Elementary Earth and Space Science Methods
Ted Neal, University of Iowa
Copyright Year: 2019
Publisher: University of Iowa
Conditions of Use
This text has been updated and the new title is: Science for Scientifically Literate Citizens." The body of the work has been expanded and is organized by science core ideas bucket: biology, chemistry, physics, space science, earth science, and... read more
This text has been updated and the new title is: Science for Scientifically Literate Citizens." The body of the work has been expanded and is organized by science core ideas bucket: biology, chemistry, physics, space science, earth science, and climate science. These chapters connect the core ideas explicitly to the Next Generation Science Standards for grade K-8. The text has an adequate glossary. The final two chapters, “Course Materials and Pedagogy” and “Science Teaching” are very short and underwhelming. This text would not be helpful as a text about science teaching pedagogy. This book is best used as a review guide for teachers studying for the elementary education science Praxis test or as a resource guide for teachers who need a quick refresher about disciplinary core science ideas before they teach them in their classrooms.
The science content in this text is accurate and error-free. The science teaching and pedagogy material is average. There is some mention of the importance of three-dimensional science learning, but this text should not be used as a science pedagogy text. Its strength is in its clear and straightforward description of disciplinary core science ideas with links to external resources, such as videos, that discuss the core science ideas in more multimodal ways.
The content is up-to-date and aligned with the NGSS science standards for K-8. The content focuses on core science ideas as understood from traditional scientific perspectives. The text is written and arranged in a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement.
The text is written in straightforward, accessible prose. The authors define key academic science vocabulary terms within the text or in pop-up windows that you can access by hovering the mouse over the term.
The text is mostly internally consistent. Key sections included across each chapter include: big ideas and big questions, reflections and additional resources, vocabulary, examples, teacher talk, and resources. Additionally, most chapters include connections to the NGSS science standards for grades K-8. Some chapters include formative assessments and practices quizzes. Unfortunately, not all of the quizzes are active.
The text is easy to divide into smaller sections that can be assigned at various points across a course. The text is divided into appropriate subheadings and sections. Some resource links are provided as hyperlinks and others are included as full website addresses that can be copied and pasted.
The text is presented in a logical, clear manner. The main chapters are organized by science bucket, with additional chapters focused on Next Generation Science Standards, course materials and pedagogy, and science teaching. Each chapter contains call-out boxes with big science ideas and big science questions, connections to the NGSS standards and learning progressions from Kindergarten-8th grade, and ‘Teacher Time Out’ sections with classroom formative assessments and interactive videos and activities that teachers might use in their classrooms.
The interface through the online Pressbooks website is straightforward. It is easy to navigate between sections. The resource presents formative assessment quizzes at the beginning of some sections and practice quizzes at the end of each section for students to check their understanding. Students receive immediate feedback on their responses - for incorrect answers, they are directed back to the relevant section of the text. Unfortunately, most of the end-of-section practice quizzes are unavailable.
The text contains no grammatical errors.
The text does not have overtly culturally insensitive or offensive material. The content is very much focused on core science ideas, and is generally devoid of the human aspects of science. The genetics module includes two labs that need customizations to make them more culturally sustaining before they are used in classrooms: “Baby Making Lab” and “Nature v Nurture.” The module about climate science does not include much information about humans’ role in climate change. This section could be strengthened.
Connections to NGSS. Really liked how you could click on a subject/topic per chapter and immediately get a list of academic vocabulary for that unit of study written in easy, concise language and the connected standard. The author even breaks... read more
Connections to NGSS. Really liked how you could click on a subject/topic per chapter and immediately get a list of academic vocabulary for that unit of study written in easy, concise language and the connected standard. The author even breaks down common misconceptions like difference between climate and weather. The standards are clearly listed and the author indicates what kids should know related to that standard by the end of specific grades.
The information seems accurate and unbiased. The only chapter which some might find controversial are the sections on climate science. The authors give a lot of pertinent and important information about global warming and the impacts of humans on earth science. Climate science deniers may take issue with some of the factual information provided.
The information on climate change and earth science deeply connects to global issues currently faced. Connections to capitalism and social justice anchor this text to current and future events that will impact the students and teachers who utilize this text.
