This is a smashing little suite of programs that makes very effective use of ICT in the Key Stage 1 science curriculum. Throughout all 20 activities there is an emphasis on creativity with almost all involving creating or organising words and pictures. All work can be printed and much of it saved to disk and retrieved for later editing.
As with all of the 2Simple software, options and buttons are kept to a minimum so that the programs are easy to drive even for the youngest children, but hidden options allow teachers to customise the activities and to create word banks. There is no instructional text and the use of clear icons ensures that the programs are accessible to pre-literate children.
There are 6 basic programs:
This program covers: naming the parts of a body, face, fish or plant; drawing pictures to illustrate the 5 senses; listing similarities and differences between two people or things and a sorting activity which explores the best place to store different types of food. The drawing activity uses a set of 8 pens (the colours of which can be customised by the teacher) with 4 line thicknesses and a rubber for corrections. It produces a set of 5 pictures each ready labelled with the name of the sense, which are printed as a group at the touch of a button.
This comprises three activities on the growing of plants and an excellent resource that allows measurements to be entered and graphed. This is very adaptable and could be used to measure heights of children or seedlings, weights of sundry items, distances around the school measured in standard or arbitrary units, capacity etc. As each measurement is entered it is displayed as a bar graph allowing instant comparisons.
There are two writing activities, one on materials and their uses and one on the water cycle. Word banks are available to support these and the teacher can easily edit them or create alternatives. Two game-like activities cover the topics of magnets and floating and sinking.
The best of these three activities is a very simple circuit board where children can drag items into position to get the bulbs to light. Multiple switches or multiple bulbs can be included and the results can be printed. Alternatively a second activity provides drawing tools and stamps for children to draw their own circuits. The third activity involves clicking on buttons to explore different sources of light.
The four activities in this section all involve writing and drawing. Children can record in words and pictures what happens when a toy car is rolled on different surfaces; they can draw a spinner, which can be cut out and folded into a working device; they can illustrate different types of movement or they can make a flick book.
The latter is especially good fun. A series of five pictures can be drawn, run as an animation and printed out for making up into a real flick book.
This final program provides an open-ended drawing or writing tool, which works in just the same way as the tools in all the above activities. Each takes the form of a framework for writing up an experiment under the headings What I thought , What I tried and What happened. In the picture version a line of text may also be included.
This is a very worthwhile collection, which should find a place in every KS1 classroom.
2Simple Science costs £ 39 for a single user, £ 10 for extra user licence and £ 199 for a site licence. It is available from:
3-4 Sentinel Square
tel/fax: 020 8203 1781
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