Catalysts for understanding

9th May 1997 at 01:00
BIOLOGY FOR YOU. By Gareth Williams.

CHEMISTRY FOR YOU. By Laurie Ryan. PHYSICS FOR YOU. By Keith Johnson.

Stanley Thornes Student's Book Pounds 12.99 each. Support pack Pounds 65 each.

WORLD OF SCIENCE. Project Director Andrew Hunt. John Murray Pupil Book Pounds 6.99. Teacher's Book Pounds 12.99.

Keith Johnson's Physics for You was first published in 1980 and this latest edition for national curriculum GCSE has spawned two companions, Chemistry for You and Biology for You; so here is another complete scheme for single or double award science or the separate sciences at key stage 4.

Physics for You sports arguably the best physics book cover ever. The Heath-Robinson style cartoon of a lever device to get someone up and ready for school in the morning certainly tempts you to open the book, and the contents do not disappoint.

This edition has all the best features of the original: full-colour good diagrams and photographs, lively cartoons and a conversational text written for a wide range of "middle ability". The pages are coded too. An S or a D near the page number indicates single or double syllabuses; an orange stripe in the top corner signals work more appropriate for a higher tier, while a red triangle indicates physics relevant to separate science courses. The colour flashes appear in the biology and chemistry books, but S and D disappear: the contents page has a section listing those parts relevant to the single course.

Each book has the same design. There are sections sub-divided into chapters and then into single and double-page spreads. A small number of straightforward questions and a summary are featured at the end of each chapter, while each section ends with examples of types of GCSE questions. Simple experiments are included in the text too. There's the occasional crossword but why these are in the text, with an instruction to copy or trace the grid, rather than in the accompanying teacher's folder of photocopiable sheets is open to question.

There's an A4 support pack for each book. For the pupils there are three types of "Help" sheets: some give instructions for practical techniques, such as preparing a bacterial culture on an agar plate in Biology; others support the planning of practical investigations, such as finding out the factors that affect the way enzymes work from Chemistry; and others will help to reinforce the understanding of an aspect of knowledge, for instance the page on energy transfer in Physics.

There are extension sheets - one in the physics pack deals with the expanding universe - and self-assessment sheets, revision questions and more GCSE questions. There's also comprehensive guidance for teachers and technician, in a format almost identical to Spotlight Science, Stanley Thornes's respected KS3 scheme.

SATIS - the Science and Technology in Society project - was set up by the Association for Science Education and since 1984 has been the catalyst for teachers in schools and colleges to share their ideas on the effective teaching of the applications of science and their implications.

The World of Science; New SATIS 14-16 comprises a 122-page two-colour pupil book and an A4 loose leaf Teacher's Reference Book (a file), which have an updated selection of the best SATIS topics, chosen to be relevant to whatever GCSE Science course is being followed. The contents are divided into five sections; The Nature of Science, Health and Safety and one on each specialism, Biology (12 topics), Chemistry (9 topics) and Physics (10). Each topic has information, questions andor ideas for activities and discussions.

The teacher's book - which is very easy to use as large numbers match the chapter numbers in the pupil text - gives curriculum links, the prior knowledge needed to understand a topic, answers to questions, points to bring out in discussion, suppliers of other resources which may be useful and additional photocopiable sheets to supplement the text.

There's more than enough material for any key stage 4 course and many of the topics could be used in other subject areas.

All these publications would provide a superb combination of material for any key stage 4 science teacher. Have a look at them all.

Jackie Hardie is deputy head of The Latymer School, Enfield

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