June 2010

I post this excerpt from a review of "Introductory Physical Science" for grade 8 & 9 for these reasons:

1) The book is rated highly, and thus worth your attention. Buy it at http://www.sci-ips.com/

The 9th edition (2010) has simplified language and incorporates force and motion.

2) Our Physical Science with Math Modeling Workshop for teachers of grades 8 and 9 uses this book as a resource. Our workshop design is, in part, an adaptation of this book to the modeling method, to make the course coherent (i.e., provide a storyline; center it around scientific models, rather than topics),

3) Since most 8th and 9th grade science teachers are underprepared in the physical sciences, they may benefit by having this textbook, especially if they take our 3-week Modeling Workshop. For dates, syllabus, and daily calendar, visit http://modeling.asu.edu/MNS/MNS.html)


Jane Jackson


The complete review is at http://www.textbookleague.org/104phys.htm

Below are excerpts copied/pasted from that website.


from The Textbook Letter (TTL), September-October 1999


    Reviewing a physical-science book for grade 8 or 9


Introductory Physical Science

    Seventh edition, 1999. 268 pages. ISBN: 1-882057-18-X.  Science Curriculum Inc.




    reviewed by Lawrence S. Lerner

About four years ago I had the pleasure of reviewing the sixth edition of Science Curriculum Inc.'s Introductory Physical Science. "This is an outstanding book," I reported in TTL, "written by authors who know what science is about, know their subject matter, and know how to teach it to 8th-graders and 9th-graders."


[Editor's note: Lawrence S. Lerner's review of the sixth edition appeared in TTL for November-December 1995, with this headline: "The Authors Are Knowledgeable, and the Book Is a Delight."]


That statement applies to the seventh edition, too, and the word "authors" is significant. The persons named on the title page of Introductory Physical Science are truly the book's authors, and they have maintained full control of its contents. Readers who are familiar with the schoolbook industry, and with the habits of the major schoolbook companies, will recognize that this is an atypical circumstance. In most schoolbooks, the lists of so-called authors are fictitious and have been devised to serve as sales-promotion features.


Introductory Physical Science has only 268 pages, so it is less than half as long as the other physical science books I have reviewed -- yet it offers far better content. Unlike those other texts, Introductory Physical Science is not bloated with gratuitous factoids, empty mentionings, environmental pieties and irrelevant sidebars.


The authors of Introductory Physical Science show the student how science is done, and they teach the student to think like a scientist. Their strategy, as I noted in my review of the sixth edition, is to take the student through a series of experiments and analyses that amount to an abridged account of the development of chemistry and physics from the mid-1700s to 1900 or so.


Comparing the Editions:

A striking experiment in the earlier edition allowed the student to make a direct estimate of the size and mass of a molecule of oleic acid. These quantities were inferred after the student measured the area of a film of oleic acid that was floating on water. In the seventh edition, the procedure has been dramatically improved: Instead of using pure oleic, the student uses a dilute solution of oleic acid in alcohol. This enables the student to obtain better results (and all the satisfaction that goes with them).


[In a few paragraphs, he makes further comparisons and notes some small errors, etc. --JJ]


These, however, are but minor matters. Taken as a whole, Introductory Physical Science is an excellent book.


The thorough, clearly written Teacher's Guide and Resource Book for the seventh edition is largely a laboratory manual, designed to lead the teacher through the experiments that appear in the student's text. This Teacher's Guide is much like the guidebook that came with the sixth edition, but the "Introduction" has now been expanded by the addition of new pedagogic information and suggestions. The teacher, whether experienced or inexperienced, will find the Guide to be a trusty and valuable companion during the planning of a course based on Introductory Physical Science.


Students who work through Introductory Physical Science and do the experiments will be well rewarded, for they will acquire a good understanding not only of the subject matter but also of the way in which science is done. I recommend this book strongly. It is the best, by a wide margin.



Lawrence S. Lerner is a professor emeritus in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at California State University, Long Beach....


The Textbook Letter is published, copyrighted and distributed by

The Textbook League (P.O. Box 51, Sausalito, California 94966)