Saturday, July 31, 2010

Review: Secrets of the Universe

Objects in Motion: Principles of Classical Mechanics (Secrets of the Universe)
This fall, with Ds#1 being of sixth grade age, we are embarking on a year of physics using the Paul Fleisher series, Secrets of the Universe.  This is an outstanding series to introduce middle-school students to the subject.

The books have no color-laden pictures, no distracting side bars; rather it has clear, descriptive, interesting writing that explains the concepts.  He bases the topics on the scientists who first described the principles, and relates the material through common, illustrative examples.  He intertwines the experiments with the narrative rather than putting them in a separate section.  The end of each book includes a timeline and short biographies of the scientists mentioned as well as a suggested reading list and glossary.

The book was originally published as a single volume and then subsequently divided into the five-book series.  Though the experiments are few, the series makes an excellent spine around which you can easily add in more activities and reading.  As science books become more splash than substance, the elegance of this series is a reminder of the good writing that is being lost to the photographs and isolated side bars facts so prominent today.

If your library carries the series and you can wait to purchase these books you may be able to pick them up through the used book market at a reasonable price.


L a u r a said...

I'm so glad you mentioned this on the HSScience Yahoo group. We are now using this for our 6th graders. I think it's wonderful, and my two 6th graders really like it as well! Thanks again!

Learners at Home said...

Kris, I am also so thankful for this being discussed on your great group~ I also plan on using this as our spine for my 13yo. I couldn't agree more about the splashes of information and distractions in so many of our science texts today~ I am really excited to start with this and hope to hear further from you what your planning on using and doing for experiments/hands on activities for this spine. :)