Reviewed by David Brock
AP Biology Teacher
LaFave’s book brings into one single resource a diverse yet critical coalition of teaching tools that would be invaluable to the novice teacher who has just been assigned a physical science course. There are chapters on brain research and contemporary psychological culture that summarize the essentials of what a science teacher needs to know about how to work effectively with adolescents. There are chapters on how to develop study skills, math skills, and lab skills in order to achieve mastery for all students. And there are chapters on basic lesson planning and how to create that "oh wow!" demonstration.
This is a complete collection of "best practices" in the science education field, which is rare in a single volume work. This book is definitely for pre–service teachers in a methods field class where a good science education instructor can help the student navigate between the various topics. One chapter, in particular, needs the aid of a teacher to elucidate its content to future teachers. The author provides a detailed set of directions for "The Method" for properly teaching and doing calculations, and the author is correct: any experienced teacher would recognize and know "The Method" and its value for teaching the math of science immediately. However, the chapter on teaching "The Method" is not any more intuitively obvious to a would–be teacher than it would be to an actual student; hence, the reader of this book needs an experienced guide to join them in the journey through it.
LaFave’s book is definitely worth recommending for use in a pre–service environment. This book is needed for pre–service teachers in a methods field class where a good science education instructor can help his or her students see the connections between the various topics.
Review posted on 4/25/2012