Science teachers or students looking for content on CD-Rom or on the Internet are faced with a veritable wealth of material, but care should be taken, says Richard Hammond, science education officer at the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency. "ICT should enhance and not replace practical science. That's why I'm always reluctant to promote sites which encourage people to do 'virtual experiments'." There are sufficient topics in science which are hard, dangerous or impossible to do in a school laboratory, and these are the ones I like to see websites cover."
He adds: "When I was teaching about the science of earthquakes it wasn't very inspiring, because it was not possible to do any practical work related to them. Now, pupils can run earthquake simulations on a PC. Likewise, the 'explore science' website offers interactive ways of learning about genetics."
Richard Hammond's recommended science sites include the Virtual Teachers Centre which offers listings of badged NGFL sites. For primary schools, he suggests QUEST (The Natural History Museum) which offers interactive explorations of objects, which can be weighed, measured and even "felt".
Scienceweb offers free online resources including downloadable worksheets and activities, Teatrail has ecology and bioexploration zones, and "Walking with woodlice" offers schools the chance to take part in an online UK woodlouse survey.
For secondary schools, Richard Hammond recommends LifeBytes which is aimed at pupils aged 11-14 and offers facts about health in a fun and interesting way. It includes information on drugs, smoking, alcohol, sex and relationships. Matter is the University of Liverpool's Matter project which has interactive learning and teaching materials on science lessons for key stage 3 and above.
The Science Museum website includes collaborative projects, exhibitions and online resources, including information on the STEM Project, which involves schools and colleges creating science websites. "Teachers shouldn't overlook US websites," adds Hammond, "In addition to the explore science site, the Exploratorium in San Francisco and the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia are worth visiting."
The Advanced Level Physics site has been created by a group of physics teachers who are developing a high-quality ASA Level course, while Nelson Thornes' site offers a guide to key stage 3 software, ebsites and national curriculum references. If you are looking for information on data-logging, Roger Frost - a TES contributor - has set up his own data-logging for ICT in science site.
There is plenty of good science content on CD-Rom too. New Media's Mitosis and Meiosis is part of a Multimedia Science School series, and is aimed at pupils aged 15-17. Crocodile Clips' Physics offers an interactive physics lab with lots of interesting experiments to carry out.
Granada Learning's Science Explorer and Science Explorer 2 offer a wide range of interactive experiments and investigations for pupils aged 11-14. Anglia Multimedia's Forces amp; Materials and Forces amp; Motion CD-Roms for 11 to 16-year-olds include interactive 3D objects. Logotron's Junior PinPoint Science Data Workshop for Key Stages 2 amp; 3 offers four datafiles which help pupils develop data-handling skills. Espresso Productions, which delivers content to primary schools via satellite, has also developed two new science modules, Animal Life and Habitats.
Mitosis and Meiosis from New MediaPrice: Pounds
70www.new-media.co.ukPhysics from Crocodile ClipsPrice: pound;190 for a
5-user licencewww.crocodile-clips.comScience Explorer and Science Explorer
2 from Granada LearningPrice: pound;49www.granada-learning.comForces amp;
MaterialsForces amp; Motion both from Anglia MultimediaPrice: Pounds
55www.anglia.co.ukJunior PinPoint Science Data Workshop for Key Stages 2 amp;
3 from LogotronPrice: pound;44www.logo.comAnimal Life and HabitatsMore
details can be found at www.espresso.co.ukTel: 0208 237 1200Useful websites
Explore science www.explorescience.comindex.cfmVirtual Teachers
Centrewww.vtc.ngfl.gov.ukvtccurriculumscienceclassroom.htmlQUESTwww.nhm.lt;NIPgt; ac.ukeducationquest2englishindex.htmlSciencewebwww.scienceweb.org.ukTeatlt;NIPgt; railwww.teatrail.co.ukttindex.htmlWalking with
Franciscowww.exploratorium.eduFranklin Institute Science Museum
Philadelphiawww.fi.eduAdvanced Level Physics www.thealpsNelson
Throneswww.thorneseducation.compagessciencespotlightscienceindex.htmlRoglt;NIPgt; er Frost's sitewww.rogerfrost.com