29th December 2000 at 00:00
Developing Primary Teachers' Science Knowledge: A Bank of Self-study Materials. By Philip Stephenson. pound;10. SCl centre, tel: 0116 252 3653.

This loose-leaf pack has been designed to support trainee teachers in developing their own subject knowledge of science, enabling them to meet the requirements of the initial teacher training national curriculum for science.

All areas of science have been covered in a way that is not too daunting. The chapters are colour-coded for easy reference and have been written by senior lecturers in science education, representing 10 different higher education institutions. To those of us involved in teacher education, it is some comfort to know the standards which our colleagues around the country deem appropriate for their students, especially in the light of impending OFSTED inspections in primary science.

Although the pack is described as a "bank of self-study materials" the format is not very interactive - most of it is given as straightforward information with a short self-ssessment section.

Some of the self-assessments are examples of children's common misconceptions for the students to discuss which, unfortunately, do not give the right answers. As some students are likely to share these misconceptions, there is a chance they may end up still feeling insecure about the more problematic scientific ideas.

The level of each chapter is variable, depending on the author. I tried putting a couple problems to the test: "Why does salt solution conduct electricity?" and "Can translucent material form shadows?" and was unable to find an explanation.

These materials could be used alongside others designed to assist students in their scientific understanding. The loose-leaf format is useful to enable students to incorporate their own notes in the pack. The cost is not too high but, better still, the whole pack can be found at the SCI centre website at www.scicentre. PAMELA WADSWORTH Pamela Wadsworth is a senior lecturer in education at the University of North London

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