Friday, January 1, 2010

Conceptual Physics Lab Manual

After authoring (and/or wrangling) lab manuals for Conceptual Physical Science, Conceptual Integrated Science, Conceptual Physical Science Explorations, and Conceptual Integrated Science Explorations, I was invited to write a lab manual for Conceptual Physics, the grand daddy of the Conceptual Science family. 

I had no shortage of material. I had been writing labs for my own physics students since the 1980s. My constellation of influences included Paul Robinson, PRISMS, Dewey Dykstra, Jim Minstrell, Fred Goldberg, Lillian McDermott, Arnold Aarons, and many others. But I had my own vision of what made for a good lab activity, too.

Over the years, I concocted plenty of duds. But also many keepers. The keepers I polished each year based on classroom experience with real students.

Porting my own classroom labs over to lab manual labs was non-trivial. I authored my work in art/design software: Silicon Beach Software SuperPaint, then Deneba Canvas, then Apple Keynote. I prioritized art over text. But Pearson needed "camera ready copy" in Microsoft Word. Word had quirks to be wrestled with, and it was not a platform designed for creating exacting art. Personal touches and inside joke had to be stripped. But the core purpose and process was to be retained.

The lab manual for the 12th edition of Conceptual Physics was the last one Pearson asked for. It was the best one I wrote for the Conceptual Science team in terms of activity quality and textbook alignment. The 13th edition of Conceptual Physics was subsequently published without a corresponding lab manual.

Conceptual Integrated Science Explorations

Following the success of 2007's Conceptual Integrated Science for the college textbook market, Conceptual Integrated Science Explorations was produced for the school (7-12) market. It was published in 2010.

This title mirrored Conceptual Physical Science Explorations for the school market. The content once again added biology to physics, chemistry, and earth science.

Most of my work was to align the lab manual to the textbook in terms of the sequencing.

In 2017, Pearson sold its K-12 division but maintains its Higher Ed division.