Core Skills: Science

With an emphasis on Common Core "Reading in the Sciences" standards and testing, these workbooks have more of a reading comprehension flavor than your average science activity workbook. Each 128-page workbook is divided evenly between life science, earth science and physical science topics, with approximately 10 lessons on each. The lessons are about four pages long, with two pages devoted to the reading selection and two to the follow-up activities. There are two distinct activity pages for each reading selection: one tends to be more of a short-answer, matching, labeling or other pencil-and-paper activity (depending on the level) while the second page always includes a sequence of questions that focus specifically on vocabulary, reading skills (sequencing, cause/effect, classification, compare/contrast, main idea, etc.), critical thinking, inquiry, main idea, and test prep. The number of questions varies with the grade level, with Grades 1-2 having 3-4 of these per lesson and Grades 3-6 having 5-6. This series is probably most similar to Read and Understand Science, also in this section, although you do get hands-on activities with that series. There is also a certain amount of similarity to Spectrum Science, although a broader range of topics and activities are covered there, and the workbooks are full-color, while Core Skills is black-and-white. However, if you're looking for a resource to make sure you've met the Common Core Standards, these inexpensive workbooks are a good choice. Answer key included, perforated pages. - Jess

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