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Monday, 5 March, 2001, 01:37 GMT
Firing pupils' interest in science
science lesson
Ministers hope to boost enthusiasm and results
Pupils in England are being offered interactive cards which play tricks with the light, laugh and explain the "science of attraction".

The cards - made up of materials which respond to the environment - are part of an information pack linked to Science Year which gets underway in September.

The cards aim to arouse teenagers' curiosity about how science works in everyday life

Nigel Paine, Director of Science Year
Organisers say the pack is designed to fire children's curiosity about science and how it relates to everyday life.

Celebrities, like Dennis Wise and Billie Piper are being used to generate interest in the government initiative.

The materials - aimed at children aged from 10 to 15 - will be sent to children who call a special hotline number.

Science Year director, Nigel Paine, said the pack contained seven cards made of materials which would respond to the environment or conditions on the day in some way.

"They aim to arouse teenagers' curiosity about how science works in everyday life," he said.

Professor Paine predicts a lot of interest in the interactive card about the science of attraction.
Billie Piper
Billie Piper will help launch the packs

This week an advertising campaign gets underway, spear-headed by sports stars and celebrities.

Billie Piper, Dennis Wise, Richard Blackwood and Radio 1's Dreem Teem will appear in TV adverts asking young people to think about the science behind everyday events.

The Schools Minister, Jacqui Smith, said children and adults seemed interested in science but were sometimes mystified by it.

"Science is not, of course, just a 'text book subject', but a way of exploring everyday life and the world around us," she said.

A lot of children - and many adults - seem mystified by science

Schools Minister, Jacqui Smith

"These are especially exciting times for science. However, a lot of children - and many adults - seem to be mystified by science. They see it as something powerful but remote from ordinary people."

Ministers hope Science Year will lead to greater awareness about science and an improvement in standards too.

The initiative, which is aimed at children aged 10 to 19, is also being supported by other government departments.

Teachers are not excluded from this particular initiative either.

They can receive a booklet containing a set of cards, together with discussion notes and tips on answering questions about scientific issues.

The teachers' material is available on the same hotline.

The hotline number is 0800 660 800.

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See also:

28 Jun 00 | Education
2001 'year of science'
16 Oct 00 | Education
Secondary schools in targets drive
08 Feb 01 | Education
New types of specialist school
18 Sep 00 | Education
Primary science 'too hard'
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