8th September 2000 at 01:00
star* SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND READING - a resource for teaching. Association for Science Education pound;12.50. CENTRALLY HEATED KNICKERS. By Michael Rosen. Puffin pound;4.99

Welcome back to fun in school. We can enjoy teaching after all! This new resource, published by the Association for Science Education, with backing from the Royal Society of Chemists, the Institute of Physics, Esso and the Design Company, shows that links with industry don't have to mean badly drawn cartoons in contrived situations.

The well-loved poet Michael Rosen was commissioned to write 100 poems with a science or technology theme, a selection of which have been used in this book. The poems are reproduced in two formats - with and without illustrations. I suggest that you check the two versions before use; there are some discrepancies. The poems are also available in a Puffin edition, Centrally Heated Knickers.

Ideas for discussions, activities for science and technology, and suggestions for literacy work follow each poem. There are also some numeracy ideas, which are less useful and rely heavily on Venn diagrams and graphs. The safety notes and backgound information are particularly useful for the non-specialist.

The book is arranged into themes, for example Light and Change, and along with the two useful indexes it is easy to find a specific example for a lesson. The poems cover a wide range - from the sobering "Catapults", that really brings home the need for safe practice in the classroom, to the funny "Drizzy Finks" - did you know that you can collect up to three litres of gas from one litre of fizzy drink? "Woolly Saucepans" is one of my favourites with its examples of everyday objects made from unsuitable materials: a glass chair, a metal jumper. "Shadows" should stimulate imaginative writing as well as an understanding of how shadows change.

A welcome addition would be poster-size versions for use in the literacy hour. The poems have some really good examples of the use of word endings in "Rubber Dubber", verbs in "Footsteps" and typography in "Incredible Shrinking Car".

This is a great resource for showing how an idea can be developed across the artsscience divide - good value too, especially as the poems are photocopiable.

Sue Lipscombe

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