Passing the real-life test

4th March 2005 at 00:00
Health Choices series by Cath Senker pound;9.99 per title from Hodder Wayland.

In the Wild series by Patricia Kendall pound;5.99 per title from Hodder Wayland

Start-Up Science series by Claire Llewellyn pound;10.99 per title from Evans Brothers

Andrew Peck recommends new sets of books for key stage 1 science.

The demands on the primary curriculum to link subject areas are ever increasing in number and complexity. The Health Choices series comprehensively covers a wide range of modern personal health and safety issues under the banners of key stage 1 PSHE, citizenship and science.

Comprising six titles (Healthy Eating, Exercise and Play, Keeping Clean, Keeping Safe, Relationships and Harmful Substances) the theme of choices is key to its strength. Each topic is dealt with in a question format, sensitive to the honest enquiry of young minds, covering the likes of: Why do I need to be active?, Why shouldn't I pick my nose? and Why can't I eat crisps everyday?

The well-pitched responses are informative, providing many opportunities for discussion, and challenge readers to make their own decisions.

The real test for any marketing claims laid on classroom resources lies with real classroom practice and exposure to real children.

In the Wild books passed this test with flying colours when I used them recently across three reception classes, and they generated a real buzz of enthusiastic sharing and questioning.

The series explores the features and lifecycles of a wide range of animals, typically outside the experiences of most younger children, such as hippos, gorillas, penguins and rhinos.

Its success is due to its fabulous photography, making all aspects of the animal's life visually accessible, and giving rise to excellent opportunities for discussion and questioning. Older KS1 children will be able to engage with the brief but very informative supporting text.

Start-Up Science is a new series that covers the QCA science scheme of work for KS1. While there are plenty other such titles, this series stands out for the way in which the quality and structure of its presentation allow both independent and shared access of the content. Each title is visually engaging, with bright photography, large diagrams and bold text with highlighted key words.

The series forms an excellent classroom resource, prompting discussion and good opportunities for independent investigation.

Andrew Peck is science co-ordinator at George Spicer School, Enfield, north London

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