draws on the teaching and writing of high school physics teacher and science educator Jim Minstrell (for more information, visit http://www.facetinnovations.com).

Chapter 4


1 National Research Council. (1996). National science education standards. National Committee on Science Education Standards and Assessment. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.


2 American Association for the Advancement of Science. (1993). Benchmarks for science literacy. New York: Oxford University Press.


3 Schmidt, W., Wang, H., and McKnight, C. (2005). Curriculum coherence: An examination of U.S. mathematics and science content standards from an international perspective. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 37, 525-559.


4 Much more on this learning progression can be found in Smith, C., Wiser, M., Anderson, C.A., and Krajick, J. (2006). Implications of research on children’s learning for standards and assessments: A proposed learning progression for matter and atomic molecular theory. Measurement: Interdisciplinary Research and Perspectives, 4.


5 This and the following two cases are based on an actual program, the Investigators Club, developed and researched with funding from the Spencer Foundation.


6 This case is based on Sohmer, R., and Michaels, S. (2007). The Investigators Club: An alternative to textbook science. In Voices in Urban Education, 14(winter). Providence, RI: Annenberg Institute for School Reform. For more information and downloadable videos of the Air Puppies, visit http://www.investigatorsclub.com.


7 Given the age and experience of his students, Mr. Figueroa made a pedagogical decision to avoid distinguishing “weight” from “mass.” He recognizes that mass is the correct scientific term to refer to the amount of matter something contains and that weight is the measurement of the pull of gravity on an object. Mass is a universal measurement, whereas weight changes with location. His children will learn these distinctions in subsequent years of instruction. However, because his children used the term weight and his goal was to help them understand that weight (or mass) can be measured in more precise ways than sense of feel, he chose to use weight.


8 For some teachers, two volleyballs and a bicycle pump will not be so easy to come by. The activity can be done with balloons as well. In this case, the teacher places two uninflated balloons on a pan balance and adjusts the scale so that they balance. With balloons, the demonstration is a bit more complex because the size of the balloon with air expands so dramatically and creates additional issues relating to air resistance. The inflated balloon will (as the children will likely point out) fall more slowly than the uninflated balloon, even though it is indeed heavier.


9 Smith, C., Maclin, D., Grosslight, L., and David, H. (1997). Teaching for understanding comparison of two approaches to teaching students about matter and density. Cognition and Instruction, 15(3), 317-393.

Chapter 5


1 This chapter draws on work by Cathy O’Connor and Sarah Michaels in “Accountable Talk: Classroom Conversation That Works” (3 CD-ROM set), Institute for Learning, University of Pittsburgh. (For more information, visit http://www.instituteforlearning.org.)


2 Chapin, S., O’Connor, C., and Anderson, N. (2003). Classroom discussions: Using math talk to help students learn: Grades 1-6. Sausalito, CA: Math Solutions.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement