Waste not...;Cross-phase;Reviews;Environment

25th June 1999 at 01:00
THE WASTERS. 14 minute video + teacher's book. pound;1.75 THE ENERGY PACK FOR PRIMARY SCHOOLS. Free. FACT FILE AND JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY - GUIDES TO THE SELLAFIELD VISITORS' CENTRE. BNFL Education Unit. Free. Tel: 0808 1001444

Fifties music and two teenagers in a pink gas guzzler doing nine miles to the gallon open The Wasters, a short factual video summarising some key issues of waste and recycling. They discuss changing consumer attitudes in response to the escalating production of waste and pressure on natural resources.

Sequences include descriptions of land fill and the benefits of methane to generate electricity, the dangers of leachate and the far greater tonnage of industrial waste compared with household rubbish. Footage devoted to processing radioactive waste reminds viewers that nuclear power stations are not the only source of this hazardous material.

The final sections argue for more active recycling, taking aluminium cans as an example to demonstrate the environmental benefits of using old cans to make new ones.

The presentation is uncontroversial, factually sound, providing reliable content suitable for key stages3 and 4.

The primary energy pack has a period feel to it, probably because it dates from 1989, when the national curriculum was in its early days and science content for key stages 1 and 2 so impenetrable that most teachers panicked. The colour posters are clear and attractive, but would be better directed at brighter pupils in Year 7. The six sets of pupils' worksheets are similarly over-ambitious for key stage 2 and although accurate, do not inspire beyond the limited bounds of content and knowledge. Some of the line diagrams are poor and many of the questions are too difficult for most primary pupils.

Additional details in the teacher's manual will reassure non-specialists, but the game is given away by the use of the old attainment targets and sets of attainment levels.

The final elements in this array of BNFL materials relate specifically to Sellafield. The Fact File is attractively and colourfully presented with useful information on nuclear fission and energy. Both it and the Journey of Discovery can only be appreciated fully as part of a site visit geared to secondary school pupils. Many teachers would regard such a venture rather warily, but the case for the nuclear power industry does need to be given fair consideration, best set alongside opposing views.

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