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Flexible formats

SCIENCE NOW! By Ann Fullick, Ian Richardson, David Sang and Martin Stirrup Student Books 2 and 3 Pounds 7.50 each

Activities and Assessment Packs 2 and 3 Pounds 62.95 each

Heinemann

The first stage (Year 7) of this science scheme was published last January and is likely to have been used with the September cohort. Year 8 (Book 2) and 9 (Book 3) resources are available now, in good time for progression with the scheme into the next academic year.

The Year 8 and 9 materials follow the same format as those for Year 7. There's a pupil textbook and a teacher's activities and assessment pack for each year. But they are so big that they are almost unmanageable.

Together, the resources cover all the requirements of the key stage 3 science curriculum and include not only practical guidance on the teaching and assessment of the new Sc1, and ideas for incorporating information technology in the science curriculum, but part 3 also has information on the statutory assessment. The packs provide teachers with everything they are likely to need - including guidance for technicians. But they'll need time to become familiar with the mass of material.

Some of the information is repeated. The skills sheets for Book 1 are reproduced for Years 8 and 9. These rely on text rather than illustration for instruction, so their value to poor readers is questionable. This is a real frustration, because it's the less-able pupils who need help with the skills.

Much of the section on Sc1 is identical too. This means if you buy the complete key stage 3 scheme, you are paying two or three times for the same material. It's a strong argument for having separate sections so you buy once and pay once. It would also make the activity packs less bulky.

Each pupil book is divided into chapters that are easily recognised (by title and colour code) as three on biology, three on chemistry and four on physics. This adds to the flexibility of the scheme; it can be used by one teacher in a co-ordinated way or by three in the separate sciences.

The format is the same in all books: a variety of exercises that provide more than enough for a standard lesson. Many lively illustrations and photographs should appeal to pupils. For example, a 13-year-old in school uniform is shown having a measles injection and the section on solvents deals with cleaning graffiti. Some photographs are outstanding, for example, the multiple exposure of a gymnast on a bar (Book 2).

Teachers who have already invested in Book 1 will not be disappointed with 2 and 3.

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