This week, the Association of American Publishers PreK–12 Learning Group announced the year’s top learning resources, its 50th year of providing this service to the education community. The 2016 REVERE Awards Finalists include resources from PreK to 12, from print to electronic, and from classroom to “beyond.” Among the impressive and diverse list of Finalists in this year’s competition are eight publications by the National Science Teachers Association. Finalists received the highest ratings from a corps of judges composed of professional educators and publishing-industry experts.
NSTA Press’s book Argument-Driven Inquiry in Life Science: Lab Investigations for Grades 6–8, by Patrick Enderle and colleagues, is a Finalist for Supplemental Resources in Science this year. The goals of science education today include helping students not only understand important concepts but also learn to do science. The Next Generation Science Standards emphasize that students need to understand disciplinary core ideas, be aware of seven crosscutting concepts that span the disciplines of science, and learn how to participate in eight key scientific practices to be proficient in science. One increasingly popular way to knit all these elements together is argument-driven inquiry, an innovative approach to lab instruction and the focus of this book of laboratory investigations in life science for middle school. The emphasis in these engaging labs is on argumentation—the process of proposing, supporting, evaluating, and refining claims in the science classroom. This book is part of the growing Argument-Driven Inquiry Series.
In the category of Instruction and Classroom Practice, AAP named Teaching for Conceptual Understanding in Science, by Richard Konicek-Moran and Page Keeley among the Finalists. The book is an engaging combination of deep thinking about teaching and learning for understanding; field-tested, classroom-ready strategies that support conceptual understanding in grades K–12; and personal vignettes with lessons for all educators. Konicek-Moran and Keeley guide teachers in how to really think about “the major goal of science education in the 21st century”: to help students understand science at the conceptual level so they can see its connections to other fields, other concepts, and their lives. Konicek-Moran is author of seven additional books with NSTA Press in the Everyday Science Mysteries Series. Keeley has authored 11 books with NSTA Press in the Uncovering Student Ideas in Science Series.
Honored in the category of Specific Learning Populations this year is NGSS for All Students, edited by Okhee Lee, Emily Miller, and Rita Januszyk. Through rich case studies, Lee, Miller, and Januszyk vividly illustrate research- and standards-based classroom strategies to engage seven diverse demographic groups in science learning: economically disadvantaged students, students from major racial and ethnic groups, students with disabilities, English language learners, girls, students in alternative education, and gifted and talented students. The case studies span all grade levels and science disciplines.
Two more NSTA Press Finalists in the Subject Areas category are The Power of Questioning: Guiding Student Investigations, by Julie V. McGough and Lisa M. Nyberg, and Solar Science: Exploring Sunspots, Seasons, Eclipses, and More, by Dennis Schatz and Andrew Fraknoi.
In The Power of Questioning, McGough and Nyberg invite grades K–6 teachers to nurture the potential for learning that grows out of children’s irrepressible urge to ask questions. The book’s foundation is a three-part instructional model grounded in questioning, investigation, and assessment. To bring the strategies to life, the authors provide vivid pictures as well as links to special videos and audio recordings direct from an elementary classroom in all its questioning and tumultuous glory.
In Solar Science, Schatz and Fraknoi provide grades 5–8 teachers with 45 lessons related to the Sun, including such topics as the Sun’s motions, the measurement of time and seasons in our daily lives, and the causes of both solar and lunar eclipses. The classroom-tested activities support the three-dimensional learning encouraged by the Next Generation Science Standards and connect to the Common Core State Standards. The book comes packaged with an observer’s guide to viewing the upcoming 2017 total solar eclipse as well as eclipse-viewing glasses that can help teachers model safe Sun-observation practices.
In the REVERE Awards Magazine Finalists, NSTA Journals are honored for three publications this year. In the category of Professional Magazines, Science and Children’s “Engineering Encounters” is named a Finalist among Departments and Columns. “Engineering Encounters” seeks to both celebrate creative ways to incorporate engineering design into the elementary curriculum and familiarize teachers with ways that engineering and science overlap.
The Science Teacher’s “Teaching the Manhattan Project,” by Elizabeth Schibuk, is named a Finalist in Feature Articles for presenting a nuclear chemistry unit on the research effort that led to the development of the world’s first nuclear weapons. The article, marking the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Japan, offers teachers a way to teach the science and history of the world’s first use of a nuclear weapon in war, while acknowledging the emotional and moral impact of the discussion.
In the category of Single Issue Editorial awards, Science and Children’s September 2015 issue titled “Engineering and Design” is honored as a Finalist. The Next Generation Science Standards is leading the call for more emphasis on engineering in our schools. This issue of Science and Children includes strategies, ideas, and techniques to help elementary teachers bring engineering and the design process into their classrooms.
Each year the REVERE Awards honor the best in education resources and draws attention to the rich array of high-quality teaching materials developed across the educational publishing community. Congratulations to the authors and to the NSTA Press Books and NSTA Journals editorial, design, and production teams for receiving these eight Finalist honors in the 2016 REVERE Awards. For the full list of this year’s Finalists, visit the REVERE Awards pages and stay tuned for AAP’s announcement in June 2016 of the Winners in each of these categories.