Suppliers are using the latest technology to produce accessible packages for primary and secondary schools. Here are some of the most interesting.
First launched in New South Wales, Australia, Streamwatch UK is an innovative environmental education project focusing on monitoring and maintaining the quality of water in streams and rivers.
The UK project, like the Australian original, focuses on the contributions individuals can make to enhancing the quality of the environment. It will allow primary and secondary school pupils and community groups to monitor water quality in their locality, using test materials and equipment of water company standard. This information will then be available to interested parties on a central database.
Streamwatch UK kits for primary and secondary schools include test equipment, background information and lesson plans, and data collection materials. Pupils will be able to measure dissolved oxygen, pH, nitrates, phosphorus and turbidity.
* Further information from Brenda Keogh, Streamwatch UK, Crewe School of Education, Manchester Metropolitan University, Crewe Green Road, Crewe, Cheshire CW1 5DU.
Schools OnLine - a pilot project connecting 60 schools in England to the Internet - is set to develop and, it is hoped, expand.
The project's aim is to encourage pupils to participate in science learning. They enter a science "park" and choose whether they would like to go to "The Library", "The Cafe", "The Lab" or "The Prep Room". Each area will offer them something different, such as information, links to other sites, investigations or the opportunity to chat to other pupils. In "The Cafe", for example, pupils can chat to scientists and famous scientists are profiled. Navigation is easy, buttons are always available for return to the contents pages or to any other part of the site.
* For more details contact Science OnLine, Centre for Science Education, Collegiate Crescent Campus, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield S10 2BP.
When the cat's away...
Science Specials are copymasters for use when the class teacher is away, when a new approach is wanted, or for homework. Each pack contains A3 master sheets to make up into nine A4 booklets, with answer sheets if desired, and a game. The booklets contain all the information students need for answering the questions without the help of a specialist teacher or other reference material. This makes them ideal for use by teachers covering for an absent science colleague.
Designed primarily for use in mainstream groups in key stage 3, the highly structured tasks mean that many students who struggle on other materials can achieve success from these sheets. They are also useful for abler students in key stage 2, who are working ahead of the rest of the class, and need some extension material, or for consolidation and revision in key stage 4 by students who are likely to achieve low grades in GCSE.
* The first pack of Science Specials was published in June 1995; Pack 2 is scheduled for publication at the end of February. Pounds 15.95 each from Dorcan Educational, 6 Linley Close, Swindon SN1 4DY. Tel: 01793 524307.
Revision on CD-Rom
For those who are not too proud to use their multimedia systems for revision, Acacia Interactive has a CD-Rom for home use (at Pounds 40) or school use either as a "multi-pack" (Pounds 140 for five) or network version (Pounds 350).
Acacia's product (for Windows or Apple Macintosh) is a useful study aid for students at any level of the GCSE science program. It can be used for the science single award and double award, and also covers most of the science individual award syllabuses.
There are more than 3,000 questions supported by video sequences, sound clips, two-dimensional and three-dimensional animations, computer-generated sketches and diagrams, and photographs. All the questions are based directly on the national curriculum through all the leading exam boards in Britain.
The user progresses through questions on biology, chemistry and physics. The program provides a question-and-answer visual image plus a detailed explanation of the answer.
* Information from Acacia Interactive, The Mint House, 1 Hylton Road, Petersfield, Hampshire, GU32 3AL.
Gene Web is a new site on the World Wide Web at:http:ncet.csv.warwick.ac.ukWWWgenewebindex.html It provides news, information and discussion on genetics for teachers in secondary, further and higher education. Gene Web material is checked by geneticists, revised regularly and users can e-mail the site with opinions, ideas and suggestions. It is linked to the UK science curricula, with notes for teachers and maps to key stages. Gene Web is supported by a range of companies and organisations including the Medical Research Council, the Nuffield Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.
* Further information from the Medical Research Council, 20 Park Crescent, London W1N 4AL.