Beyond the level best;Primary;Reviews;Science;Books

8th May 1998 at 01:00
SCIENCE CHECK LEVEL 4. SCIENCE CHECK LEVEL 5. By Graham Peacock, Jill Jesson and Heather Ridgeway. Collins - pound;29.99.

Assessment is now an everyday activity and these spirally bound collections will be a valuable resource for primary science teachers.

They also provide excellent material for small group work and discussion and support a wide range of teaching and learning activities.

Illustrated activities on heat conduction, animals and plants, the human body and falling objects for example will all work as stimulating material in lessons and are reminiscent of the Children's Learning in Science project activities used to elicit pupils' ideas.

The level 5 book is geared at the top 15 per cent of pupils who will reach this level at key stage 2 - its difficulty also means that secondary teachers at key stage 3 could make good use of it.

Both books contain a wide selection of questions for all four parts of the science national curriculum. They are clearly written, using appropriate language, without shying away from the key words and the technical terms which children will need if they are to make sense of national tests. Most questions are illustrated using clear line drawings. The presentation is ideal for the photocopier which is the intention of the pack - hence the price. Answers to every question are suggested at the end - some are slightly debatable but this is the nature of science.

Each book contains a short discussion of the key words in science needed for investigation work at levels 4 and 5, and also a short glossary at the end.

One important issue both books do illustrate is the huge language demand placed on five to 11-year-olds when learning science and the large subject knowledge demands imposed on their teachers.

These two books represent excellent value for money and will be of great support not only to teachers but to teacher trainers and trainee students. Teachers can look forward to the publication of the books for levels 1, 2 and 3 later this year.

Jerry Wellington

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