Reviewed by David Brock
AP Biology Teacher
Providing instructional choice for younger children and early adolescents is often a great challenge, but has both motivational and curricular rewards. Westphal’s book is a helpful collection of pre–made learning menus for science topics traditionally taught in middle schools.
The first part of the book contains a description of each type of menu ("meal," "Tic–Tac–Toe," "20–50–80," etc.) with the pros and cons of using that particular menu for differentiating instruction. The second part of the book then contains reproducible masters of different menus for common topics in the physical, life, and Earth sciences (such as matter, heredity, etc.)
While there is nothing totally unique about the activities in this book, the science in it is accurate, and the menus do provide meaningful instructional differentiation for the range of students most of us find in our classrooms. Every middle school science teacher needs that "go–to" resource in their classroom, for some inspiration or for the substitute folder that they know they can rely on to provide at least the hope of meaningful instruction on those days when he or she must be absent. This is that resource. For the price of a nice bottle of wine, it’s a reasonable investment.
Review posted on 1/4/2013