Primary evolution

30th December 1994 at 00:00
Folens Science in Action, Pupil Book 1: 1 852 76254 3, Pupil Book 2: 1 852 76257 8, Folens Pounds 3.95 each.

Folens Science in Action Teachers' Resource Books, Book 1: 1 852 76255 6, Book 2: 1 852 76258 6, Folens Pounds 14.95 each.

This set of pupil books, designed for seven to nine-year-olds, is an impressive and useful acquisition for any primary science course. The two pupil books cover the topics of Environment, Light, Colour and Sound, Electricity and Magnetism, Forces, Materials, Animal Life, Space, Weather, Energy, Plant Life, Earth and Our Bodies. They are clearly presented, with colourful and exciting use of cartoon characters.

Each double-page spread introduces a science concept in a real-life context with questions or instructions to focus on the science involved. The right-hand page develops the theme through tasks and questions. These tasks range from practicals, which are clearly explained in pictures and words, to more open-ended investigative work, which is supported by prompt statements to guide the pupils. Each spread culminates in a "challenger" exercise, which extends the ideas under study.

The national curriculum has brought about a rapid evolution and growth of science teachers' resource books to supplement and support pupil materials. These treasured and much-used volumes help many primary teachers to cope with background knowledge.

While there are quite useful supplementary worksheets in the Teacher's Resource Books for Folens Science in Action, there is not a great deal else to recommend it. Many of the science knowledge sections have explanations that are vague and in some cases incorrect. It is a pity that such excellent pupils' books are supported by relatively poor resources for teachers.

Christine Harrison is a lecturer in the Centre for Educational Studies at King's College, London

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