Frequently Asked Questions
9. How much overlap is there between your middle school Physical Science text and the high school Introductory Principles in Physics?
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We do have plans to produce middle school Life Science, General Biology for high school, as well as Microbiology and Anatomy/Physiology. We have a biology text in the works but the completed product is not expected to be available before fall 2018. We are taking applications for qualified Life Science and Microbiology writers and gearing up to begin the project.
Yes we do! Read the article in our Written Resources section called “Sequencing Science and Math in 7-12th Grade.” There are a couple of helpful charts that lay out our recommended sequence.
Yes it is. But it may not feel like what you are used to. There’s something key to keep in mind: most science education is fundamentally broken in our country including much that circulates in homeschool communities. As mentioned in our Textbook Philosophy, the United States falls further behind other western nations in science and math every time a ranking is published, college freshmen are increasingly unprepared for classes, and they often require remedial coursework before they can begin credit classes. To remedy this problem requires… [READ MORE].
Many of our customers are homeschoolers, coops, and hybrid schools. We recommend that you do not use your weekly meeting time for lecturing; let the textbooks do that for you. They are thorough and lucid enough that students who give a close reading of the text will have all the information they need for the quizzes, tests, and exercises. Secondly, let the students do their exercises at home as well. Check their work for completion only, not accuracy. Then discuss their half-baked answers together in the group. Let students use this time to improve and correct their answers. Students will encounter this material twice and the exercises will be a group-sourced study tool. Use the rest of class time for 1) fielding additional questions, shoring up any lingering questions 2) conducting experiments 3) the weekly quiz (although parents can administer this at home and submit it to the teacher for grading) 4) working on lab reports or 5) other enhancement activities. We encourage lots of group activities or collaborative work during this time. For a full treatment of creating a premier science program at your school or coop, check out From Wonder to Mastery by John D. Mays
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We do have hopes of producing a line of math textbooks in the future with the same features of mastery and design that our science books have. In the meantime, math appears integrated with the science texts, in occasional newsletter articles that deal with math, and in our consulting with schools to help them implement a mastery-based math program. We do not plan to publish other subjects.
7. Why do you supply “sample answers” to verbal questions instead of just the correct answer on the resource CDs?
This is one thing that is very different about Centripetal materials from what teachers are used to. We only provide official answers to calculation questions on the Resource CDs. While it may seem a great inconvenience to teachers or graders, it is an essential aspect of mastery-learning.
One of the defunct study methods common among 6-12th grade science students today is a result of exercises and test questions that encourage students to memorize a “correct” answer and regurgitate it on demand. This happens with simple vocabulary definitions, fill-in-the-blank style questions, and other typical verbal questions that focus more on ease of grading than on student learning. The problem is, this is not real learning. It is the Cram-Pass-Forget Cycle. Students will quickly forget superficially memorized answers. Such a method designed for the teacher’s convenience. It is not designed to maximize the student’s learning opportunity.
How can educators address this?
What is needed is for students to work at it, to wrestle with the words like a blacksmith at a forge, to spend some time thinking about the answer that they put on their papers. They cannot be allowed to simply look up an answer, copy it from a friend, and so on.
Initially we did not even provide “sample answers” because of the potential for such a document to be treated as “the correct answers” and give students a too-easy resource that will lead them back to a cram-pass-forget method. But the outcry from graders and non-scientific teachers for some relief and help with grading has led us to develop the Sample Answers documents with a clear caveat on the first page:
We urge educators NOT to give students access to the Sample Answers document, at least not until students have wrestled to craft their own verbal answers.
But isn’t this inefficient? Isn’t it best for them to learn the correct answer from the outset?
No. Efficiency is not a good molder of the human mind. The best approach is for students to prepare their own half-baked answers at home, then bring them to class or the homeschool coop group. In the group, together they discuss their answers. Together they develop a list of better answers that is crowd-sourced, hammered out together in community, with appropriate guidance from the teacher.
What about the daily homework grade?
In the Novare mastery-learning paradigm, homework is only graded for completion, not accuracy, if even that. A teacher can do this quickly with a glance at each paper. When the students begin to realize that they are not receiving a grade for accuracy, the motivation to cram, steal, copy, or cheat is removed. (After about 9th grade, there should be NO grade for homework.) There is no more jumping through hoops to get a grade. There is only the work of learning to be done, and the document they prepare together in class is a study aid of material they have now encountered repeatedly. They arrive at good answers so they can perform on the quiz, not so they can get a good daily grade on homework.
Centripetal Press publishes non-religious or ‘secular’ curriculum. Our primary markets are public Charter Schools, secular private schools, and homeschoolers who desire excellent science curriculum without religious references.
Centripetal Press is an imprint of Novare Science & Math, LLC, created to serve the customers that appreciate the Novare curriculum and mastery-learning methods but preferred a faith-neutral curriculum. If you are looking for the same excellent science curriculum for a faith-based educational context, please check out the Novare website.
9. How much overlap is there between your middle school Physical Science text and the high school Introductory Principles in Physics(IPP)?
- The math content is more difficult. Physical science incorporates pre-algebra math skills but not until the spring semester. Students using IPP should have be concurrently enrolled in at least Algebra I.
- Exercises are more challenging in IPP.
- Chapters with similar titles go farther and deeper into the subject in IPP.
- Physical Science includes two chapters that get away from physics and deal with philosophical questions such as “What kind of knowledge does science give us” and “How do we know things.” IPP spends much less time on these sorts of issues to devote the school year to cover more physics material.
- IPP includes two optional chapters (explained in the introduction) with more demanding mathematical requirements for cases where the book is used with more advanced or higher-grade students: chapter 8 – Pressure and Buoyancy and chapter 13 – Geometric Optics. These two chapters are normally skipped by 9th grade students.
- High school students are expected to do more involved experiments and write full lab reports from scratch, unlike middle school students.
Because there is a degree of conceptual overlaps between the two texts, we usually recommend physical science in 7th grade, followed by Earth Science in 8th, and Physics in 9th for standard track students.