Linking textbooks to science learning

Science textbooks are a major source of information in science classrooms, but the quality of this instructional support is often poor. Jo Ellen Roseman examines the evidence

CURRENT EFFORTS to improve K–12 science education are based on the premise that high school graduates need an understanding of the natural world that is richly interconnected. Rather than knowing isolated pieces of information, students should appreciate how the most important ideas fit together and how to apply them in a variety of contexts. The way in which these ideas are presented in textbooks is crucial. In many classrooms, textbooks are the principal source of science content, so what they cover is what gets taught. If there are gaps in the textbooks, there are likely to be gaps in students’ learning as well.

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June 2010