When I started gathering our IGCSE (which is just the International version of GCSE) resources together my daughter immediately asked if the people at Oaka Books did any GCSE Biology packs and if they did if we could get ALL of them. We have used a LOT of their Science topics packs over her KS3 years as she has become a big fan of their style of learning. She is a visual learner so the way the information is portrayed – small blocks of information with memorable pictures – really suits her style of learning. In fact she has a tendency to read the topic pack, complete the workbooks do the active learning activity and then it seems to be all done and dusted for her (i.e. she manages to retain most of the information).
So I asked and the people at Oaka Books kindly sent us two of their GCSE Biology Packs as a taster so we could see what they were like (and so that I could take some photos and share thoughts with all of you). The Two packs we received were their Cell Biology GCSE Pack and the Osmosis GCSE Pack.
Well, if your kiddo likes the KS3 topic packs – then these are going to be winners and actually after paging through them I think they are well worth the £7.97. They are very much like the standard Topic Packs with a few minor adjustments.
So what do you get in a GCSE Biology Topic Pack – Your Topic Booklet, Write Your Own notes booklet, a separate word bank and then question cards.
The Topic Booklet is formatted the same way as the other topic booklets. Your A4 page is broken down into normally 4 (sometimes 3) blocks. In each block you get key information (very concise) and you get a picture. For us these pictures are brilliant, they are part of the reason that my kids remember so much after working through the packs. The pictures are a tool which help the kids to remember (well for mine). In the Two GCSE packs that I have looked at the topic booklet is longer than the tradition KS3 Science topic booklets, but it is still a manageable amount. The Cell topic booklet was 26 pages and the Osmosis topic booklet was 16 pages. So yes more content, more to work through, but then this is GCSE content so it is expected.
The Write Your Own Notes is the workbook, which is basically the topic booklet but with gaps which the kids need to complete on their own. With these notes there are NO key words at the top but instead they have supplied a separate key word page (we love this). This means the kids can try and complete the Notes completely on their own or they can opt to have the key word page at hand (totally their choice – we love that they provide this option).
And then both of our GCSE packs had question cards (with the answers on the back). This takes the place of the active learning board game and is a great way for the older kids to test themselves. These cards could be used in pairs (ie someone asks the question and the other person answers) or they could be used by just one person and that person gives an answer and then checks their own answer (love this).
We have been fans of the KS3 Science Topic Packs for ages (and I am planning on using a number of them with my son this year) and I am already convinced that these GCSE Biology Topic packs are going to be just as useful as their younger topic packs.
I will write a post when we use them but I can say my daughter was thrilled when she saw the packs arrived and has already asked when can we start using them (so I think it is safe to say Oaka have a fan of their GCSE Packs already.)
Admin – As I mentioned above Oaka Books kindly gave us these two Topic Packs. This is NOT a paid for post and all opinions expressed are mine and my little tester (daughter).