Trio are a hit with target audience

18th October 1996 at 01:00
TARGET GROGRAPHY KEY STAGE 3 By Philip Sauvain Ward Lock Educational Book 1-3 Pounds 6.99 each.

If you are looking for a three-book course for key stage 3 geography - and several are around - you would do well to consider Target Geography. It has many characteristics of a well-developed series.

Target Geography takes a "year book" approach. Each book is divided into units devoted to a specific geographical area or theme. The intention is to provide sufficient content for two to three units to be studied in a term, and each book in a school year. The approach is essentially thematic, containing units such as settlement, population, landforms and hazards. These are always placed in real locations.

In addition, there are more sustained studies of selected countries, for example Brazil, US, France and Germany, as well as contrasting regions within them. Opportunities to develop graphical skills permeate all the units.

Probably the series would be most effective if "played straight", by building the key stage 3 programme around the three books in successive years. Teachers would then ensure full coverage of the national curriculum. Attention has been paid to progression and continuity. Important themes recur throughout the series, growing in depth and range with each revisit. So early work on weather develops in Book 2 to a unit on climate and Book 3 looks at weather systems. The suggested activities also become more challenging and, across the books, the scale of study increases.

Many teachers might find this constraining, wanting to alter the sequence of material, or select their own case studies using different resources. A "pick and mix" approach would need to be managed with care to ensure that coherence and development is maintained.

Each unit has activity boxes to draw on the content. Some contain good ideas. They get pupils into a wide range of approaches such as problem solving, personal response, working in pairs and groups, and developing games.

The best activities require pupils to bring several stimuli together, by comparing photographs, or relating table data to a map. Often the tasks are open ended, inviting extended writing. But why should all the questions come from the author? Pupils also need support to develop their own questions and enquiry sequences.

The books are robust. Text is usually clear, up-to-date, and sufficient to build on. There are plenty of maps and diagrams, and the photographs (particularly the larger ones) are often stunning. There is much here to enjoy and stimulate.

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