A thirst among equals

17th March 2006 at 00:00
New Maths in Actions S3(2)

by Robin Howat et al pupil book pound;11.25; teacher resource pack Pounds 36

New Maths in Actions S4(2)

by Harvey Douglas Brown et al pupil book pound;11.25; teacher resource CD-Rom pound;65; Nelson Thornes; www.nelsonthornes.comsecondarymaths

There will never be a perfect textbook, but Nelson Thornes' New Maths in Action textbooks S3(2) and S4(2) are an effective resource for General level maths.

The books provide good coverage of the syllabus, with the omission of flowcharts. The material is well laid out and has clearly explained worked examples.

At the end of each chapter there is a recap, giving the key points pupils should have learned. This is then followed by a revision exercise. The S4(2) book, the more recent of the two, also has practice assessments for calculator and non-calculator papers. These provide effective exam revision of the entire General course.

Pupils have found these books accessible, although weaker pupils may struggle with the reading, as they are a bit wordy.

Both books can be supported by the teacher resource packs, available either as a CD-Rom or booklet. They provide notes, additional questions, homework exercises and diagram worksheets, all freely photocopiable when you buy the packs.

The diagrams are a great time-saver and work well when used from the CD in conjunction with an interactive whiteboard. The teacher notes show which areas of the General course each chapter covers. There is also referencing to Foundation level too.

You need both books to cover the General course. Some topics which traditionally may be taught in the first year of the General course are not covered until the S4(2) book, fractions and percentages for example.

While a textbook should never determine how, what or when you teach, you may have to re-order your S3 and S4 General course if you want to use these books. This would be true if you are changing from the old Maths in Action 3A and 4A.

Remember pupils in both the first and second years of the General course (traditionally S3 and S4 pupils) would need access to 3S2 and 4S2 throughout the year.

Joanne Connolly Joanne Connolly teaches maths at St Margaret's Academy, West Lothian

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