PRINT | DIGITAL

In progress – Marie Neurath: Science education resources for primary schools

We are collaborating with the University of Reading’s Department of Typography & Graphic Communication on a project to raise the profile of children’s books produced by Marie Neurath and her team at the Isotype Institute between the late 1940s and early 1970s. The theme follows on from the Isotype revisited research project (2007–2011).

Objective

The aim of this project is to build and improve on existing science teaching resources for primary schools through presenting the visuals of Marie Neurath’s children’s books in a format which is effective in the 21st century classroom.  

These materials also aim to support primary school teachers who may lack science expertise in some areas through the illustrations’ simplified and accessible visual language.

Research

According to the Institute of Education, reading for pleasure is more important for children’s cognitive development than their parents’ level of education

To encourage this we proposed two ‘storytelling’ characters who could provide a narrative and sense of fun to the materials, while also helping to weave the range of subject matters together.

We were excited to discover that the University of Reading’s archives include prototypes of unpublished books featuring two characters called Iso and Typie. We are now in the process of bringing them back to life.

Structure

The resources have been co-designed with primary school teachers to ensure they align with the national curriculum. Topics are categorised into themes such as habitats, growth, plants and earth. Within these overarching themes we have come up with playful sub-themes that lend themselves to storytelling such as ‘hide and seek’, ‘big and small’ and ‘ears’.

Slideshows start with an overview then gradually go into greater detail. Text is broken up into short sentences which directly reference to the narrative of the image. The slideshows are concise and self-contained so that they can be compiled in any combination according to the needs of the teacher.