High School Biology Textbook

Involve Me and I Learn

Written by Jen Gilbert, Special Populations Liaison

“Tell me and I forget.  Teach me and I remember.  Involve me and I learn.”  –Benjamin Franklin

When I sat down to think about why I am so passionate about inquiry-based education I tried to come up with an example that sums up the experience for both teachers and students.  I remembered a colleague sharing a story about a conversation she had with a student.  She was working in a small group with special education students and she asked one of the students, “What do you think?”  The student’s response was, “I don’t know.”  She made it a teachable moment by telling the student that she was asking what they think about the topic, not what they know in terms of looking for any particular correct answer.  To me that was a powerful lesson for both of them.  How often do we ask our students what they think, and truly consider the response?  The reason I love inquiry-based science is that it allows students to think about ideas, explore ways to solve a problem, and make sense of it all in the context of the particular lesson.  In other words, the inquiry approach allows students to do science.

Working with special education students has allowed me a unique perspective on lesson design. Establishing lessons that are suited to meet the needs of special education students in the classroom will benefit ALL students in the classroom.  My first exposure to an inquiry-based curriculum in the classroom
was BSCS Biology: A Human Approach.  I remember opening up the textbook and seeing the first engage activity called “Cooperating like a Scientist” in the Being a Scientist opening section.  I saw the way the section was introduced and could not believe how much it was aligned to material I normally had to adapt for students.  Here was a program already designed with the learner in mind! I often see students struggle with biology lessons when they cannot connect the material to their everyday life.  If you watch a group of students play the “radar game,” you will see firsthand what it means to be immersed in a lesson!  Students become the investigators in these lessons; they are doing science rather than reading/writing about it. 

Have you ever had an experience where you can say to a student “Remember when we...,” where you refer back to a previous activity, and you can see the student recalling the activity?  Or perhaps they reply with details and a story about that particular day in class.  How often do we get the chance to hear from students about the impact a lesson has had, or see the connections they make?  I worked with a dozen high schools implementing BSCS Biology and feel so fortunate to have been in a position to see it on a regular basis.  From self-contained special education to general education classrooms without a cooperative team teacher, I have seen the impact of inquiry-based science on our students.  The students have to be actively engaged to participate in an activity.  When we use the inquiry model in our lessons, we ask our students to do science: to think and become problem-solvers.  I feel like I am empowering students to become lifelong learners, and I cannot imagine being in the classroom without using inquiry practices.


Our new eCatalog is now available

If you haven't checked out our new eCatalog, now's a perfect time to start.  This year's catalog is more interactive than ever before, and is packed full of useful information about Kendall Hunt's growing roster of hands-on, standards- and inquiry-based curriculum for grades PreK-12.

Want to learn more about our K-12 ebooks for math and science? Just look for the free trial button throughout the catalog and click on it to get access to Flourish, our digital learning network. Looking for a middle grades math program that's rich with interactive whiteboard activities and games? Our Math Innovations section provides links that allow you to tryKendall Hunt eCatalog them for yourself directly from the catalog page. And the BSCS Biology: A Human Approach and Forensic Science for High School catalog pages allow you to experience multimedia features like video, audio in English and Spanish, and virtual autopsies.

You can also find information about our newly-acquired Discovering Mathematics programs and the ways they align to the Common Core State Standards. It's easy to sign up for a free 30-day preview with a simple click of your mouse.  

But that's not all! Learn about our variety of online professional development programs along with our live and interactive Inside Look Webinar Series, which are led by Kendall Hunt curriculum experts and provide in-depth information about our programs.

To begin exploring the catalog, click here.


On Our Way to NSTA!

Are you going? Kendall Hunt will be there! The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) National Conference takes place in San Francisco March 9-12. The Kendall Hunt booth is number 1729, so be sure to stop by. You also won't want to miss our two workshops, one on BSCS Biology: A Human Approach, and one on our exciting new digital learning environment, Flourish.  You can find more information about those here.


Flourish will be in the spotlight, along with the four high school science programs, BSCS Biology: A Human Approach, Forensic Science for High School, Global Science, and KH Chemistry that are currently available in Flourish. Flourish is home to an ever-growing list of online course materials and digital learning resources and at NSTA you’ll see how affordable these products are when purchased digitally either as a complete curriculum, eChapters, or eUnits. When you visit our booth, you can sign up for a free trial of the program of your choice, and everyone who registers will be entered in a daily drawing to win a free classroom license for Global Science, Forensics or A Human Approach!


