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Science on the cards

ESSENTIAL SCIENCE SERIES. Animals, Plants, Materials, Forces. By John Stringer and Malcolm Ward. Channel Four Learning pound;5.95 per set.

If you are a busy teacher looking for publications to help you teach science, you want the material to work hard for you. These Channel Four Learning packs each contain four laminated folded cards and claim to explore key scientific terms and concepts for seven to 11-year-olds. They are intended for national test revision, reference or developing scientific literacy.

That is a lot to expect from four cards and it is not surprising that few of them achieve their aims. For example, the push and pull pictures in the Forces pack are suitable for Years 3 and 4, but much of the other material would only be appreciated by those in Years 5 and 6. For these pupils, the cards could provide a colourful and attractive resource for consolidating ideas that had previously been taught.

Occasionally, the cards go well beyond the key stage 2 programme of study by introducing ideas such as evolution or plasma as the fourth state of matter.

Although potentially interesting for more able pupils, this may cause confusion when it comes to revision.

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