Prather’s Pick: New book helps middle schoolers ace science |

Prather’s Pick: New book helps middle schoolers ace science

Diane Prather/For Craig Press

This week, while I was shopping for a birthday present for my sister, Darlene (Blackford), I found an intriguing science book that just begs to be opened. Darlene is a frequent presenter at teacher workshops, so I bought the book, thinking it might be helpful in some way. However, before I sent the book on its way, I checked it out.

“The Complete Middle School Study Guide: Everything You Need to Ace Science in One Big Notebook” was “borrowed from the smartest kid in class and double-checked by Michael Geisen.” The book is published by Workman Publishing (2016).

The cover has been cleverly designed to make a reader just wants to open it up. I have tried to figure out why the cover has so much appeal. Perhaps it is that the book does look like a big fat notebook. Then, it is black with green trim, and the lettering is done in white and green. Whatever it is, the book just begs to be opened.

The final pages of the book are designed to show layers of Earth, with fossils embedded within them — trilobites in the bottom layer, shells and fern prints in rock for the second layer and skeletons of dinosaurs in the top layer.

Inside, the reader finds lined pages, as in a notebook, a pleasing font and lots of color to highlight vocabulary words; important people, places, and times; and concepts. As the book begins, the narrator, “the smartest kid in class,” explains that the notebook covers the “really important stuff,” the information that is usually on the test. However, since the notebook now belongs to the reader, he or she can add other notes.

The narrator says that vocabulary words are highlighted in yellow, definitions in green and blue pen for important people, dates, places and terms. There are lots of doodles in the notebook, too.

The book is divided into 11 units, beginning with scientific investigations (including how to set up an experiment, evaluate data and write a lab report) and followed by basics in chemistry, physics, weather, the solar system and five units in biological sciences.

Each unit is made up of one or more chapters, and at the end of each chapter is a “Check Your Knowledge” page with a “Check Your Answers” page directly behind it.

I like this book a lot, and I think kids will, too. It’s a great supplementary book, with lots of appeal, to help students learn basic science concepts.

I found “Everything You Need to Ace Science in One Big Fat Notebook” in the book aisle at City Market for $14.95. Downtown Books can also order it for you.


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