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21st March 2003 at 00:00
TEACHING SCIENCE 3-11: The Essential Guide. By Christine Farmery. Continuum pound;16.99.

PRIMARY SCIENCE CURRICULUM GUIDE By John Stringer (revised and updated by Hilary Atkinson). David Fulton pound;13.

A-Z OF KEY CONCEPTS IN PRIMARY SCIENCE. By Malcolm Anderson. Learning Matters. pound;10.

SPEAK TO ME GRAPH. By Stuart Ball. ASE pound;16.

ANALOGIES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. By Hilary Asoko and Max de B"o. Association for Science Education (ASE) pound;17.50.


100 AWARD-WINNING SCIENCE FAIR PROJECTS. By Clen Vecchione. Sterling Publishing. pound;10.99.

ASPECTS OF TEACHING SECONDARY SCIENCE. Edited by Sandra Amos and Richard Boohan. RoutledgeFalmer. pound;18.99.

Justin Dillon looks at ideas and practical suggestions to help your teaching

Teachers, like most professionals, require regular updating, reskilling and inspiring. Books with new ideas, inspiration and compact reference are useful throughout their careers.

Teaching Science 3-11 justifies its subtitled claim to be "the essential guide" for new and experienced teachers. Written by a primary science co-ordinator, it offers clear and practical advice on a variety of topics, including planning, teaching and assessing. The wide range of case studies included gives this book an authentic and credible air.

Aiming at a similar market, and packed with practical activities, Primary Science Curriculum Guide is a beginner's manual on the philosophy, history, pedagogy and content of science in the primary school. Topics include lesson planning, ICT and language and there are pieces on light, forces and plants.

Somewhat less interactive in its presentation, A-Z of Key Concepts in Primary Science contains definitions and exemplification of the scientific terms commonly used in science in key stages 1 and 2.

Another book that seems to cross the primary- secondary divide is Speak to me Graph, a collection of pupil activities based on commonly occurring Sc2 topics including earthworms, flowers and food. Pupils can use the tables of data provided in the book or on the accompanying CD-Rom to construct graphs, and then work out what the graphs demonstrate. This worthy collection should stretch children in science and ICT.

Analogies and Illustrations is an excellent collection of teaching ideas for primary science classrooms. The activities are aimed at making it easier for teachers to tackle firmly held misconceptions on common topics such as green plants, materials and forces. This attractive book was developed from research and is thoroughly recommended.

Primary Science and Information Communication Technology, another ASE publication, contains infant and junior activities across a range of ICT topics that includes spreadsheets, word processing, digital photography and computer microscopy. Even at pound;20 for fewer than 70 pages (plus CD-Rom with certificates of achievement to motivate pupils), the booklet is good value - it is up to date and full of practical suggestions and examples of pupils' work from a range of UK schools.

100 Award-Winning Science Fair Projects comes as a welcome antidote to the narrowness of books that struggle to break free from the shackles of the national curriculum. Though written for a US audience, the book has much appeal this side of the pond. Ignore its fallacious attempt to portray a single scientific method and dive instead into the delicious pot pourri of tried and tested ideas to enthuse young scientists.

Start with the medieval paint palette, the protein-eating pineapple and the old-fashioned fire extinguisher (just three of the 13 ideas in the first chapter) and head towards an alien's point of view of the big dipper star formation. Such ingenious stuff should appeal to the whole school science community.

Aspects of Teaching Secondary Science is the set book on the Open University's flexible science PGCE, with a selection of papers from well-known writers.

Much of the material is very recent and relevant, ranging from science investigations to risk assessments, formative assessment and differentiation - though there is nothing on the CASE (Cognitive Acceleration through Science Education) project. For teachers in training this is an excellent collection of seminal works from the recent past; for experienced secondary teachers it provides a good opportunity to access all those School Science Review articles that you meant to look at but never did.

Justin Dillon is director of the International Education Unit, King's College, London

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