Tempted to experiment

21st February 2003 at 00:00
Science 5-14 Pupil's Book. By Paul Chambers, Jim Marshall, Nicky Souter and Rae Stark. Hodder and Stoughton, pound;8.99

Elizabeth Fulton applauds a stimulating book that helps pupils think critically about emotive issues such as cloning

Even the most science resistant pupil will be tempted to open this stimulating and eye catching textbook. Produced for the 5-14 science programme, the layout of the text and colourful graphics ensure that key ideas are highlighted and reflect the learning aims of the syllabus.

A word bank at the end of each chapter is useful for developing scientific vocabulary, while questions at the end help to consolidate what has been learned.

Crucially, the investigative aspect of science is addressed in a stimulating way, encouraging youngsters to plan, carry out and evaluate investigations carefully.

Through simple everyday ideas and situations, the impact of science on society is clearly demonstrated. Part of science education is to encourage young people to be aware of the role of science in the world and develop informed attictudes to it. This book does this by encouraging group discussions so that pupils share views on controversial issues, such as genetically modified food and animals. These discussions should make youngsters more aware of how scientific developments can be both beneficial and hazardous.

One criticism is that the materials are aimed at too narrow an ability range. In any S1 class there is a wide span of ability. Pupils with learning difficulties would find some chapters difficult to cope with, while very able youngsters may not be challenged.

The book is designed to cover level D with continuity and progression towards level E targets in the 5-14 curriculum. But there is little challenging work for those pupils who have the ability to progress to level F.

However, on the whole, this textbook is an excellent resource for the average pupil and should stimulate an interest in science beyond the realm of the PC or PlayStation.

Elizabeth Fulton is principal teacher of chemistry at Renfrew High

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