Synergized Middle School Chemistry (SMSC) offers a unique approach for teaching middle school science. This book synergizes or puts together lesson sequences using the best practices of science instruction: inquiry-based learning, literacy integration (nfiction reading and writing, using science tebooks, science-mathematics connections) and embedded assessments (effective design, real world applications). SMSC students are active participants in the learning process. Lessons are engaging, hands-on, and relevant. Students read, write, calculate, and communicate in the context of science. Student assessment is continuous and ongoing. SMSC includes practical advice for teachers from background information to material preparation to literacy and assessment strategies. To help save time and money, synergetic investigations use safe, ecomical supplies found in supermarkets and discount stores.
Sharon Johnson and Jo Smith have more than sixty years of combined experience teaching middle and high school science. Sharon has both a BS and MS in the teaching of science as well as a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Illinois-Champaign. Jo has a BS in Botany from Colorado State University and an MA in Gifted and Talented Education from the University of Northern Colorado. Currently both Sharon and Jo mentor and teach middle school science teachers through the University of Colorado in Boulder and Denver. After sharing many of their tried and tested lessons with their teachers, the teachers requested that they put their lessons together in a book. The teachers reported that developmentally appropriate chemistry lessons for students grades 5-9 were hard, if not impossible, to find. The book is now two books! And, instead of a set of great science lessons, the two books now form a great chemistry curriculum for middle schoolers. The lessons use green materials that are economical and easy-to-obtain. Since science standard documents differ from state-to-state, district-to-district, and are constantly being reviewed, the national standards form the basis for the content. Currently both Sharon and Jo work as consultants to school districts and other science-related organizations. They have both presented at numerous conferences on topics related to standards-based science, assessment, the science and literacy connection, and calculator-based labs. Prior to writing the book, Sharon also worked as the K-12 Science Coordinator for a large Denver metro school district. She was the lead facilitator in the NSF CONNECT Systemic Initiative for Mathematics and Science and also is part of the NSF Rocky Mountain Middle School Math and Science Partnership. She received the Colorado MESA Outstanding Service Award (2002) and was a featured speaker on science and literacy integration at the Colorado Science Convention. Jo has received the Colorado Excellence in Teaching Science Award (1989), Access Excellence Fellowship (1996), and Radio Shack National Teacher Award (2002). She was also a member of the Pfizer Leadership Institute in Molecular Genetics at Cold Spring Harbor. Both Sharon and Jo live with their families in Colorado. Both enjoy many of Colorado's outdoor activities like skiing, hiking, rafting, and camping. And, both love to travel.