Reviewed by Thomas Brown
Extreme Science is a terrific new book that allows students to develop a range of quantitative proficiencies. The book presents a variety of activities that can be used to strengthen skills in a number of areas, from estimation and modeling to the surface-area-to-volume relationship. Because the mathematics is presented in a science context, these ideas are ideal for the development of integrated programs.
One strength of this book is that the activities are applicable to all scientific disciplines. The authors provide a comprehensive introduction, outlining the importance of these process skills. The book’s structure is clearly designed to be easily used by any teacher, experienced or novice, and could be used by teachers from middle school through high school.The book starts off with activities designed to help students understand the different scales that exist in science.
The authors preface each activity with a brief overview of the objectives, process skills that will be developed, and the activity's estimated duration. They challenge students in interesting and fun ways. Each activity comes with student handouts that are relatively simple to reproduce and uses easy-to-obtain materials as well as the appropriate teacher resources to make it trouble-free to implement. The book's remaining sections cover topics such as powers of 10, estimation, surface area to volume, and how behavior changes with scale. These sections are organized in a manner that helps to build student confidence in the material as the teacher works from the simpler activities to the more complex ones. They also give ideas for extending each activity as well as possible questions that could be used to evaluate student understanding. Finally, the authors provide references throughout the book that allow teachers to explore the topics in even more depth.
The activities could be used with students at both the middle and high school levels and could be used throughout any science curriculum to strengthen essential process proficiencies. They could be incorporated into the specific content of various curricula in order to show students the importance and relevance of mastering these skills. This book would be a superb resource for teachers looking for opportunities to help students understand some of the essential, yet more challenging, skills needed to be successful in science. Its format allows it to be used quickly and efficiently by teachers across the spectrum of experience as well as in multiple disciplines.
Review posted on 7/23/2009