Television: pick of the week

16th May 2003 at 01:00
Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: Smart Stuff . C4 Fridays, May 16 to June 20, 9.30-10.20am.

The star boffins who give the annual Royal Institution Christmas Lectures can be guaranteed to provide ideas for making classroom presentation more effective - though not every science teacher can arrange to be lowered from the ceiling to the accompaniment of the James Bond theme tune, as Professor Tony Ryan does at the start of the 2002 series. I can't recall quite what point this was supposed to make: something about polymer chains, I think.

Anyway, don't try it at school. The conjuring tricks, the use of visual aids and the clear exposition are another matter. Your students should learn a lot about materials, including the engineering inside their fashionable trainers, while you pick up some hints on how to keep their attention when the television is turned off.

Extra en Espanol

C4 Fridays, May 16 to June 20, 10.35-11.00am; repeated Wednesday, May 21, 4-5.40am.

Four new programmes for the Spanish version of Extra (being shown from today on Friday mornings, or transmitted en bloc for overnight transmission on May 21). As you may know from the first four parts, the story revolves around Sam, a rather goofy American who has arrived in Spain to visit some friends and pick up a few words of the language. The sitcom element is what keeps the 14 to 19-year-old watching, while Sam's struggles with the language should be an encouragement to learners more proficient than he is (ie, almost everyone). With lots of repetition of key phrases and a passably amusing storyline, this is a useful tool. Supported by video, CD-Rom and website. www.channel4.comextra.

Turning Points: Alcohol; Sex Education. BBC2 Tuesday, May 20, 2-4am

The first section of this programme for PHSE (for overnight recording) consists of three drama documentaries highlighting the consequence of alcohol misuse on young people's lives. This is followed by three films giving advice on where to find help over pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and problems with body image. A video and resource pack is available for both parts.

Citizen Power. C4 Tuesdays, May 13 to June 17, 11.25-11.50am.

Jon Snow presents this current affairs magazine (which has taken over from First Edition). The aim is to encourage 10 to 14-year-olds to think about issues behind the news and the programmes consist of short reports on aspects of a single topic. The themes for this term, recorded close to transmission, are: "One World" and "Your Voice Counts".

There is also a website www.channel4.comcitizenpower, which has information about rights and responsibilities, features on treatment of animals and similar topics, as well as games and other activities.

Darren Gough's Cricket Academy. C4 Tuesdays and Thursdays, May 13 to June 12, 10-10.25am.

A repeat of Darren Gough's series on cricket, starting with the basic skills of the game for the Colts (on Tuesdays), followed by more advanced tuition for Seniors (on Thursdays). Together, these cover everything from hitting the ball to building an innings, and overarm bowling to spin bowling, wicket keeping, fielding close to the wicket and dozing in the outfield (only joking). If you miss the broadcasts, the whole series is available on two videos (pound;19.99 each from 08701 246 444).

For full listings go to:www.channel4.co.uklearningmainprogrammessummer2003.cfmwww.bbc.co.uks choolswhatsontv

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