This is a well written text, easy to follow, nicely organized, terminology written in concise and understandable language. Videos and links are helpful resources to supplement learning.
Terminology used across the text is consistent.
The authors did a great job organizing the book by science topic/standard. Each chapter is broken into subtopics and each topic/subtopic begins by addressing important background knowledge and academic language.
Well organized by standard and science topic. Quick links to the topic of your choice.
Easy to read images and charts, links to chapters, videos and other resources worked.
I found no grammatical errors.
Very few images of people, global connection to climate change and impacts on human and animal life included. Nothing culturally insensitive or offensive.
As a professor who teaches Elementary Science Methods and a former elementary school teacher, I found this text extremely easy to use, user friendly and helpful. As a busy elementary teacher, I wish I would have had a resource like this, it would have saved me hours of research!
This text covers many key ideas in physical science that an elementary teacher needs to be familiar with. The glossary is comprehensive. Lesson ideas are also included but very limitedly. Elementary and middle school NGSS standards are noted,... read more
This text covers many key ideas in physical science that an elementary teacher needs to be familiar with. The glossary is comprehensive. Lesson ideas are also included but very limitedly. Elementary and middle school NGSS standards are noted, but all activities suggested are for elementary. Some key ideas and misconceptions are highlighted in separate boxes, but I would welcome more. History of science ideas discussed including contributions by diverse groups. Nice mix of basic science concepts, unusual phenomena, and current science.
The science content for the most part appears accurate. However, there were a couple of assessment questions and key takeaways that I felt were misleading.
The content did appear to be up-to-date. However, I did get an error message trying to access some of the assessments and the guide to the final film.
I felt the text excelled in this area. The content was written in a way that made the science more accessible for preservice elementary teachers.
There is some consistency. All key vocabulary is in bold and hyperlinked to the glossary. Also each chapter includes NGSS standards.
But, while the author(s) clearly attempted to establish consistency, this could be improved. For instance, the introduction said that NGSS standards would be in blue boxes, but they were not. Sometimes key take-aways were labeled, and sometimes they were not. The color system for boxes in general seemed random.
The first section lists Pendulums as the first chapter, while Magnetism is actually first.
The beginning chapters have lesson ideas, but the later chapters do not. Some chapters say that there are lots of lesson ideas and list a name of someone who will include them, but they are not included.
The text is well divided into easily accessible pieces.
There was a whole chapter related to Climate Change and Iowa that seemed a little too specific. There were also references to a specific course I assume is taught by a specific faculty member.
Topics are well organized and presented in a logical fashion.
While graphics and images embedded in text were high quality, some links were broken. Also, in at least two places there were key vocabulary words in black bolded text on a dark purple background. There was not enough contrast to see these words easily.
Text was grammatically correct.
A variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds were used as examples.
I really appreciated the interactive nature of this textbook, with assessments, simulations, and videos. I can see it being a useful tool for pre-service teachers to refresh or learn basic physical science concepts appropriate for the elementary classroom.
The brief introduction and introductory video are welcoming and encouraging. The book references NGSS and is aligned well with NGSS. The contents index is effective and there is a glossary at the end. However, it would be helpful to have them... read more
The brief introduction and introductory video are welcoming and encouraging. The book references NGSS and is aligned well with NGSS. The contents index is effective and there is a glossary at the end. However, it would be helpful to have them hyperlinked in the text (instead of depending on clicking the Contents menu, or the next buttons at the bottom).
The science content is accurate. The examples provided help to illustrate the concepts well.
The science content is up to date, but the way it is presented may become obsolete within a short period of time. The various videos embedded throughout the text are very helpful, but will require monitoring to ensure that they remain available on YouTube.
Each section includes a link to a "formative assessment" which takes the reader to a Google Form. This method might work for students who are studying under the instructor who created the original Google Forms. However, students engaging with this text outside of that instructor's class will not be able to get a copy of their answers, and other instructors do not have access to those forms. The embedded check questions work better for assessing student learning as they work through the content. The practice quizzes that provide immediate feedback also work well.
The text is written and presented in clear prose, and all terminology is well-defined. However, improved organization would help to make the concepts more clear and clarify how readers should engage with the text. For instance, it is unclear whether the formative assessment should be completed before, during, or after going through the content.
