TV and radio
This new two-part unit on the Neolithic settlement at Skara Brae in Orkney asks seven to nine-year-olds to do more than just listen and take in the facts.
The aim, according to producer Lucy Conan, is to get them to apply critical thinking and consider the nature of evidence. The archaeological remains at Skara Brae, discovered in 1850, can only tell us so much. There is no written document or other material: we must distinguish between evidence and reasonable speculation. The second part examines how archaeologists have come to different conclusions about the site at different times.
Primarily intended for environmental studies, the programme has implications for developing intellect over a range of subjects. Teachers'
notes are available at www.bbc.co.ukscotlandeducationteachers
Science in Focus: Music and Technology C4, Tuesday, November 16, 11.30am-noon
The Faraday lecture looks at digital technology. However, Marcus Pearce starts with the oldest musical instrument, the human voice, to discover the science behind making music. He meets Andrea Mapplebeck, a singer who uses computer technology to prepare for a part in a Gilbert and Sullivan opera, and a group of young black musicians in Tower Hamlets who use computers to create backing tracks.
As well as providing new sounds for experienced players and composers, technology can also involve people who might otherwise not have the opportunity to make music: the Drake Project, for example, is an organisation that brings music to the handicapped.
The programme also looks at the internet stores that allow listeners to download tracks. What does this mean for record shops and CD manufacturers? A thought-provoking programme for 14 to 16-year-old students of science and the arts.
Together: Talking Festivals BBC Radio 4, Thursdays, November 18-December 2, 3-3.15am
One for overnight recording, this new series of three radio programmes looks at Diwali and Hanukkah, the Hindu and Jewish "festivals of lights", then at Christmas. Three celebrities talk about their childhood memories of these winter festivals, and should have particular appeal to the target audience of seven to 11-year-olds.
Most Evil Men in History: Stalin Discovery Civilisation, Sundays, from November 14, 9-10pm
You might wonder whether the Most Evil Men in History really has a place on a channel called Civilisation; but warfare, murder and gladiatorial combat are the stuff of which civilisation is made. This series started last week with Stalin, and continues with Hitler. But then we have some less familiar monsters: Nero, Mao, Idi Amin. The chief interest is the archive footage and a straightforward (if somewhat one-sided) commentary: no devil's advocates put the case for these arch-villains.
Full listings can be found at: