National Academies Press: OpenBook

Resources for Teaching Elementary School Science (1996)

Chapter: Part 3 Overview

« Previous: Part 3. Teacher's References
Suggested Citation:"Part 3 Overview." National Academy of Sciences. 1996. Resources for Teaching Elementary School Science. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4966.


Part 3, ''Teacher's References," consists of annotated lists of reference books and periodicals to which the elementary classroom teacher can turn for assistance in teaching hands-on, inquiry-centered science. The lists are as follows: "Books on Teaching Science," chapter 6; "Science Book Lists and Resource Guides," chapter 7; and "Periodicals," chapter 8.

Chapter 6, "Books on Teaching Science," includes more than 50 titles that offer guidance in learning theory and pedagogical techniques. The reference materials listed in this chapter vary from 30-page monographs to 700-page volumes. The topics covered include, for example:

  • the theory and practice of activity-based, inquiry-centered science learning and teaching;

  • classroom-tested ideas for planning, organizing, managing, and assessing an integrated guided-discovery program for science classes;

  • current issues surrounding the assessment component of science teaching;

  • indoor and outdoor activities that encourage the practice of basic science skills such as measuring, observing, and collecting and analyzing data;

  • activities that involve an interdisciplinary approach to science teaching and learning;

  • information on keeping small animals in the classroom; and

  • challenges such as the special learning needs of high-ability learners or the needs of students with disabilities in the science classroom.

Chapter 7, "Science Book Lists and Resource Guides," focuses on about 25 authoritative directories and guides. These reference works provide teachers with reviews and recommendations of books and materials, as well as information on how to select and obtain them. Among the annotated directories in the chapter are—

Suggested Citation:"Part 3 Overview." National Academy of Sciences. 1996. Resources for Teaching Elementary School Science. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4966.
  • bibliographies and reviews of publications and films for students, including lists of trade books highly recommended to satisfy the interests and academic needs of students in science and mathematics;

  • guides to science equipment and material resources;

  • guides to resources in electronic formats, including a comprehensive directory of computer software for preschool through college; and

  • directories of key personnel at organizations such as educational research centers and state and federal agencies of interest to those in elementary school science.

A final category of reference materials is presented in chapter 8, "Periodicals," which annotates 35 magazines for teachers and students. The periodicals were chosen for their excellence as instructional tools, for the quality of their articles and stories on scientific topics, for their appeal to children, and for their adaptability to classroom use. They offer current information in the sciences, ideas and activities for science teaching, and engaging reading matter for students. The annotations indicate the grade level for which each title is recommended. The periodicals listed in chapter 8 include

  • a monthly magazine recommended for use in grades 6 and above that provides articles in a wide range of scientific fields and helps teachers translate the information into classroom projects and curriculum ideas;

  • a K-8 resource with articles written by teachers, presenting creative ideas and activities;

  • a magazine for grades 3-8 that explores nature, science, and technology through short nonfiction articles with lively, colorful photographs and drawings; and

  • a monthly subject index to children's magazines for elementary and middle school students.

Chapters 6 through 8 are not exhaustive. Teachers are encouraged to keep their eyes open for new or other publications for their own lists of references. The absence of any volume or periodical from these lists is not intended as a comment on its quality or usefulness.

Insofar as possible, the current edition of a publication is annotated in part 3. However, later editions of some volumes, particularly annual or biannual directories, may have appeared after the text of Resources for Teaching Elementary School Science was completed.

Ordering Information

Prices for the books and periodicals in chapters 6 through 8 are given with the annotations. Costs of shipping and handling are not included. The addresses and phone and fax numbers for publishers of these materials are in appendix A, "Publishers and Suppliers."

Every effort was made to provide accurate, up-to-date ordering information, but readers may also wish to consult annually updated directories, such as NSTA Science Education Suppliers (see 7.21), or standard reference directories such as Books in Print at their local libraries or bookstores.

Likewise, because prices and availability may change, readers should check the prices of publications or supplies listed before placing an order. In some cases, discounts or special rates may be available to schools and educators.

Suggested Citation:"Part 3 Overview." National Academy of Sciences. 1996. Resources for Teaching Elementary School Science. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4966.
Page 132
Suggested Citation:"Part 3 Overview." National Academy of Sciences. 1996. Resources for Teaching Elementary School Science. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4966.
Page 133
Next: 6. Books on Teaching Science »
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What activities might a teacher use to help children explore the life cycle of butterflies? What does a science teacher need to conduct a "leaf safari" for students? Where can children safely enjoy hands-on experience with life in an estuary? Selecting resources to teach elementary school science can be confusing and difficult, but few decisions have greater impact on the effectiveness of science teaching.

Educators will find a wealth of information and expert guidance to meet this need in Resources for Teaching Elementary School Science. A completely revised edition of the best-selling resource guide Science for Children: Resources for Teachers, this new book is an annotated guide to hands-on, inquiry-centered curriculum materials and sources of help in teaching science from kindergarten through sixth grade. (Companion volumes for middle and high school are planned.)

The guide annotates about 350 curriculum packages, describing the activities involved and what students learn. Each annotation lists recommended grade levels, accompanying materials and kits or suggested equipment, and ordering information.

These 400 entries were reviewed by both educators and scientists to ensure that they are accurate and current and offer students the opportunity to:

  • Ask questions and find their own answers.
  • Experiment productively.
  • Develop patience, persistence, and confidence in their own ability to solve real problems.

The entries in the curriculum section are grouped by scientific area—Life Science, Earth Science, Physical Science, and Multidisciplinary and Applied Science—and by type—core materials, supplementary materials, and science activity books. Additionally, a section of references for teachers provides annotated listings of books about science and teaching, directories and guides to science trade books, and magazines that will help teachers enhance their students' science education.

Resources for Teaching Elementary School Science also lists by region and state about 600 science centers, museums, and zoos where teachers can take students for interactive science experiences. Annotations highlight almost 300 facilities that make significant efforts to help teachers.

Another section describes more than 100 organizations from which teachers can obtain more resources. And a section on publishers and suppliers give names and addresses of sources for materials.

The guide will be invaluable to teachers, principals, administrators, teacher trainers, science curriculum specialists, and advocates of hands-on science teaching, and it will be of interest to parent-teacher organizations and parents.

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