Journey into outer space
Teachers wanting to tap into the excitement surrounding the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and its moons can download resources that will help make sense of the mission and the images being beamed back to Earth. The resources on the British National Space Centre website allow pupils of all ages to take part. Primary children can write about their knowledge of the solar system or describe an inter-planetary journey. Older students can undertake a variety of scientific tasks, such as working out how different atmospheres affect speed, simulating a landing on Titan, learning about the workings of a magnetometer and displaying data.
Crime and punishment
Most teenagers know someone who has lost a mobile phone or an MP3 player through crime. SAFE is an anti-robbery programme for key stage 3 pupils that relates directly to national curriculum requirements in citizenship and PHSE. The associated website has useful materials for developing classroom investigations that reflect young people's experiences, their confusions and their need for sincere and clear thought. They can discuss the nature of theft, the circumstances under which it's likely to occur, and the consequences of handling stolen goods. A National Youth Theatre playscript adds an extra lively dimension.
The latest film version of The Merchant of Venice will provoke many absorbing questions in the mind of pupils at GCSE level and above. Film Education's study guide invites each student to develop a view of the poetry and characters of Shakespeare's play before considering their transformation into the visual language of the cinema. It also raises issues such as the nature of a contemporary "star" vehicle (here Al Pacino takes the lead role) and the ways in which our attitudes to foreigners, prejudice, anti-Semitism and justice are challenged by what we see on the screen.
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Science teachers aren't usually thought of as glamorous, but that may change if they associate themselves with Flipside, a glossy new magazine for 11 to 15-year-olds. It's full of colour photos of Will Smith, Beyonce, F1 cars, and much more, but once casual page-turners are drawn in they will find sensible and informative articles to get them thinking and asking questions. Topics in the first issue include how X-Rays work, how computerised images are generated, and the technology behind hit songs. Grosser teenage tastes are accommodated in articles about sweaty feet and nose-picking. Reviews and question-and-answer pages add to a striking debut issue. Flipside is free to secondary schools. Individual subscriptions are pound;20. www.flipside.org.uk