Reviewed by Ralph Peterson
More Everyday Science Mysteries is even better than the first one. It embeds inquiry experiences into stories that elementary students will enjoy. They are much like the stories that students this age love to read or hear read to them, featuring children, families, and animals—except they lack the final answers. These contexts not only make the problems authentic but, as the author suggests, they help students to care about science. I like the stories in this addition better than the first, and I really liked the first.
There are five stories each in the areas of Earth, life, and physical science. I was impressed by the attention given to scientific detail in the introductory sections. The book is well-written and well edited. For each area there is a coherent content review for teachers, correlations to the National Science Education Standards and other NSTA publications (such as Curriculum Topic Study Guide and Uncovering Student Ideas in Science, Volumes 1, 2, and 3). There are also suggestions for using the stories at both lower and upper elementary/middle school levels.
Teachers will especially love the section called "Don't Be Surprised" for each story. One of the secret reasons many teachers hesitate to open their classrooms to true inquiry is fear that something will come up (either a question or an experimental result) that they won't be able to explain. These sections will provide "Aha" moments to even veteran teachers, as they explain misconceptions students might harbor or questions that may arise during the stories and related explorations.
I teach high school and the stories may seem too elementary for high school students, but the concepts are not. You can use the same stories or re-write them to a higher level if needed. You will also find that high school students have many of the same misconceptions as younger students.
This collection provides a good source of examples for teachers to use to enrich content. Even elementary teachers with limited science backgrounds should be able to use the book and improve science education in their classrooms. I liked the suggestions for both younger and older grades. This book would be a great resource in any elementary classroom. It's also a good reference for teachers at this level.
Review posted on 5/26/2009