13th April 2001 at 01:00
TECHNOWORLD SERIES. SATELLITES AND COMMUNICATIONS. Going Digital. By Ian Graham. Hodder Wayland pound;9.99 each.

This useful addition to the primary school library explores the complex areas of technology, using clear and accessible text and full-colour artwork and photographs.

The crisp layouts will appeal to children from around Year 2 onward. A glossary and further reading appendix provide useful frameworks for further learning. Each title stands alone, but the set provides a good grounding in technology awareness.

Satellites and Communications provides a brief history of the topics, which range from the invention of the telephone in 1876 to state-of-the-art communications today.

The writer explains in simple language a wide range of applications, coming pretty much up-to-date, although the obvious problem with this subject is the constant speed of innovation.

Interactive TV, internet and mobile communications all provide scope to raise issues in work relating to personal development and citizenship.

Going Digital explains to the novice the importance and the working principles of digital technology. The applications include television, video, computers, music systems and games machines.

For children, reading about how their preferred modes of entertainment actually work, will undoubtedly strengthen the appeal. Illustrations are of an outstanding quality and the use of simple text boxes to highlight memorable key points is excellent.

Cross-phae. HOW IT WORKS SERIES. Levers Ramps and Wedges. Springs. Pulleys and Gears. Screws. Wheels and Cranks. By Angela Royston. Heinemann pound;10.50 each.

Compilation Big Book. pound;17.99.

This series aims to develop children's knowledge of basic principles of design and technology through the exploration of simple mechanisms in everyday applications. The topics are familiar but this presentation is more successful than most in attracting the attention and interest levels of top primary and early KS3 pupils.

The books use a consistent and simple format comprising an introductory section on the theory, followed by illustrations of the technology in practical context. In addition to clear photographic examples, a text box highlights something to try or something to think about. At the back of each title, a glossary, answers to questions posed in the text, and an index will promote research and reference skills.

Levers turns a simple machine into an interesting device by demonstrating its significance in bridges, movement of loads and recreational activity. In a similar vein, Ramps unravels the incredible achievement of the pyramids alongside the simple opening of a zip. Springs shows how many technologies are hidden in our beds, doors and toys.

The series opens up tech-nology by giving theoretical ideas meaning within a broad range of familiar contexts.

Jon O'Connor

Jon O'Connor is head of Parkside community primary school, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire

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