STANDARD GRADE BIOLOGY. By Alastair Hay and Michael Roberts. STANDARD GRADE CHEMISTRY. By Sandy McLennan and John Holman. STANDARD GRADE PHYSICS By John Campbell and Ken Dobson. Nelson Pounds 11.99 each
Compared with the wide variety of colourful science textbooks for key stage 4 and GCSE, the choice for pupils studying the equivalent Scottish standard grades is limited and mostly monochrome.
So the appearance of three new standard grade textbooks containing crisp colour photographs and informative diagrams is especially welcomed. Economies of scale make publishing for the small Scottish market an expensive business, but here costs have obviously been minimised by using material from the excellent Nelson Science and Nelson Balanced Science series. There is considerable overlap between GCSE and standard grade syllabuses in the sciences.
Each book follows the order of the standard grade syllabus sections, although there has been slight re-ordering in the case of chemistry. Each section is divided into topics which include questions, activities, case studies and extensionexercises.
For some reason, the physics textbook has very few case studies and no activities. many of the activities in the chemistry and biology books look time consuming and somewhat impractical. They also lack clear purpose; some take the form of experimental instructions while others give ideas for pupil projects out of school.
No attempt has been made to differentiate text, questions or case studies into general and credit levels.
Nevertheless, these are welcome additions to the relatively restricted range of standard grade science textbooks. Let's hope that something similar might be done for the courses generated by the Higher Still Development programme?
Wilson Flood is a former science adviser in Dumfries and Galloway