A flexible friend

9th January 1998 at 00:00
CHANGING SCIENCE Book 2. By Alan Boyle, Christine Ditchfield and Maggie Hannon. Hodder Stoughton Pounds 11.99. Teacher's Resource Pounds 45.

At last, three years after Changing Science 1 comes the rest of this GCSE course, which supports rather than directs teaching and learning. Pupil's Book 2 is for reading, not working through laboriously. House style is maintained with separate sections for biology, physics, and chemistry with earth science, and double-page spreads with questions.

Reading level and content suggest students of average ability and above. Coverage of recent scientific developments ranging from Big Bang ripples to plastic trees is welcome. Unfortunately there are several proof reading errors, the most nonsensical a laterally inverted illustration of an indicator colour chart. The Teacher's Resource includes syllabus grids, differentiation tables and photocopiable worksheets with very brief explanatory notes. That's all - no lesson plans, mark schemes or equipment lists. Teachers design their own course, helped by syllabus grids covering all the GCSE boards. Eight syllabuses, including modular and co-ordinated courses, are mapped to Changing Science.

In the "differentiation tables", worksheets and questions from the books are classified for "all", "most" or "some" students. More than half the worksheets relate to Book 1, with a marked difference in style between subject areas. For developing pupil literacy skills, teachers would do well to start with the biology worksheets, constructed to encourage active involvement with the text. Several good sequencing exercises are included; others use highlighting to develop reading for information. An excellent collection, accessible yet challenging, which helps to overcome the problem of "living things (being) notoriously unco-operative in the school laboratory".

Many of the physics sheets contain more demanding extension work, and include well-developed debate and role-play exercises. The chemistry sheets, mostly text with questions, could have been incorporated in the books. Changing Science is flexible enough to support a range of courses, and has some real gems for looting.

Lynne Marjoram is head of science at Kidbrooke School, south London

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