Iron Age smelt down

9th January 1998 at 00:00
SCIENCE CONNECTIONS Book 1. By Jane Taylor, Ian Pritchard, Rebecca Smith, Arthur Harwood, Alison Hillman and Chris Tyndale-Biscoe. Collins. Pupil Book Pounds 8.99. Support and Assessment Pack Pounds 49.99

SCIENCE INVESTIGATIONS Pack 1. By Richard Gott and Ken Foulds. Collins Pounds 44.99

There is an important difference between Science Connections and the many other "off the shelf" key stage 3 packages. If you can't afford to renew courses completely, it will help you make the most of what you already have.

The Science Investigations Pack is an innovative approach to the recurrent problem of how to develop particular skills beyond investigations which will make a real difference to what students can do.

It contains 19 sheets which fold into A5 worksheets, each focusing on a particular aspect of data collection and presentation. There is also an excellent Investigator's Reference Manual which no classroom should be without.

The Science Connections pupil book is attractively laid out with lots of colour. It is well indexed and has a good glossary. There is an emphasis on applications with low and intermediate technology such as Iron Age smelting, as well as hi-tech examples such as magnetic imaging scanners. Further sections allow for differentiation by setting related work that stretches students.

The support pack includes starter activities for each module to assess where the students are, technicians' notes, practical details and a test. There are also opportunities for the use of IT.

The materials fit together well, but the course as a whole would be a considerable investment. However, the investigations pack is an excellent resource in its own right and is what we have all been waiting for.

Helen Reynolds is head of physics at Gosford Hill School, Kidlington, Oxford

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