If you are unable to attend NSTA, we’ll miss you, but you can sign up for a free trial of Flourish at http://www.kendallhunt.com/freeflourishtrial. You’ll also find the same product-specific information we’ll be sharing in the booth through our free Inside Look  Webinar  series.


NSTA is always an exciting week. We get to visit with so many of the teachers using our science programs and share our programs for the first time with many others. Not to mention, of course, that the Moscone Convention Center is in the heart of fabulous San Francisco. We hope to see you there, so don’t forget to visit us at booth 1729!


New PreK-12 Interactive Catalog Available

Want to know what’s new at Kendall Hunt Publishing? Want to read more about Flourish, our new digital learning network that Charley Cook spoke about in his guest blogger post the other day?

Well, then you have to check out our interactive catalog for 2010-2011. You can see the catalog here, or by clicking on the cover image at right. Once you’re there you can zoom, bring up embedded video and pdfs, download the whole thing as a pdf, send an email to a friend, or just about anything else you can think of. It’s pretty cool and does a great job of highlighting all the advantages our PreK-12 products offer.

You’ll see plenty of screenshots from Flourish. And you’ll get glimpses into products still in development, including our online science curriculum, BSCS Biology: A Human Approach, as well as our online math curriculum for middle school, Math Innovations. Even though I use the word “textbook” a lot in this blog, we’re about much more than just books.


All New kendallhunt.com - Check it Out

Yes, I am still alive. I know I've been MIA a bit the past couple weeks, but with good reason. I've been madly building content for the new, improved Kendall Hunt Web site (seriously, I've been like a troll in the basement just clicking away).

But it's finally done. You can view it at the same place: http://www.kendallhunt.com, but you'll find it easier to navigate with improved functionality. You can now set up an account, check your order history, and when you come back and login after you've ordered the first time, you won't have to re-enter your shipping and billing info every time!

You'll find our same great products, high school biology textbooks, our online math curriculum, gifted and talented resources and all kinds of elementary education books. We'll be continually updating and improving the new site, hopefully incorporating more social media, more online learning opportunities and expanded professional development choices, so check back in often!

In the meantime, you'll find that some of the links in older blogposts might not work anymore because of the new configuration. I'll try to change some of them, but the search tool on the site is really intuitive, so if you can't link to something from an old post, just head to the site and give the search a try!

I just have to say this...

As a follow-up to the fun and learning Kendall Hunt Publishing employees were a part of on the inaugural National Lab Day, there’s something I really want to get off my chest. Yes, Kendall Hunt is an educational publishing company, we sell educational materials and solutions. Books for gifted students, high school chemistry textbooks, teacher edition textbooks, online learning solutions, and more…we make it, and yep, we want to sell it.

But as I saw my fellow employees participate in and react to their National Lab Day experiences, it made me feel really good. Because for us, it really is about the kids. It’s about them learning, and growing, and, eventually, making the world a better place. And we know we can influence that, we can help them along the way, we can make a difference for them. We’ll never be a giant monolithic publisher who sells more high school biology books that everyone else combined. But we don’t want to be that. We want to help teachers, real classroom teachers, from kindergarten through college, find the best solution for their students.

I think it’s just that we care about the kids, we believe in what we do, and we hope to make a difference. It’s what keeps each of us going every day. As loyal readers, I just thought you might like to know what drives us.


National Lab Day...time to get started for next year!

What did you do for National Lab Day? As Charley pointed out in his stint as guest blogger here the other day, Kendall Hunt Publishing took a leading role in supporting National Lab Day by volunteering in local classrooms. By all accounts, it was a big success. But we want it to be a bigger success next year.


Sure, there is some method to our madness, we have a whole bunch of inquiry based science products, from elementary school science textbooks to high school biology textbooks and everything in between, but beyond that, we really believe in the value and importance of inquiry based science. There’s nothing like getting kids “doing” science to help them learn. This is what’s behind our strong support of National Lab Day.


