Textbook Analysis

Part 1: Textbook Information
Title: The Physical Universe
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Author: Konrad B. Krauskopf, Arthur Beiser
Date : Latest: 2006, original: 1960
Level/subject: 10th Grade Physical Science (Ann Arbor Pioneer), Physics 119 (University of Michigan)
Age: 15+
Ability Levels: None Stated

Part 2: Unpacking a learning goal
Energy Conservation
~I'll focus on P4.3 , kinetic energy specifically.

Part 3: Analyze selected features of materials

Category III: Engaging students with relevant phenomena
Criterion III.A: Providing a variety of phenomena
  • The main example of phenomena the text uses applies directly to high school age students, car accidents. They explain kinetic energy using a variety of situations involving different mass cars at different speeds. They also explain kinetic energy in terms of work by stating that every moving object has the ability to do work, therefore contain energy due to their motion. The text also uses an example of throwing a ball to derive the kinetic energy formula in a visual way (page 73). Additionally the example of a hammer hitting a nail is used to show kinetic energy being converted to work (page 74).
The textbook does provide a variety of phenomena in a short section about kinetic energy. The book’s use of different examples of how motion and mass are related does a good job of showing real life examples. The phenomena are useful and explicitly linked to the concept of kinetic energy.
Rating: Sufficient
Criterion III.B: Providing vivid experiences
  • The use of the vivid example of car accidents is very useful to demonstrate the concept of kinetic energy. Most of the students have seen car wreckage and already know that the worst accidents happen at higher speeds. The hammer hitting a nail also shows a nice visual example of kinetic energy.
The textbook does provide efficient use of vivid experiences. The experiences are both firsthand (car accidents) and not firsthand (figure 3-8, hammer and nail).
Rating: Sufficient
Category IV: Developing and using scientific ideas

Criterion IV.B: Representing ideas effectively
  • The textbook uses a variety of representations to highlight the ideas central to kinetic energy. The textbook makes use of images, force diagrams, and analogies to represent the phenomena of kinetic energy. In the derivation of the kinetic energy equation on page 73 the text uses an elaborate system of figures to show the different forces behind throwing a ball.

The textbook representations are accurate, comprehensible, and explicitly linked to kinetic energy.
Rating: Excellent
Part 4: Modification you would make in light of your evaluation
  • My main concern with this textbook is that perhaps it covers the material too quickly. For only using three pages specifically on kinetic energy it does a very nice job, but I would have liked to see more examples. I would have also liked to see some sort of a "try this at home" activity that a student could do to get them thinking about kinetic energy outside of the classroom. Because kinetic energy is not a very complex idea the representations are not very hard to come by. Many of the students can easilly relate with the examples given in the book, but I would like to see a greater variety of examples outside of automobiles and hammers. I would want this on the off chance that somebody doesn't have experience with either of them. Also, in order to specifically meet the learning goals, I would want this section to somehow ask students to rank the amount of kinetic energy from highest to lowest of everyday examples of moving objects. I would help my students use the textbook as a resource by asking them to "act out" the derivation of kinetic energy on page 73 using a variety of different masses. This would help them to understand how kinetic energy and work are related to one another in a concrete experience.