There is some consistency across sections (formative assessment at top, ending with NGSS performance standards). However, the sections would benefit from greater consistency in structure, such as Key Takeaways for every section always in the same place. The introduction stated that NGSS would be in a blue box, but that was not the case for the first section (Physics). Each section seems to use the colored boxes a bit differently, which makes it more difficult for the reader to follow the text.
The book is divided into four main sections, with sub-sections under each. These clear divisions make it easy to assign the book at different points and to reference the text in a variety of orders. The sub-sections use headings, bolding, colors, and boxes to divide up the text.
Most of the topics are presented in a relatively logical fashion; however, there are some sections that are more difficult to follow. The concerns mentioned under consistency also apply to organization. The text would benefit from a more consistent organizational structure applied across all sections.
Most images and videos displayed well, but some require updating. Differences in organization and use of color boxes may distract or confuse the reader.
The text appears to be free of grammatical errors.
The text is focused mostly on science, as opposed to science methods. There were some missed opportunities to include examples that would bring in the socio-cultural aspects of science, as well as how to teach these science concepts to diverse learners.
This book is a wonderful example of how instructors can partner with students to create OER for future students taking a course. This book seems to be created for a specific course at a specific school. Aspects of the content may be useful to other instructors, but the interactive elements (formative assessments) are much more meaningful for the students studying under the instructor who owns those Google Forms. I admire the extensive use of multimedia, and the connection to NGSS. However, there are definitely significant improvements to be made in terms of organization, clarity, and greater connections to the classroom.
This text is aligned with Next Generation Science Standards and Iowa State Curriculum Frameworks. Both the index and glossary are clear and organized. I wish they were hyperlinked into the text. read more
This text is aligned with Next Generation Science Standards and Iowa State Curriculum Frameworks. Both the index and glossary are clear and organized. I wish they were hyperlinked into the text.
The content is accurate and aligned with elementary science standards.
Information is linked to NASA and other reputable research-based resources.
This text is written from the student-teacher perspective, with an eye toward an elementary-age child as an audience. It offers excellent balance between text, graphics, images, and videos.
Each chapter offers a consistent design that offers clear vocabulary definitions and key take aways.
This text can easily be used as a whole, or for sections. The inclusion of videos within the on-line text allow for ease of classroom discussion or review material for student teachers.
Each chapter is broke into clear and easily navigable subchapters.
Some links are no longer available and require updating. Videos are not 100% accurately close-captioned. The text needs to be vetted for inclusion and accuracy of alt text.
I found no issues with grammar.
The content of this text focuses strictly on science. There are multiple opportunities to enhance and expand this text to connect science to people. For example, significant expansion can be added on in the Global Climate Change section to link science to socioeconomics.
I teach a 200-level introduction to teaching and learning course for future elementary school teachers. My students contextualize the science of learning through an exploration of teaching through the content of the curriculum frameworks. The Creative Commons license allows for sharing and adaptation- so, I and my students can easily adapt this text for use with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. We can also add content through the lens of open pedagogy. The text includes practice quizzes for future teachers to help them jog their memories of content. It also includes sample formative assessments that serve as sample exit tickets or "do now" assignments. I will use this text as a course supplement to help future teachers learn or relearn content, develop teaching and learning strategies in sciences, add more sample formative and summative assignments, and analyze the content and formation of textbook material while vetting for universal access of the content.
Table of Contents
- I. Physics
- II. Space Science
- III. Earth Science
- IV. Climate Science
- V. Course Materials and Pedagogy
About the Book
We created this book to help you as both a college student and a future teacher. Dr. Ted Neal asked us to help him create this resource from the perspective of students who have taken Science Methods II–what would we want in a textbook for this course? With this in mind, we have gathered and created resources to help you better understand science and feel confident in your abilities as a future teacher.
This book is divided into five parts which align with the Science Methods II course:
- Space Science
- Earth Science
- Climate Science
- Course Materials and Pedagogy
Within each part, the material is broken down into smaller chapters. Here you will find written explanations, video links, glossary terms, key takeaways, and practice quizzes to help you understand the material. This book is designed to be a flexible resource; use it as much or as little as you need throughout the course.
About the Contributors
Ted Neal, University of Iowa