Wendy Pitt reviews this literary and scientific skills resource pack
London, UK: Hodder Education 2013 | Pp256 | £80 (PB & CD) | ISBN 978 144 418 170 8
Reviewed by Wendy Pitt
The latest GCSE specifications to be examined for the first time this summer have all raised the profile of the assessment of written communication. While good teachers have always sought to encourage the development of such skills regardless of their value on exam papers, the pressure is now on for all teachers to ensure that their students are well prepared to communicate scientific ideas with clarity and detail. Further, a thorough understanding of the scientific method continues to be called for at this level. This wire-bound book and accompanying CD (described as an 'activity pack') aim to provide the materials to aid science teachers in these challenging tasks.
The first section is devoted to literacy skills in science and is sophisticated in its approach, explaining clearly the philosophy behind the methodology for each skill covered. The second section addresses scientific enquiry with each of the key skills - designing, recording, processing, analysing etc - considered in turn.
All of the activities in the book are also available as editable Microsoft Word files on the CD, together with resource sheets. Each activity targets one or more specific skill and there is a simple flow chart at the end of each section to aid the assessment of progress. While the target level is GCSE, some of the activities could be used by the more able at Key Stage 3 and others might prove of value at Key Stage 5.
The clear guidance for the teacher, suggestions for further or alternative activities, answers to the questions and ideas to help to conduct class discussions make this a very useful resource.
Overall this is a well thought out package that seems good value for any science department and offers a structure through which literacy and scientific enquiry skills can be visibly integrated into schemes of work.
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