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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Text for dictation:______

British parents may find it difficult to help their children with their Science and Technology homework. Since the implementation of the National Curriculum in the late 1980s, the teaching of these disciplines has changed radically.

Science is no longer presented as Physics, Chemistry and Biology to be learnt parrot fashion, but as a practical discipline requiring communication skills and the application of knowledge and understanding. Pupils now have to behave like scientists in and outside the classroom. They learn to communicate, whether working alone or contributing to a group effort. They learn research skills such as the use of reference materials. They practise gathering and organising information from different sources. They develop the ability to record and report as well as to translate information from one form to another to suit a particular audience or purpose. Familiarity with computers is now essential as pupils are expected to use spreadsheets and databases for collecting and presenting information.

Technology, which was previously encountered as an option at Secondary School and often limited to Technical Drawing, is now compulsory for pupils aged between five and sixteen. As in Science, the new approach is based on practice. Pupils are encouraged to identify opportunities for design and technological activities and to express them verbally. They learn these abilities in the contexts of home, school, recreation, community and also business and industry as they approach school-leaving age. They also learn to generate designs, to plan and make things using appropriate resources and to evaluate the processes, products and effects of their design and technological activities. Computer literacy from an early age and the ability to use suitable software applications such as computer-aided design programs now form important parts of the Technology syllabus.