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Light out of the shadows

LIGHT AND SOUND. Wayland Multimedia. Age range 9-14. CD-Rom for PC and Mac, Pounds 39.95

Wayland Publishers, 61 Western Road, Hove, East Sussex BN3 1JD. Tel: 01273722561.

Wayland's Light and Sound is well tuned to school needs. Those who have been looking for something that allows pupils to swot up on science will appreciate this one.

This covers the essentials of how light and sound work, as well as colour, lenses, hearing and seeing.

Primary pupils could access it given that the text is light and read aloud in English (it covers key stages two and three). For example under sound it explains echoes, pitch, loudness, sound travel, as well as sonic booms, thunder and lightening. Mini-experiments, taking a few seconds, get pupils measuring sounds on a bar graph, watching the waves on a slinky spring or estimating the distance of thunder.

Similarly, under light, they guess where a shadow will fall, see light bend as it goes into water, or split into colours in a prism. If they've tried these for real, and they should anyway, it is healthy reinforcement.

Final touches include an index, a glossary and that often-forgotten cross-referencing of the content. In a word, it's likeable.

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