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Learning in the great outdoors

NUMERACY THROUGH THE ENVIRONMENT. Edited by Rosie Edwards and Eddie McDonnell. pound;6, plus pound;1 pamp;p. National Association of Field Studies Officers, Stibbington Centre, Great North Road, Stibbington, Peterborough PE8 6LP.

This collection of 15 pieces focuses on using the environment to help teach numeracy at infant and junior levels. A few of the sessions relate to visits to a botanic garden, a river and a graveyard, but most can be undertaken in a school field, if available.

I was struck by the value of some of the simplest activities. "Measuring tree canopies" is full of maths and has strong links withgeography; the lesson plan is detailed and practicable. An activity involving pace-counting is also simple to organise.

The range and style are variable, but so are the environment and content, and no one is likely to use more than a small number of the activities.

The booklet is cheap and easy to read, and provides the invaluable enthusiasm and expertise of specialist field officers.

Several times I found myself realising just how many occasions there have been when I could - with little preparation and no specialist equipment - have used the environment to help children to learn maths.

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