florida_science_fusion_web.jpgFORT LAUDERDALE — Broward County Public Schools middle school students –  grades 6 through 8 – and their parents will see a big change this fall when traditional science books are replaced with soft-cover books with perforated pages that can be removed, the school district announced.

Each student will have his or her personal science textbook and will be able to use a highlighter, write notes and even cut, draw and paste directly into the book. It will be an interactive learning tool, unlike any other textbook students have ever seen before.

The district said it recently purchased the new science textbooks as part of a statewide state-funded textbook upgrade. The process takes place on a six-year cycle for all textbooks.

Science books have traditionally been the largest and heaviest of textbooks, the announcement noted. They include pictures, graphs, labs and concepts that make them small encyclopedias of facts and applications. As scientific knowledge increases, so does the scope and size of science textbooks. 

Over the years, the announcement continued, many schools have recognized the difficulty students face in carrying a science book from home to school daily and have provided a book for home and one for school.  That approach worked for some schools but many students still found themselves carrying heavy book bags to class. In addition, when a textbook is lost or damaged, parents find the replacement cost an unwelcome expense.

The announcement said the new type of science textbook eliminates those problems because students will carry home only what they need, leaving the rest of the big science book at school.

Also, teachers will be able to send home sections of the textbook to be read and since students will be able to complete their assignments directly on textbook pages, the need to make copies of worksheets and lab sheets will be eliminated, saving both paper and time.

With students carrying home only a few pages instead of the whole book, parents will be able to rest easier, knowing that they will not be faced with the expense of replacing a lost or damaged science textbook. A few lost pages are easy to replace, compared to the entire book, and if the pages are misplaced, both parents and students will find all the materials online. There should not be a need to have access to the entire book while at home, however if that need should develop, it can be accessed online.

"The ease of access is incredible,” said JP Keener, science specialist for the school district. "It will be very difficult for the dog to eat the homework when it can be accessed from home, library or school.  I am certain that everyone will enjoy this new approach. It is an exciting, big change in science education in Broward County Public Schools,” Keener said. 

Photo: Florida Science Fusion book