• Chapter 5, "Multidisciplinary and Applied Science," which includes materials on widely varying topics, such as matter and energy in the biosphere, the technology of paper, and transportation systems. Materials in this chapter relate to several scientific disciplines, integrate scientific disciplines, or focus on the application of scientific processes.

The last chapter in part 2—Chapter 6, "Sources of Information on Educational Software and Multimedia Programs"—directs readers to some of the periodicals, directories, and organizations that specialize in reviewing computer software and other multimedia instructional materials appropriate for middle school science classrooms.

The extensive indexes at the end of the guide, including the index of topics addressed in curriculum materials, can help readers locate annotations on particular subjects.

The Organization of Materials in Chapters 1–5

Because instructional materials are designed to be used in different ways, the NSRC has identified three categories for classifying different types of science curriculum materials. The annotations in the curriculum chapters are placed in these three categories:

  • Core materials are substantial enough to form the foundation of a comprehensive middle school science curriculum.

  • Supplementary units often consist of a series of activity-centered lessons. These units can provide enrichment for inquiry-based science teaching but may not have the depth or focus of core curriculum units.

  • Science activity books offer a selection of ideas and activities to facilitate science learning. These materials are generally too broad in scope or specific in focus to serve as the foundation of a comprehensive science program.

The placement of materials in these three categories implies no judgment as to the quality or merit of the materials reviewed. All of the materials annotated in this guide are considered to be effective teaching materials.

The Annotations

This section provides an explanation of how the information in the annotations is organized.

  • Alphabetical arrangement of annotations by title, with entry numbers. The annotations in chapters 1 through 5 are arranged alphabetically by title in each category. In addition, each annotation has a two-part entry number. (The chapter number is given before the period; the number after the period locates the entry within that chapter. For example, the first entry number in chapter 1 is 1.1; the second entry in chapter 2 is 2.2, and so on.) The entry numbers within each curriculum chapter run consecutively through Core Materials, Supplementary Units, and Science Activity Books.

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