Designs for life;Subject of the Week;Technology;Reviews;Books

29th October 1999 at 01:00
DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY FOUNDATION COURSE: Food. Textiles. By Eileen Chapman, Janet Inglis and Sue Plews. Collins pound;8.99 each

SKILLS IN RESISTANT MATERIALS TECHNOLOGY. By Peter Gale. Heinemann Pupil Book. pound;7.99. Teacher's Resource Pack pound;16.50

DESIGN IN THE MAKING: Food Technology. By Steve Cushing. Longman Pupil's Book. pound;11.50 Teacher's Guide pound;12.50

Bob Welch praises books that look beyond the Orders

These are difficult times for publishers. We are in a period of limbo between the existing curriculum planned around the 1995 programmes of study and the new curriculum requirements which kick in next September. Add to this an eagerly awaited non-statutory scheme of work from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) and one reaction, quite understandably, would be to publish nothing. Fortunately this has not happened and new books to support key stage 3 teaching continue to appear. Wise publishers don't link their books too closely to a set of statutory orders limited by time, but look beyond to the core skills and knowledge base.

Food and Textiles in the well- established Collins series cover all aspects of designing and making. The initial section on designing covers researching, planning and evaluation alongside presentation skills.

This is followed by chapters on investigating and working with the materials. The information is laid out clearly with the minimum of fussy graphics.

The indexing of the material is good and the case studies showing product development from conception to manufacture provide insights into industry. Written by practising teachers who clearly understand the subject and the needs of 11 to 14- year-olds, these books are highly recommended.

Heinemann's Skills in Resistant Materials Technology takes a contrasting approach. It lives up to its title by providing step-by-step instructions for working with wood, metal and plastic. There are also brief, useful sections on electronic circuit construction and IT, but the pages devoted to logic and binary counting systems seem spurious. A photocopiable teacher's resource pack complements the pupil book and contains information sheets, ideas for practical tasks and homework. The material is covered in a straightforward factual manner with clear diagrams and photographs.

The Design in the Making series aims to cover all material focus areas for key stage 3. The food technology pupil book contains a wide range of ideas on products for pupils to make using basic ingredients. The accompanying teacher's guide includes 16 lesson plans and 50 worksheets. It is essential reading, as it provides material related to designing, which is not covered fully in the pupil's book. The lesson plans include the aims for the lessons, teaching tips and ideas for homework. Some guidance on differentiation is included but often this is rather simplistic. Some additional advice on matching work to the needs of pupils and a range of questions for teachers to ask would have been more helpful.

Bob Welch is senior adviser at Bracknell Forest, Berkshire

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