So start planning right now for next year. Here are some places you can find more information and plenty of ideas of how to get your students doing science:

And watch for a story about Kendall Hunt Publishing’s participation in National Lab Day on the NLD website…we submitted our NLD “success story” to them, so hopefully they’ll feature us soon!


NSTA a big hit in Philly!

I don’t travel much for work, and I’m okay with that at this point in my life, but I live vicariously through those who do travel far and wide for Kendall Hunt Publishing. Most recently, last week, in fact, we had a pack of KH staffers in the City of Brotherly Love for the NSTA National Convention. I understand our booth had tons of traffic and our inquiry based science workshops were quite popular.

The people staffing our booth said the interest in inquiry based science products, not just high school physics textbooks or high school biology textbooks, but in engaging, hands-on programs was really high and they were quite excited about it. Did you go? Did you stop to see my road-tripping colleagues? Tell me about it!


NSTA Workshops sponsored by Kendall Hunt

Kendall Hunt has some really good workshops coming up at NSTA National Convention at Philadelphia in March.  If you are headed there, make sure to check these out:



9:30-11:00 a.m.

Room 304

Teaching chemistry without hearing "When am I ever going to need to know this"!

Come learn how an inquiry-based, college prep chemistry curriculum is completely thematic and taught in contexts that interest your students!  Your students will be more motivated and interested in learning about the chemistry involved in airbags, sports drinks and glow in the dark and learn the same content you need them to understand!



Room 304

Forensic Science for High School: An Inquiry-Rich Curriculum

Participants will learn about this exciting curriculum designed specifically for high school students. They will engage in several hands-on, inquiry activities involving blood, bugs, and bones! Handouts provided.


12:00-1:30 p.m.

Room 304

Building Inquiry with BSCS Science: An Inquiry Approach

BSCS Science: An Inquiry Approach is a 3-year multidisciplinary science program for high school. Students get every science every year through constructivist learning and inquiry activities. This workshop will give you an introduction to the program as well as a look at several learning strategies used in the program to help students make sense of scientific concepts.


2:00-3:30 p.m.

Room 304

Building Inquiry with BSCS Biology: A Human Approach

BSCS Biology: A Human Approach is based on inquiry-based activities and constructivist learning strategies. Students transition from activities that explicitly guide their inquiry to doing their own inquiry. Along their journey, students learn how asking questions, conducting experiments, gathering data, forming explanations, and communicating their explanations are valuable skills.


It's a Whale of a Sale on Inquiry Based Science

I guess it’s not THAT big a sale, but we do have some special pricing on classroom combo packs for our BSCS Science Track and Insights, our elementary school science textbooks and programs. Most classroom packs include a teacher’s guide, some student books, sometimes a lab kit; it varies by program and module. You can find them here: http://www.kendallhunt.com/insights and here: http://www.kendallhunt.com/tracks. Check them out and save some money!

NSTA’s NCSE (National Science Teachers Association’s National Conference on Science Education is getting closer! NSTA events always offer great opportunities for those of us in science text book publishing to share our outstanding inquiry based science programs. The NCSE is no exception. Whether it’s a high school biology textbook, a high school physics textbook, teacher edition textbooks, or any other science resource, we’ll be there ready to share our best work. See you there!


National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) Conference

I just returned from the NABT Conference in Denver, Colorado.  It is always so inspiring to see educators taking time out of their busy schedules to focus on their own professional development.  We enjoyed talking with teachers from around the country at our exhibit booth, as well as in workshops for our BSCS Biology: A Human Approach and Forensic Science for High School programs.

It is also fun to cruise the exhibit hall, mingling with other school textbook publishers, and seeing who has merged with whom in this ever-changing world of school textbook publishers!  It makes me appreciate working for a stable company like Kendall Hunt, which has been family-owned for more than 60 years, and is still going strong.

But the best part of the conference for me is getting the chance to sit down and talk with teachers who are interested in, or currently using, our secondary school textbooks.  Among educational book companies, the word "inquiry" gets thrown around a lot.  It is always rewarding to hear directly from teachers that Kendall Hunt truly has the material to back it up.  As one teacher from Massachusetts put it, "I know that when you say 'inquiry' you MEAN inquiry!"

This week I get to pack up my elementary school science textbooks too, as I head out for the Colorado Science Conference.  It is at the Denver Merchandise Mart November 19-20.  Hope to see you there!

