Sue Thackray reviews the new edition of this science textbook

Science foundations: science for AQA (3rd edn)
Alastair Lax
Cambridge: CUP 2006 | Pp365 | £15.95 | ISBN 0 521 68673 3

Cover of Science foundations: science for AQA (3rd edn)

This third edition of an established textbook for the AQA Science GCSE course has been updated for the new specification, mainly by the addition of a section at the end of the book on 'How science works'. This useful section contains much helpful information on gathering and presenting data, interpreting graphs and evaluating data and evidence.  

This textbook works well as a repository of accessible knowledge thanks to its comprehensive glossary/index and also a 'fill the gap' -style What you need to know section at the end of each double-page spread. The completed paragraphs are given at the back of the book. Well laid out, with plenty of space, each double-page spread covers a different topic, eg What's in limestone?. Diagrams are clear, though rather small. In the Separating mixtures section the diagram suggests you can distil brandy with a Liebig condenser alone.  

Each page has many short questions to help consolidate knowledge. However, in these cash-strapped times few schools can afford for every pupil to have a textbook and it is more usual to buy class sets for use during a lesson. I'm not sure how well this book would satisfy either the demands of a pupil doing homework or a teacher setting work for a cover lesson since no extended questions are provided. It may be that these are supplied on the accompanying CD-ROM. 

The content is tailored to the course but there is little here that will stretch the more able students. The book would, however, be suitable for middle to low ability classes.