Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2011 10:24:57

Author: --- Paul Nord

Subject: Re: 4th Grade Science textbook gripes



Thanks. There's a wealth of information and gripes there. I've looked through lists of textbook errors before. Some are incidental like an illustration of rain showing teardrop shaped droplets. Some are strange like a reversed photograph of the Statue of Liberty Others are a little more troubling like mislabeling the north and south magnetic poles of the earth.

Without getting too bogged down in the vast quantities of information on the topic, I have a simpler question. Is there some authoritative body that rates science textbooks?

How about a PIRA stamp of approval for a science text? Better than a Newbery or a Caldecott, eh?


On Apr 13, 2011, at 7:15 AM, Richard Berg wrote:

> If you want more of the same, go to
> For many years, Mario Iona wrote a column in The Physics Teacher largely regarding this sort of thing. Quoting from his memorial web page:
> Mario Iona is particularly remembered for his 24-year series of monthly columns in The Physics Teacher, titled "Would You Believe?". Each column exposed and discussed a blatant error found in a science textbook. The American Association of Physics Teachers gave their prestigious Millikan Award to Prof. Iona in 1986, for Iona's efforts to reform textbooks.
> If you want more of this, increase federal education funding and encourage more ill-equipped people to go to college, so that more of this is propagated.
> Dick
> On Tue, 12 Apr 2011, Paul Nord wrote:
>> If you don't want to hear a father rant about the quality of a grade
>> school textbook, delete this now.
>> Below are a selection of questions from the 4th grade text. I can think
>> of alternate answers to nearly all of these. Some just have the concepts
>> so misplaced that it's almost not funny. For example, my answer to #10
>> would involve a discussion of Alnico magnets which demagnetize if you
>> break them into pieces with too small of a length to diameter ratio. And
>> both answers to #16 could be correct. But for #15 the question is just
>> confusing. Yes, it can generate an electric current, but you really must
>> complete that thought and say that in can generate an electric current in
>> a conductor. A changing magnetic field in empty space will not create a
>> current.
>> Share and enjoy....
>> Paul
>> 1. If charged particles in an object are not balanced, the object builds
>> up ____.2. A charge in motion is called a(n) ____.
>> 3. ___ is the pushing or pulling force that exists when a magnetic
>> material is near.
>> 4. Current flows in only one direction in a(n) ____.
>> 5. The quality of ___ opposes the flow of electric current through a
>> material.
>> 6. Because of Earth's ___, a compass needle points in a north-south
>> direction.
>> 7. One advantage of a(n) ____ over a natural magnet is that its magnetic
>> field can be turned off.
>> 8. A(n) ___ can handle appliances that use different amounts of electric
>> current.
>> electric current
>> parallel circuit
>> electromagnet
>> resistance
>> magnetic field
>> series circuit
>> magnetism
>> static electricity
>> 9. Which of the following is NOT used to power generators?
>> a. wind
>> b. moving water
>> c. hot rocks deep below Earth's surface
>> d. static electricity
>> 10. If you break a magnet into two pieces, what happens?
>> a. each magnet piece has only one magnetic pole
>> b. the magnetic field disappears until the pieces are put back together
>> c. each magnet piece has a north pole and a south pole
>> d. one magnet piece has two north poles and the other has two south
>> poles.
>> 11. True or False -- There is more than one way to increase the strength
>> of an electromagnet.
>> 12. True or False -- Making the core of an electromagnet larger makes the
>> electromagnet weaker.
>> 13. True or False -- Moving electric current causes a magnetic field.
>> 14. The slower the coils of an electromagnet move, the ____ the current.
>> (weaker/stronger)
>> 15. Changing a magnetic field generates ___. (electricity, mechanical
>> energy)
>> 16. A coil wrapped around an iron core is an ____. (electromagnet,
>> electric compass)
> ***********************************************************************
> Dr. Richard E. Berg, Professor of the Practice, Retired
> Physics Lecture-Demonstration Facility
> U.S. mail address:
> Department of Physics
> University of Maryland
> College Park, MD 20742-4111
> Phone: (301) 405-5994
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