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National Film Board of Canada, 1990. VHS cassette, 28:48 min., $39.95. Order number C 0089 066. Includes teaching guide.


National Film Board of Canada, 1990. VHS cassette, 28:23 min., $39.95. Order number C 0089 067. Includes teaching guide.

Complete package, $79.95. Includes Volumes One and Two and three teaching guides
Distributed by NFB Education, D-5, P.O. Box 6100, Station A, Montreal, Quebec H3C 3H5

Grades 2 to 6/Ages 7 to 11
Reviewed by Ellen Heaney.

Volume 19 Number 2
1991 March

The National Film Board has pro­duced this two-volume set of videotapes "to stimulate thinking..." and has broadly speaking attained that goal. Each volume consists of three short films dealing with scientific concepts such as night, friction and the seasons.

The two children featured act in a charming and unaffected way, going about their lives in a mostly urban setting, encountering in a natural way the phenomena which are the subjects of the films. There is a great deal to watch, much cinematic intercutting and considerable humour to lighten the "lessons." It is difficult to describe the action, since the concepts are subtly introduced, in some instances through story.

Although there is no dialogue in the films, there are sound effects and music - some of the latter maddeningly repetitive. The manual included will aid teachers in using the films as a jumping-off point to classroom discus­sion. For example, activities suggested to accompany "Topsy Turvy," which "invites children to explore the myster­ies of possible and impossible phenom­ena," involve prediction, list making, and learning to perform magic tricks and science experiments (and knowing the difference - a good lesson for children raised on movie and television special effects).

Some of the segments are more satisfying than others, and the given range of five to twelve years should possibly be narrowed to seven to eleven years. Nevertheless, this is generally a well-executed project, and would be a good addition to most elementary school and public library video collec­tions.

Ellen Heaney, New Westminster Public Library, New Westminster, B.C.
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