Two New NSTA Books Make It Fun and Easy to Engage Students in Physical Science

Teachers: We know that your instructional hours are short but that your list of teaching priorities is long. If you are seeking convenient, time-saving, and easy-to-use formative assessment tools (for grades 3-12), then you need Page Keeley and Susan Cooper’s book, Uncovering Student Ideas in Physical Science: 32 New Matter and Energy Formative Assessment Probes.

This book, part of the bestselling Uncovering Student Ideas in Science series, offers the following:

  • 32 different probes, each designed to uncover what students know (or think they know) about everything from a particle model of matter to ways to describe energy.
  • Field-tested teacher materials that provide the best answers – along with distractors – which are connected to A Framework for K-12 Science Education and the NGSS.
  • Clear, everyday language used to explain content, which helps improve teachers’ own understand of what they are teaching. 
  • English- and Spanish-language activities that are immediately ready to reproduce. 

Keeley is the author of 21 bestselling and award-winning books on formative assessment, curriculum topic study, and teaching for conceptional understanding. Cooper is an assistant professor at Florida Gulf Coast University where she teaches science education. She has also worked with a faculty team for FGCU to create week-long summer STEM institute for K-12 teachers where many of the formative assessment probes developed by Keeley have been implemented. They enlisted the help of lots of teachers, science coordinators, and preservice instructors in trying out drafts of each of the probes to get their feedback, student data, and ideas, Keeley and Cooper dedicated their book to two middle school teachers, Luiza Holtzberg and Susan German, who “model what it means to uncover students’ ideas and use them as springboards for learning.” 

What student doesn’t like being told by their teacher to “see what will happen”? In Discovering Engineering in Physical Science: Case Studies for Grades 6-12, teachers have 22, real-world case studies from which to choose, each blending science, engineering, and serendipity. Middle and high school students learn that innovations were sparked by accidental observations and they are encouraged to use their natural curiosity to explore ideas for new engineering applications and products. 

Authors M. Gail Jones, Elysa Corin, Megan Ennes, Emily Cayton, and Gina Childers dedicate their book to “all the youth who remind us that the smallest things can be the most important.” 

Their case studies start with an actual scientific discovery that students explore via historical accounts as well as primary documents. Students investigate physical materials, conduct research, examine data, create models, and design new products or problem-solving ideas. 

While this book is ideal for classroom use, the content can be applied in flexible, interesting ways, making it a great resource for informal education settings too, such as STEM camps, science centers, etc. 

With engaging titles such as “Corn Flakes: Waste Not, Want Not,”; “By the Teeth of Your Skin: Shark Skin and Bacteria”; and “From Ship to Staircase: The History of the Slinky,” and many more, this book helps students understand that there’s no one way to do science and many paths to innovations in engineering. 

Spoiler alert: That smiling gecko on the front cover is more than just a pretty face!

NSTA Press’ Back-to-School gift to you is 20% off any of our newest 20 books if you order from August 12-31, 2019. Take advantage of this great offer and stock up on books that cover all grade ranges and span science disciplines. Until August 31, 2019, take 20% off our newest 20 titles when you use promo code 20BKS to purchase them online in the NSTA Science Store.

Order a copy of Uncovering Students Ideas in Physical Science: 32 NEW Matter and Energy Formative Assessment Probes. An e-book version is also available. Read a sample chapter here.

Order a copy of Discovering Engineering in Physical Science: Case Studies for Grades 6-12. An e-book version is also available. Read a sample chapter here.

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