Mark Twain once said: "If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat."
For almost 80 years, the Cats Protection has been caring for cats. At any one time there are up to 7,000 in its care and it finds homes for 60,000 each year. Additionally, its helplines answer more than 100,000 queries annually, it produces a range of publications, and it provides curriculum-linked educational resources.
The latest of these is the free Primary Science Key Stage One CD-Rom, which follows the life of Willow the cat and her family in their home. After a brief introduction, children are instructed by a friendly narrator (whose voice is heard throughout the CD), to click on a "room" of their choosing in Willow's home. These include the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, living room and garden.
A short video follows, exploring the room through Willow's eyes, following which a room plan appears. Rolling a computer mouse across this will reveal Willow's secret puzzles - educational activities to you and I. Thus, clicking on the garden starts a video showing Willow, Daisy and Jack (the children of the house) playing, before the screen dissolves into a garden plan for pupils to explore.
There are two puzzles to be discovered in the garden.
First, the Move Over game, which involves five animals being shown and the narrator asking children to click on the one that answers the questions she poses. Which one, for example, flies?
Game two, Sounds Like, adopts a similar approach with children again being told to click on the animal that corresponds to the sounds being played.
There is a separate section for teachers on the CD, which offers printable notes for each room and classroom activities. The notes, in keeping with the CD's aim, are principally science-led. Thus, in The Garden, there are ideas for QCA Science Unit 1a, Ourselves, and Science Sc1 Investigative Skills, as well as suggestions for dance and ICT. The garden classroom activities section, which is also printable, yields even more resources, including flash-card word banks, colouring activities and cat-care mazes.
Although the CD is promoted as science-based, that is only part of the picture. There are ideas and resources here for practically every KS1 subject. These have clearly been put together by a knowledgeable and imaginative team - the classroom resources section amounting to 111 pages.
It would be no great difficulty to run an entire week's lessons using this one CD alone. Fun, imaginative and slickly produced, it is worthy of a place in any KS1 classroom.
Primary Science Key Stage One CD-Rom is available from Education Connections Tel:08700 133 443
Email: cats@educationconnections. co.uk * Cats Protection Stand R28 www.cats.org.uk