What's new at the ASE

Where can you assemble a human body, stroke a millipede and meet Gary the Clown?

James Williams, Yolanda Brooks and Mary Cruickshank select highlights from the Association for Science Education exhibition

The "inside out" tunic with stick-on organs and labels made us want to go back to school and learn human biology from scratch. A lot of fun and an excellent way to show young children the position of the organs. The backbone, pelvis and ribcage are attached to the tunic and the intestine uncoils. The organs are three-dimensional and, as far as is possible, match the shape and colour of the real thing.l Inside out tunic, pound;69.95 from Educational Scientific Supplies, PO Box 353 Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 3RE. Tel: 01256 327 787. www.essupply.com.

The new Investigate gallery at the Natural History Museum encourages children to handle genuine specimens and investigate their properties using equipment and prompt cards to help them along. For a hands-on session in your own school, the Big Bug Show features snails, cockroaches, stick insects and millipedes.

A new minibeast viewer - the Bug Hut - makes a much more attractive capture container than an empty margarine carton. It combines sturdy handling with easy viewing.

Investigate, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD. www.nhm.ac.uknewsindex.html * The Big Bug Show, 127a Sidcup Hill, Sidcup, Kent DA14 6JS www.thebigbugshow.com

* The Bug Hut costs pound;6.50 from the TTS group's Active Science catalogue. TTS, Monk Road, Alfreton, Derbyshire DE55 7RL. Tel: 0800 318 686. www.tts-group.co.uk

Teaching about the history of science has always been part of the national curriculum, but until National Curriculum Science 2000 it wasn't assessed, and tended to be overlooked. The British Society for the History of Science has a dedicated education section, which offers advice on integrating the history of science into general science teaching. It should also help cover ethical and moral issues in science relevant to the citizenship curriculum.

* British Society for the History of Science, introductory membership pound;25 with quarterly journal. Enquiries to 31 High Street, Stanford in the Vale, Faringdon, Oxon SN7 8LH


Also look out for the Timelinescience website, which provides an entertaining gallop through the most significant discoveries and breakthroughs in science over the past 1,000 years. Produced by the educational internet consultancy Webucators, the site includes the achievements of dozens of science luminaries such as Galileo, Newton, Halley and Einstein as well as lesser-known scientists such as Wan Hu, who died in 1500 while conducting a flying experiment with 47 rockets attached to a chair.

* www. timelinescience.org

The Association for Science Education can trace its history back to the Association of Public School Science Masters' first meeting in January 1901. The Science Teacher Festival website is an online archive of science teaching in the 20th century. Highlights include the work and achievements of science educators and a look at the development of school labs and textbooks. The site is not purely historical and provides information on current teaching practice and curriculum policy.

* The book, Celebrating the Teaching of Science, will be published next month at pound;5 (to ASE members), available from the ASE on 01707 283 001.

* www.shu.ac.ukschools edstf

Breakthrough is a series of useful photocopiable resource packs looking at aspects of the ideas and evidence strand of the curriculum. They are available from PREtext, run by Peter Ellis, who also offers talks and workshops on the teaching of ideas and evidence at KS3 and KS4, some using historical figures to convey the concepts.

In contrast, Sheffield Hallam University has teamed up with the Royal Society and Channel 4 to produce Acclaim, a series of activities, posters and television programmes about leading scientists today, among them Kevin Warwick, the Cyborg Man from Reading University, and Paul Nurse, director general of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. There are activity packs with worksheets, and lectures and workshops are planned.

Breakthrough, pound;12 per pack from PREtext, Boston House, TBAC Business Centre, Grove Technology Park, Wantage, OX12 9FF. Talks and workshops pound;50 per hour.

* Acclaim curriculum pack, pound;12.50 from Centre for Science Education, Sheffield Hallam University, Howard Street, Sheffield, S1 1WB www.shu.ac.ukacclaim

The Channel 4 series Living Science is on Fridays from 11.40am from today.

Serious science can be fun, we thought, as we watched a marshmallow magically pump itself up to three times its original size. Many magic tricks use scientific principles, and Scientific Communications, which offers a range of services including planning, workshops and in-service activities for teachers, should make a welcome change from standard science lessons (see review, right).

Sharing the stand was Gary the Clown, who specialises in "circus science". He offers talks and shows to primary audiences on forces (such as those involved in plate-spinning) and sound and light.

Scientific Communications Tel: 01283 740359.


* Gary the Musical Clown Tel: 01622 727629.www.garytheclown.clara.net A compelling narrative is one of the keys to successful science teaching. Stories about exciting new discoveries, historical breakthroughs and applications of science and technology (nickel allergies and body piercing) are all featured in three new Science Web Readers from Nelson Thornes for key stage 3.

Written for science enthusiasts as well as anyone who likes to curl up with a good story, the Web Readers, part of an integrated range of materials and website, aim to develop literacy skills while nurturing curiosity and enjoyment in science.

Science Web Readers: Biology, Chemistry, Physics. Series editor: Joan Solomon. pound;4.50 each Nelson Thornes.www.nelson.co.uk

Communicating physics to children through story is the theme of a special feature by Russell Stannard in the relaunched Physics Education journal from the Institute of Physics. The new editor, Kerry Parker, urges teachers to "enjoy the fun in physics again". The current issue shows how a David Beckham free kick can be used to introduce physics topics.

* Physics Education is published bimonthly in hard copy and online, pound;182 per year, from Institute of Physics Publishing, Dirac House, Temple Back, Bristol BS1 6BE. Ped@ioppublishing.co.uk

The early years scheme from Collins, Science Directions, offers an eye-catching big book: and it's big, probably not far off the size of the children who will use it. Along with the big book are a set of six readers that explore scientific concepts in a fun and stimulating way. Rafik's Icicle, for example, tells a lovely story of an icicle, while explaining some of its physical and optical properties.

* Science Directions, Early Years Big Book pound;29.99, Early Years Teaching File pound;24.99, Early Years Story Books (6) pound;22.99 Collins Educational www.CollinsEducation.com

With the introduction of the QX3 microscope at the end of last year, Intel put the pressure on traditional microscope manufacturers to upgrade or produce their own all-in-one multimedia units. Philip Harris has shown it can stand the pace with a range of digital microscopes incorporating built-in cameras. Each comes with imaging software so specimens can be viewed on computer, turned into graphics, made into short videos, manipulated and measured.

* Philip Harris, Novara House, Excelsior Road, Ashby Park, Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire LE65 1NG. Prices for the digital range start at pound;450. Tel: 0870 6000 193. www.philipharris.co.uk

Teachers from Kingshurst school, Birmingham, are behind a project to provide online learning packages for intermediate GNVQ courses. Science is the first subject to be covered by the subscription service, which will be available through Digitalbrain - the educational website that was nominated for a BETT 2001 award.

The vocational science course offers opportunities for teacher-led and independent student study, and all materials can be customised to suit individuals. The Complete Online GNVQ Science Course will be available in September and will include interactive experiments, printable resources and online assessment tools. l www.sciencelessons.co.uk.

James Williams is a lecturer in science education at Brunel University and an author of the key stage 3 science scheme, Hodder Science (Hodder amp; Stoughton).

ConCISE Project: Concept Cartoons in Science Education by Stuart Naylor and Brenda Keogh, reviewed in the Science Curriculum Special on December 29, is available from Millgate House Publishers. Tel: 01270 764314

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