Elaine Ledbetter September 20, 1998

PHYSICAL SCIENCE: A Laboratory Approach

Shortly after the San Francisco NSTA Convention when I
became secretary, John Marean, who had assumed the
office of president at the same time, contacted me about
the possibility of our collaborating on a physical science
textbook. He had developed an idea for one that he be-
lieved would make a unique contribution of the science

We proceeded to write the first three chapters. Since John
was acquainted with Stuart Brewster of the Addison-Wesley
Publishing Company, arran~ements were made for the
three of us to meet at the Christmas meeting of the Ameri-
can Association for the Advancement of Science in Phila-
delphia, Pennsylvania.

We spent some three hours with Stuart discussing our
plans for the text and receiving his input as to the
publisher's philosophy. To my great astonishment, at the
end of the afternoon, Stuart pulled a contract out of his
briefcase, we all signed it and we were in business. To
celebrate, Stuart treated us to dinner at the famous origi-
nal Bookbinders restaurant on Walnut Street. This oc-
curred on December 27, 1962.

In 1968, our book, PHYSICAL, SCIENCE: A Laboratory
Approach, was published. It was also translated into
French for use in the Canadian province of Quebec. The
book was revised in 1972.

Keys To Chemistry

During the winter of 1967 I began to develop special ac-
tivities for my chemistry students to stimulate their inter-
est with a somewhat different approach to topics they found
frustrating. These experimental projects were proving to
be so successful that I started to think in terms of writing
a textbook that would tie them together and result in a
chemistry text more appealing to the general student than
the thick, college level books that were monopolizing the
market. Those books were so heavily laden with theory
and mathematics that it was comparable to feeding a baby
adult meals before it was able to digest pabulum.

By the time NSTA met in Washington, D. C. in March, I
had completed the first draft of three chapters and had an
outline for the laboratory manual and teacher's guide I
visualized. Since I was already known to the Addison-
Wesley personnel, I arranged a conference with Art Bartlett.
After listening to my proposal, he said, "Elaine if you can
have the first draft of the textbook, laboratory manual and
teacher's guide finished by the end of June, we will have
them Xeroxed and put them in at least six schools on a
trial basis in the fall."

I enlisted the help of my friend and colleague, Jean Casey,
who is an excellent typist and together we met the June
30 deadline with camera-ready copy. Two of my students,
Debbie Veale and Johnnie Merilatt did many of the illus-
trations for the text.

I secured teachers who were willing to try the book in
Xeroxed form and in September, 1968, we began using it
with students. On the basis of my own experience and the
feedback from the other teachers, I revised the manuscript
and in the summer of 1969 we produced a second trial
edition. This process was repeated again and in the fall of
1970. Addison-Wesley advised me that they were ready to
produce the textbook in hardback form for general distri-

At that time I asked Dr. Jay A. Young, chemistry professor
at Auburn University, to work with me as co-author. For
years I had known of his creative innovations in the area
of chemistry instruction. Fortunately, he was interested.
With his input and the talented editorial supervision of
Clyde Parrish at Addison-Wesley, the first edition of Keys
of Chemistry was released in the spring of 1973 just in
time for my NSTA Convention in Detroit. It was totally in-
dividualized to enable students to progress as rapidly as
they could master the material, although a teacher could
keep a class together if he desired.

We did a minor revision with a 1977 copyright and it made
the Texas list of approved chemistiy books on the second
ballot of the textbook committee.

The book was also translated into French for use in the
Canadian Province of Quebec. We got many adoptions and
were fortunate to get the Province ofAlberta, Canada. My
first royalty check for only six months of sales totalled
$16,747.00 - a greater sum than my salary for that year in
the teaching profession.

The entire experience of publishing this program was a
professional triumph for me and the memories surround-
ing it are among my happiest of all time.

Keys to Chemistry

To each of you who come with eager mind,
Young, unprejudiced, and free,
Who seek to give some service to mankind,
I offer you these keys to chemistry.

Use them to reveal old truths already known,
Knowledge that the past has stored;
But may you fashion new keys of your own,
Unlocking vistas man has not explored.

... from Enfold the Splendor


A Chemistry Teacher's Prayer

They come imploring, Teach us chemistry,"
As if knowledge is dispensed
Like reagents on a tray.
There are so many, Lord, and each with needs
That I may never know about.
Let me be aware that with the symbols and
reaction rates
I teach far more than what is listed in the guide:
Attitudes and values,
Man's concern for man,
The unique worth of individuals,
These they learn from what I am and do,
and not by what I say.

Oh, Master Teacher, let me daily learn from Thee
That I may teach the youth entrusted to my care
Not only chemistry,
But help me point the way
By which every student in my class
May realize his highest destiny.

··· from Enfold the Splendor


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