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Accessible science for P7s

SCIENCE 5-14. By Paul Chambers, Jim Marshall, Nicky Souter and Rae Stark. P7 pupil's book pound;8.99. P7 teacher's book pound;45. Hodder amp; Stoughton.

Science books for P7 pupils and money from the Scottish Executive to pay for them - this must be an answer to a prayer.

The Science 5-14 P7 pupil's book has been written specifically for the revised 5-14 environmental studies guidelines. The knowledge and understanding strand is presented in a very accessible way with attractive illustrations which will appeal to this age group.

Some chapters in the pupil book are dedicated to investigation skills and help pupils to plan, carry out, evaluate and present their findings. Throughout, attention is given to developing informed attitudes to science. Key ideas, wordbanks and questions end each chapter and could easily provide teachers with the test materials they need.

The teacher's book indicates which part of the guidelines are covered and gives notes on the pupils' pages and answers to the pupil's book questions. Extension material, practical worksheets and homework suggestions are included. The authors have not forgotten about giving advice on information and communications technology and have included websites which are worth visiting. To complete the advice, guidance is given on assessment which fits with the National Assessment Bank.

There are many strengths in a publication of this kind. One is certainly the professionalism of the product. The design, colour and quality of the photographs, figures and illustrations make this very appealing. It is good to see Scottish examples (such as Edinburgh Castle on an extinct volcano). Variety is introduced with cartoon-like characters but everything is kept very clear.

With these authors the science content will be perfect but I may have to go to the Renfrewshire Science materials to find the support for forward planning which primary teachers should be given.

Recently I have reassessed the worth of textbooks for primary pupils. I teach P7s French but there is no book for them, only a set of photocopied sheets. Perhaps I could persuade Paul Chambers, Jim Marshall, Nicky Souter and Rae Stark to turn their attention to French 5-14 books and somehow I'll find the money to buy them too.

Sheilah Jackson is headteacher at Queensferry Primary, Edinburgh

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