Forensic Science AFTER high school?

One of our most in-demand secondary school textbooks is Forensic Science for High School.  It offers an extremely engaging context for students to learn science through inquiry.  Concepts that are often taught in high school chemistry textbooks, physics, biology and even mathematics and statistics courses are brought together in this integrated program.

As I was browsing my local newspaper this morning, I was excited to see an article about a school here in Denver that is involved in the FBI's Adopt-a-School program.  This program brings FBI agents into the classroom to talk to students about the real-world applications of their education in Forensic Science.  The school is Career Education Center (CEC) Middle College of Denver, and guess what book they use in their Forensic Science course?  That's right, Forensic Science for High School!  It was wonderful to read about how students at this school are looking forward to careers in science and investigation.

Congratulations to teacher Stacey Hervey and her students on the article and excellent Forensics program!

Click here for the article:

Click here for more information on Forensic Science for High School:


What’s up with Inquiry Science? “Inquiring” Minds Want to Know!

What does inquiry science mean to you and your students? How does it differ from, say elementary school science textbooks to high school science textbooks? Obviously the levels, intensity, etc. are vastly different. But do you do inquiry based science differently in third grade than tenth? These are some questions I’d love to hear from teachers about.

I was looking at A Human Approach, one of our high school biology textbooks the other day and thinking about my high school biology textbook, which I happen to remember because I LOVED biology, and wondering how much textbooks had changed over the years. It seems like today’s high school science textbooks, and I guess, textbooks in general, have much more visual organization and interest, for one thing. And it’s obvious that the activities and the pedagogy are so much more engaging to students. I found myself being drawn in pretty quickly. Offhand, I would think that’s all good, right?


Secondary School Textbook Manufacturing Standards

Previously I posted information regarding the various steps to turning a manuscript into a secondary school textbook. The same process would also apply to primary school textbooks up to this point. From here it depends on what type of binding you plan to use.

Some of our titles are perfect bound (paperback or softbound) and some are case bound (hard cover). There are also other types that we may use for different uses, for example, wire or plastic coil (spiral bound), saddle stitched (all pages are folded with staples at the fold), side-stitched, loose leaf for a three-ring binder, and so on. Most of our secondary science textbooks are case bound. It doesn't matter what specific discipline applies (physics, chemistry, biology, etc).

Our student textbooks need to meet the manufacturing standards and specifications for textbook (MSST) NASTA (National Association of State Textbook Administrators) Guidelines. This is a requirement for state adoptions. These are various rules and regulations for several states pertaining to funding school book's budgets. It ensures that the books are physically sturdy and of high quality and will withstand several year's usage.

The various rules apply to printing, paper type, binding and cover requirements and include specifications for the different types of books. The requirements primarily apply to the physical attributes of the textbook, not the content.

The guidelines are contained in a document that is almost 100 pages long!


# 1 Ranked Biology Textbook

Are you looking for a high school biology textbook that supports the teacher and promotes student learning? Look no further than Kendall Hunt's "Insights in Biology" textbook. This textbook was ranked #1 for teacher and student educative support in an independent curriculum review funded through the National Science Foundation called "Project Prime".

Insights in Biology by EDC was ranked # 1 and BSCS Biology: "A Human Approach" ranked # 2 out of 8 biology textbooks independently reviewed.

The goal of the study was to determine the biology textbooks  potential for promoting teacher learning. They were also interested in reviewing materials that promote teacher learning as well as student learning.

The materials were graded based on support for the teachers' subject matter knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge for science topics and pedagogical content knowledge for scientific inquiry.

If you're looking to review a new high school biology textbook this year please check out "Insights in Biology" by EDC (Education Development Center).


Custom Publishing

Have you ever reviewed a high school biology textbook and liked what you examined but wished a few things with the layout could be changed? Whether it's a high school physics textbook, a primary textbook, or anything in between, talk to your sales rep about a custom textbook. Kendall Hunt is willing and able to do custom publishing for schools or districts.

Why not adopt a high school science textbook that you're comfortable using and is published the way you want it to be? Talk to us and we'll develop solutions to your school's textbook needs.


