Worth Checking Out: In Science, Inquiry-Based Investigations

Numbers of Essential schools have selected one of the new inquiry-based science texts, many of which were developed with National Science Foundation funding; but other teachers prefer to adapt units from different texts or use modules or activity kits from various suppliers. Some from each category follow, on the recommendation of CES member schools or Centers:

Active Physics, high school curriculum emphasizing investigations in real-world contexts. (See page 1.) (It’s About Time,  914-273-2233  914-273-2233 ; http://www.its-about-time.com/AP1a.html)

Insights in Biology, high school units focusing on inquiry and process skills including investigation and analysis, modeling, connections, and a variety of teaching and assessment methods. (Kendall/Hunt,  800-542-6657  800-542-6657 )

PRIME Science, for grades 6-10, a context-based, activity-driven science program integrating biology, chemistry, earth and space science, and physics, with each major subject revisited and extended in every grade. Developed with NSF funding at the University of California, Berkeley, with the University of York, England. (Kendall/Hunt,  800-542-6657  800-542-6657 )

ChemCom, an alternative high school chemistry course emphasizing chemistry in the community; more organic chemistry, biochemistry, industrial, and environmental chemistry and less physical chemistry. Comparable courses in biology and earth science are in development. (Kendall/Hunt,  800-542-6657  800-542-6657 )

Event-Based Science (EBS): Earth Science. These inquiry-based middle-school curriculum modules use readings, media reports, and role-playing as students investigate events like oil spills, epidemics, fraud, hurricanes, volcanos, and the like. (Dale Seymour Publications,  800- 872-1100  800- 872-1100 ; Web address: www.mcps.k12.md.us/ departments/eventscience)

Science Education for Public Understanding Program (SEPUP). These year-long middle- and high-school courses supply activities and materials to investigate how science and technology interact with people and the environment. (Addison-Wesley,  800-552-2259  800-552-2259 )

Foundations and Challenges to Encourage Technology-based Education (FACETS). These 24 middle-school modules integrate life, physical, and earth science; developed by the American Chemical Society with NSF funding. (Kendall/Hunt,  800-542-6657  800-542-6657 )

Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS) includes more than 50 teachers guides and handbooks for preschool through grade 10, comprising activity-based units designed to teach key science and math concepts. (Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley, CA; tel.:  510- 642-7771  510- 642-7771 ; Web address: http://www.lhs.berkeley.edu/)

Working to Learn, a series of high-school-level projects creating closer links between science, technology, and work (TERC, 2067 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge MA 02140; tel.:  617-547-0430  617-547-0430 ; Web address: http://wtl.terc.edu/ About_WTL.html); and Investigations, elementary-level inquiry-based modules (Dale Seymour,  800-872-1100  800-872-1100 ).

A Portable Action Lab, a guide to creating integrated projects involving high school students in health care careers; six examples of actual projects. (Jobs for the Future, 88 Broad Street, Boston, MA 02110; tel.:  617-728-4446  617-728-4446 ; www.jff.org)

For guides to evaluating science curriculum, write the National Science Resources Center, Arts & Industries Blgd, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560.