Key stage 3

27th April 2001 at 01:00
EUREKA! By Carol Chapman, Rob Musker, Daniel Nicholson and M Sheehan. Pupils' Books (Red and Green) pound;9.25 Activity Pack pound;74.99 Heinemann.

Strong runners in the key stage 3 science field mean new courses need an edge. Eureka! for Year 8 has some winning features, principally in the literacy and ICT areas.

The weighty Activity Pack (400-plus pages) includes activity sheets that are key course components. Mostly for practicals, they often incorporate ICT as data-logging or spreadsheets. Core, help and extension sheets offer the same activity at different levels.

Other sheets provide good resources for discussion, presentations or writing in various styles, saving preparation time. Skill sheets offer a range of writing frames for different purposes.

Teacher's notes offer numerous ICT opportunities and answers to questions in the pupils' materials. Separating teacher's notes from worksheets makes for cumbersome handling. Technician's notes include helpful details on equipment.

The pupils' books emphasise science content, providing structured explanations of theory, often lacking in books at this level. P> Occasionally the pace seems overwhelming. The two levels, Red and Green, look almost identical, covering the same content in the same way. Green has a slightly larger typeface and sometimes simpler language. Red books have more open-ended questions and develop some theory a little further. Able students will appreciate the more challenging delivery. Content is divided into nine units, three for each science, with some physics and chemistry overlap.

The units do not match the QCA Scheme of Work, but are cross-referenced to it. An interesting, relevant introductory spread is followed by several "Learn About" spreads.

The final "Think About" spreads use unit contexts to develop scientific method, for example, modelling or classification.

There is an excellent glossary and index. Pages look busy, with plenty of text and small illustrations. Teachers who are struggling to take on literacy and ICT while maintaining a practical approach and covering the national curriculum will find Eureka! valuable and time-saving.

Lynne Marjoram teaches science at St Catherine's school for girls, Bexley, Kent

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