PLU - May 2023

Once Upon a Physical Science Book: 12 Interdisciplinary Activities to Create Confident Readers

by: Jodi Wheeler-Toppen, Matthew Hackett, and Karen Kraus

$20.96 Member Price $26.20 Nonmember Price

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Download and read a sample chapter from this book to learn more.
The authors of this book have been in your shoes. These experienced science teachers know what it’s like to work with students who struggle to understand their science texts. Once Upon a Physical Science Book came about because they couldn’t find a resource that shows how to integrate reading, writing, and physical science—so they wrote one themselves.

Practical and easy to use, Once Upon a Physical Science Book provides everything you need to boost students’ skills in science and reading at the same time. It starts with advice on teaching reading-comprehension strategies to middle school students. Then the 12 content chapters give you

• Hands-on physical science lessons with engaging titles such as “The Smash-Masters,” “Energy’s Wild Ride,” and “How to Not Die in Antarctica.”
• Readings that cover key physical science concepts, including physical and chemical properties, inertia, energy, magnets, and waves. The readings support the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core State Standards.
• Writing activities to connect what students did with what they read, plus “Thinking Mathematically” activities.
• Assessment exercises to give you feedback on what your students are learning.

A follow-up to NSTA Press’s Once Upon a Life Science Book and Once Upon an Earth Science Book, this resource emphasizes the special ability of science teachers to improve students’ literacy skills. As the authors note, “The good news is that there are many parallels between how people learn science and how they learn to become better readers. … As you and your students work through these lessons together, you will be able to watch their confidence as readers—and your confidence as a reading educator—grow.”

Table of Contents


About the Authors

Chapter 1: Getting Started

Chapter 2: The Reading Strategies

Chapter 3: The Smash Masters

Topics: making claims from evidence, designing controlled experiments, using models, car safety testing

Reading Strategies: comprehension coding, reading in groups

Chapter 4: What Is It?

Topics: physical properties, chemical properties, identifying unknowns

Reading Strategy: chunking

Chapter 5: Handy Heaters

Topics: chemical reactions, chemical equations, chemical handwarmers

Reading Strategy: reading technical text—chemical equations

Chapter 6: What Goes Up

Topics: theories of gravity, nature of science

Reading Strategy: chunking

Chapter 7: Inertia—It’s a Drag

Topics: inertia, Newton’s first law of motion

Reading Strategy: previewing diagrams and illustrations

Chapter 8: Kick Force

Topics: Newton’s second law, animal kicks

Reading Strategy: reading technical text—mathematics

Chapter 9: Energy’s Wild Ride

Topics: energy transformation, conservation of energy, potential and kinetic energy, energy efficiency

Reading Strategy: talk your way through it

Chapter 10: Taking Your Temperature

Topics: heat, temperature, energy and particle movement

Reading Strategy: signal words for cause and effect

Chapter 11: How Not to Die in Antarctica

Topics: heat transfer, insulation, conduction, convection

Reading Strategy: signal words for compare and contrast

Chapter 12: Ding-Dong Electromagnets

Topics: electromagnets, magnetic fields, doorbells

Reading Strategy: previewing diagrams and illustrations

Chapter 13: All About Bat Waves

Topics: introduction to waves, wave vocabulary, bat echolocation

Reading Strategy: finding the meaning of new words

Chapter 14: Lighting the Way

Topics: waves in communication, digital and analog systems, fiber optics

Reading Strategy: talk your way through it


NSTA Press produces classroom-ready activities, hands-on approaches to inquiry, relevant professional development, the latest scientific education news and research, assessment and standards-based instruction.

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