Stress-free way to study science

Reviewed by JAMIE KHOO


By: Various Authors 

Publisher: Prentice Hall 

Suggested reading age: 11-14 years, lower secondary school  

NOW that science is being taught in English, students may find it that little bit harder keeping up in the science classroom. But help is on hand for our budding scientists.  

One of the more efficient ways of learning a language is to read as much as possible, and reading supplementary science textbooks like those in the Science Explorer series is a useful way of improving written, reading and spoken English skills as well as enhancing science studies.  

Subjects covered in the Science Explorer books are wide - with topics like “Cells and Heredity”, “Chemical Building Blocks” and “Motion, Forces and Energy” presented as separate compre-hensive volumes. 

Students will be given the basics in the three major sciences, biology, chemistry and physics. Other volumes in the 15-book series also touch briefly on subjects like geography (“Weather and Climate”), health (“Human Biology and Health”) and astronomy. 

Every page is accompanied by bright and detailed illustrations which supplement the written explanations and make it easier for students to understand what is being described. It also teaches students the basics of how to draw and present scientific illustrations or diagrams (cross section of cells, flow charts, data tables, etc). 

The scientific facts and information are further accompanied by suggested activities and experiments which are simple (and safe so parents have no reason to fret) to help students gain practical insight to the theories described and to put what they have learnt into practice.  

The books also introduce readers to basic scientific skills needed in all scientific disciplines such as data interpretation, formulation of scientific hypotheses, designing experiments, making measurements and drawing conclusions. A skills handbook found at the end of each volume explains techniques used in scientific practices and experiments. This complements the theories and information learnt with the practical applications of science, giving students a broader idea of how they can apply what they have studied.  

Apart from the advantages of having comprehensive supplements to science textbooks in school, the Science Explorer series also encourages its readers to broaden their usage of English. There are reading guides, pronunciation guides for complicated scientific terms and review questions which prompt students to think about what they have read and formulate their own explanations.  

Most of the reading and activities can be done independently, but there are also sections within the book that encourage the students to work with their families. The most important feature in this is that they are prompted to explain theories to others, allowing them to reinforce what they have read while developing their spoken English skills.  

The Science Explorer books are a good, stress-free way of studying science and complement what is being learnt at school. The abundance of detail and illustrations will provide substantial supplementary information for students while encouraging them to develop language and critical thinking skills for themselves. 

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