Reviewed by Martha Svatek
Retired Science Teacher
The Protists and Fungi Files brings together a compendium of amazing resources to introduce the topics of protozoology and mycology to students. The important role that microorganisms play in our daily life cannot be overemphasized, so interesting content and research tools like these can be extremely valuable supplements to a middle school science curriculum.
Reviewed in this set were the Protists and Fungi CD-ROM, Plants, Protists and Fungi HotLinks for Middle School Students, Protists and Fungi A-Z Resource Guide, and The Protists and Fungi Files student book. Each of these resources is sold separately as well as in kits. The CD-ROMs include short movies, slides, a quiz, explorations, and multimedia activities. The short movies could be used as a hook to introduce a topic, and they bring to life processes, like symbiosis, that text can only describe. Students can use the slides and multimedia studio to create their own slide shows on topics they have been asked to research.
Another way to introduce these topics with the CD-ROM is to use the “Try Teasers” section. This is a set of questions students answer before undertaking their study. After exploring the CD-ROM, students could return to the questions and discover how much they have learned. HotLinks is a 30-page illustrated booklet that includes selected websites for specific topics like Fun Facts about Fungi and Protisitc Park. These websites have been checked for quality and appropriateness, and the booklet also includes tips for using the Internet successfully and some suggested computer activities.
The Protists and Fungi Files provide a lot more information about the various topics in an eye-catching format. When used in conjunction with the CD-ROM, this student book offers background for many types of reports. After exploring these materials, students will be able to create meaningful research projects or presentations.
The Teachers A-Z Resource Guide is a 34-page booklet that includes just about everything you might want to teach about the topic under study. Each letter from A to Z introduces a topic and presents points for further thought or research. National standards are included, as well as books for further study, vocabulary, key concepts, and a quiz.
The Protist and Fungi Files is just one of more than two dozen units from the Discovery Channel School that cover the life, Earth, and physical sciences. This excellent series of booklets and CD-ROMs have seemingly endless possibilities in a middle school science program.
Review posted on 4/19/2002
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