matter," "Particles of Matter," "Changes in Matter," "Atomic Structure," and "Matter in Action"), the book offers extremely practical information on both content and methods. It also provides a guide to looking at student work, including mental models, learning gaps, and how to analyze and modify tasks based on how a teacher is informed by assessment. …

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