25th May 2007 at 01:00
John Dabell introduces an element of fun to the periodic table and bees

The Periodic Table: elements with style. By Adrian Dingle and Simon Basher. Kingfisher. pound;6.99. Ages 10-plus

The periodic table is a dry old thing and familiarising yourself with it can be like trudging through treacle on a muggy day. It has been printed on ties, mouse mats, and even shower curtains but still remains pretty lifeless.

Until now. This illustrated, pocket-sized guide is a creative bombshell and will transform the way you think. It is a book with a huge element of fun and will do cartwheels in the minds of pupils.

The idea behind the book is simple. Each element has been personified, injected with a vibrant personality and brought to life. Some are eccentric and charming, some sinister and dangerous, some spirited and hot-headed, some bashful and fragile. Each element has been superbly characterised, and this visual interpretation will be welcomed by learners in top primary and up to GCSE.

The character profiles are a joy to read and combine science and literacy in a heady mix of creative writing and cross-curricular thinking. Not only will pupils warm to them, butthey will want to pen more descriptions, so tell your English colleagues about the book.

Every page lists not only a description, but the element's symbol, atomic number, atomic weight, colour, standard state, classification, density, melting point and boiling point. It comes with a poster, too. Quirky, memorable and great value.

The Wonderful World of Bees. Free from Honey Monster Foods, PO Box 24, Bridge Road, Southall, Middlesex UB2 4AG. Ages 5 to 11

Teacher training doesn't prepare you for the mayhem a bee can cause in a classroom, yet bees are worth taking seriously.

Scientists have recently suggested that radiation from mobile phones interferes with the bees' navigation systems, preventing them from finding their way back to their hives and resulting in Colony Collapse Disorder.

Should we care? Yes, if bees disappear then so will the crops we rely on.

This inspiring, free, cross-curricular science resource is dedicated to teaching about the vital role bees play in the environment.

The New Primary Framework stresses creativity and interdisciplinary teaching: here you have it, in seven, well-written lesson plans which mesh science with literacy, art and design, music and dance, PE, maths, PSHE and history, all offering activities for five to seven- year-olds and seven to 11-year-olds.

There are handy plenary notes and guidance for developing further ideas.

The background notes are comprehensively stuffed with plenty of factual background knowledge and these are accompanied by pupil worksheets and an A2 poster

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