Robin Buss's pick of the week
GCSE Bitesize: Design and Technology. BBC2, Wednesday, April 28, 2-6am. GCSE Bitesize: Science. BBC2, Thursday, April 23, 2-4am
The shadow of exams is looming ever larger as we go into the summer term.
But keep cool: for those facing GCSE, Sats and Scottish Standard Grade tests this year, there could hardly be a more useful aid than the BBC's Bitesize Revision (Channel Four now has its own series, GCSEase, for applied GCSE subjects). The television series explains how the exams work and how they are assessed, revises the core topics and includes advice from students, teachers and examiners. The programmes are shown overnight on BBC2 for recording and use in the small chunks suggested by the title, giving a flexible resource which can be tailored to the needs of the student. This week, we have Philosophy and Ethics, World Religions, Design and Technology (designing products, qualities of materials, systems and control), and Science (a special programme covering some more advanced topics in physics, chemistry and biology for those taking the higher tier).
Bitesize is not only a television series. There is a useful website (at: www.bbc.co.ukbitesize) with revision notes and unintimidating tests. Students can also access the same website's SOS Teacher section for a database of advice on coursework, revision and exam technique. In addition to that Bitesize is also available on interactive TV. The service, for those with the higher tier technology, covers maths, english, science, geography, history and French, and includes a daily draw, with a prize of vouchers. Of course, none of this will guarantee a good GCSE grade, but it should help and it would be crazy not to use it.
Science of Sport: Training an Athlete. Discovery Science. Saturday, April 24, 11am-noon, 4-5pm, 9-10pm, 1-2am (Sunday)
Summer term is not just about exams, thank goodness; the improved weather should also mean a chance to get out and run around a bit. For those who take their running around seriously, this programme examines the ways technology can help to improve performances and how science is finding new ways of training athletes.
Watch With Magic Grandad: Seaside Holiday. BBC2 Fridays, April 30-May 14, 10.35-10.50am
Looking ahead to the high summer and looking back to the start of the Edwardian age. A fun series for five to seven-year-olds in which Magic Grandad transports Tom and Nikki to the early years of the last century and shows them how people used to enjoy a week by the sea. Old photographs and film conjure up the bathing huts and bloomers, promenades and piers of seaside holidays long ago. Also available as a video pack (pound;34.99) or on CD-Rom (pound;49.99) from BBC Customer Services on 0870 830 8000.