Smart answers

25th August 2000 at 01:00
SCIENCE FACT OR SCIENCE FICTION?;Answering Children's Questions at Key Stage 1 SCIENCE FACT OR SCIENCE FICTION?;Answering Children's Questions at Key Stage 2 By John Stringer. Questions Publishing. pound;10.99 each.

Children (and adults too) ask awkward questions about science. Some, such as "Why is the sky blue?", can be easily answered - although they may require some fairly advanced science. Others, such as "Why does a pig have four legs?", are not so difficult.

These books look at some of the questions that junior and infant learners might ask. The questions are divided into curriculum areas. Some ring true for pupils at these stages, such as: "How do you know it's alive? Why don't ice cubes sink?" Others are a little more advanced, such as: "How do youseparate salt from sand? How do you draw an electric circuit? What is a light source?" The national curriculum rules.

Each question has a photocopiable sheet for class activity, with notes, learning outcomes and answers. Teachers are asked to address what children may think, what they think themselves and the accepted science.

Attention is paid to organisation and safety for the numerous hands-on activities. The more text-based work requires active learning and engagement with the language of science.

The accompanying pages are worth reading on their own, but the activity sheets will also be useful for busy teachers and make the books excellent value.

Jerry Wellington is a reader in science education at the University of Sheffield.

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