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From magnets to sound

SCIENCE STARTERS SERIES. MAGNETS AND SPARKS. WATER PLAY. LIGHT AND DARK. SUPER MATERIALS. SUPER SOUND. UP IN THE AIR. Wayland Pounds 8.99 each

ACTION FOR PLANTS. A teaching pack free to schools. Sponsored by Tate amp; Lyle 4-6 Althorp Road. London SW1 7ED

The Science Starter series will stretch the budget but can be used in many different ways.

First, it provides children with some extended reading time, which is so often lacking in science at all key stages. The explanations and illustrations of topics such as sound, light, night and day, funny materials and magnetism might evenpersuade children that reading about science can actually be enjoyable.

The books also give instructions and guidance for practical activities in all the topic areas, ranging from parachutes to water play to electric currents. These activities are all well-structured and clear to follow, although I suspect that most of them (especially those requiring cutting and wiring) will need adult help andsupervision.

Unlike many packs promoted by industry, the free Action for Plants clearly shows its link with the national curriculum.

The range of useful activities for key stage 2 includes cut-and-stick, experiments and investigations (for which the free packet of seeds will help). The language and some of the activities look a little complex for this stage, but teachers will be able to tailor the pack to their own needs - an essential classroom skill that is rarely recognised.

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