A Biology Textbook For All Students

A couple of weeks ago I posted a blog about my high school biology experience and what effect it had on me. Now I ask you, is there really such a thing as a high school biology book that will help all students? I truly believe that there is, and the book is BSCS Biology: A Human Approach. This textbook involves students in conceptual biology by using a human perspective, organizes content around six unifying themes, teaches through inquiry, plenty of hands on activities, and uses the 5E BSCS Biology: A Human Approachinstructional model. A model that was developed through research by BSCS. With its emphasis on a human perspective, the text presents biology in a context that will be relevant to students' lifelong learning. Teachers have commented they found BSCS Biology A Human Approach was effective in helping students with multiple abilities and learning styles grasp the basic understandings and skills of biologyWhen looking for a new high school biology textbook, take a real good look at BSCS Biology: A Human Approach. Click here to go to website.


It's the Most Wonderful Time...

It’s almost that time of year, the time we all look longingly forward to in the summer.  No, not Christmas, the start of school!  Kids back on a schedule and in a routine, that’s always a good thing, right?  My son seems ready for fourth grade.  Yesterday I came home to find a note on my desk, it said, “Mom, can you please get me a high school biology textbook, a high school chemistry textbook, and any other high school science textbooks you have at your company?  Thank you.” 

When he came in from outside I asked him why he needed them.  “Well,” he said, “at football camp this week they told us about one of the seniors from last year who made the Academic All American team.  They said he’s really good in science so I thought if I got ahead in science then I’ll be able to make the Academic All American team too.”  You have to love the innocence of kids, it never occurred to him that he will have to make the football team first.  And who am I to discourage?  I love that he wants high school science textbooks in fourth grade.  But I think we’ll just go to the bookstore this weekend and find something closer to the level of elementary school science textbooks.  It’s a start!

If you're looking for outstanding high school science textbooks for your classroom, particularly those that teach using inquiry based science, check out our offerings here.

Step 3: Interior textbook design

In my last post, I talked about the cover design process that school textbook publishers, like Kendall Hunt Publishing, use on products. Additionally, whether it is books for gifted students, high school science textbooks, or textbooks for elementary school, the interior of the book must be designed. We submit to a designer a portion of the manuscript that contains the majority of the elements we want to incorporate: unit/chapter opener, different levels of headings, art/photos, tables, listings, and so on. We give the designer some instruction on the grade level and type of theme we want to achieve. The or subject is important as the cover of a high school physics textbook would obviously differ in many ways from a high school biology textbook. If the cover is in advanced stages, we may also submit that as a reference. Again, we begin with a few different choices and narrow it down. It's important to create a design that enhances the pedagogy and readability. Additionally, in the case of, high school science textbooks, we want to draw the student in, but don't want to overwhelm or confuse them. The designer usually submits about eight two-page spreads. In addition, they submit a general color palette for the project. We sometimes go through several proofs, making additional suggestions to get to the point that we are satisfied with the design.

Again, the design phase happens at the same time as the copy-editing and art package preparation phases. Hopefully, they all come together around the same time so that we can proceed with composition, which I write about the next time...



Step 2: Cover Design

You can preview most of our K12 textbooks at Kendall Hunt Publishing Company's website.

In the previous article, I spoke about the beginning stages of creating a high school science textbook: acquisition and planning, as well as the development of the manuscript and art package. In this article, I'll introduce the design process that we, as an educational publishing company, use.

Around the same time that the copy-editing is being done, we coordinate with a designer to develop the cover image/design. When selecting a cover image for a high school biology textbook, high school chemistry textbook, or any of our textbooks, we look for a good balance of gender and ethnicity in an photos of people that we use. We also consider age-appropriateness for grade-level, whether it’s a primary school textbook vs. secondary school textbooks and whether it’s a product targeted to a specific ability, such as a curriculum for high ability learners.

The cover image needs to be strong and eye-catching and express the concept that we are trying to project for our target market. We want to draw the student into the content. The text/logo-type needs to be nicely balanced and eye-catching as well. We usually request 3-4 choices and may go through several "proofs" to complete the front/spine/back panels of the cover. The text on the back cover is another tool used to interest and draw students into the content. The saying, "you can't judge a book by its cover" is certainly true, however, we need to show something dynamic in order to have potential customers review our products in the first place!