Reviewed by David Tumbarello
Middle School Teacher
Packed with hands-on science activities, this NSTA journal collection is a testament to the way science can engage students with little or no expense. Linda Froschauer, former NSTA President and editor of Science and Children, hand picked these lessons and articles for their practicality.
The lessons fall into five categories, including sections on student-created constructions, teacher constructions, low-budget teaching strategies and activities, projects that can be adapted to stretch any science budget, and a section regarding resources and funding for the frugal science class. Every contribution is written by science teachers who share proven activities that worked successfully in their classes.
Authors include procedural steps as well as diagrams and pictures to illustrate procedures and finished products. They show how teachers can use common, inexpensive materials to make learning concrete and fun. For instance, soy sauce, gummi bears, and maple seeds help teach lessons in liquid density, genetics, and form and function. As an additional bonus, the last section contains articles that describe ways a science teacher can muster resources (even expensive ones!) from the community or internet.
Although the quality of the articles is high, not every article lists how the work done by students follows the National Science Education Standards. Nevertheless, this collection provides a rich spectrum of science activities that will engage students and be friendly to the science teacher’s budget. With science budgets being tight, every classroom teacher can benefit by learning how to use common materials to maximize the science experience while minimizing cost.
Review posted on 6/22/2010