The final link in the chain;Primary;Reviews;Science;Books
The full version of Science Connections is now available. Like packs A (TES May 9 1997) and B (TES January 9 1998), pack C comprises a teacher's book, activity cards and consumable workbooks.
Pack C is for Years 5 and 6. Once again, the teacher's book is impressive. It is a rich source of information, with notes on the science, safety and resources, and advice on organisation, use of IT and cross-curricular links.
No effort has been spared in producing guidance that relates directly to teachers' needs. I like an approach that does not dump activities on children and expect something useful to follow. Here, introductory teaching ideas prepare children to do something worthwhile. Step-by-step advice takes you through activities and investigations. Long and medium-term planning sheets, record sheets, investigation charts, and copymasters are included. You will also be pleased to see an index, so often omitted in teaching schemes.
The workcards relate to Ourselves, Animals and Plants, Material Properties, Change and Environment, Forces and Energy and Electricity, Sound and Light . Each activity is differentiated into two levels for children of varying abilities.
The cards frequently ask for observation, prediction, recording and explanation. For example, in the context of floating and sinking, a stone suspended on an elastic band is lowered into water. The children are asked to predict what will happen and record what they see. The workbooks build on the experience by, for example, asking for an explanation of what happens as a treasure chest on an elastic rope sinks in water.
I recently let my student-teachers use Science Connections in their lesson planning. Most are not science specialists, but they found the materials useful, and produced better lesson plans. Many experienced teachers with specialisms in other subjects will find it useful, too.
* Douglas P Newton is a reader in education at Newcastle University