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Falinge Park High School

Opening Doors; Unlocking Potential

Product Design

Mr J Collins – Head of Technology

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”

– Steve Jobs

Compelling Learning in Product Design

This module consists of 3 separate projects: pupils work individually to design and make a Point of Sale display stand that will be used to promote a product in a shop. They also design and make a scale model of a sofa in order to understand how design movements and anthropometric data influence the size and shape of products. Pupils also work in groups to design and make scale models of bridges, and test them to destruction to see which has the best strength to weight ratio. In the development of their bridge designs pupils also use software to model and test the effectiveness of different structures.

We foster pupils’ love of designing and making products by providing real-life design problems for them to solve, relating to a range of familiar situations in school, at home and in the wider world. Pupils are able to work in a wide range of materials; we find that this variety, combined with the hands-on approach and ability to make important design decisions for themselves, really engages pupils, with many opting to attend extra-curricular sessions in order to further their progress. Pupils are given every opportunity to think, work and develop ideas both independently, and in groups, and present their findings using a wide variety of media. They thrive on opportunities to be independent but we also ensure support is there when needed.

Curriculum

We aim to develop creativity in pupils and nurture their ability to think outside of the box, enabling them to develop the habits of mind, practical skills and knowledge and understanding of the subject which will not only open doors for them to become the engineers, technologists and designers of the future, but also provide our young people with other transferable attributes that will be of huge benefit in life, regardless of pathway or career choice. In Years 7 and 8 all pupils study Design and Technology for 4 hours a fortnight, spending approximately 12 weeks in each of the following areas:

  • Electronic Products
  • Food Technology
  • Product Design
  • Resistant Materials
  • Textiles Technology

They can also opt to study a technology subject as a GCSE in years 9, 10 and 11 by choosing from Electronics, Engineering, Food, Graphics and Packaging, Resistant Materials and Textiles.

Years 7 and 8

Over the course of Years 7 and 8 pupils visit the 5 subject areas once on a ‘carousel’, meaning that they spend approximately 12 weeks in each area. In each of the 5 areas emphasis is placed on developing both the practical skills, and the knowledge and understanding relating to that material area. For example, in Electronic Products pupils will learn how to solder an electronic circuit together in addition to learning about what various electronic components do, whereas in Textiles Technology pupils will learn about different man-made and natural fabrics, how to stitch them and how to decorate them.

In addition to acquiring the knowledge, skills and understanding specific to each of the 5 areas, pupils undertake design and make projects which enable them to develop more generic designing and making skills that relate to all of the subject areas. In each subject they are given a design brief which relates to a real life situation or design problem. Pupils must respond to this brief through planning and researching which will enable them not only to understand the problem better, but will also enable them to design, develop, test and evaluate potential solutions, some of which they will also manufacture in our workshops and classrooms using the state of the art facilities on offer. Considerable emphasis is placed upon meeting the needs of potential users of the product.

We place much emphasis on the designing and making process. We fully embrace the philosophy of ‘iterative design’, meaning that we encourage pupils to be brave, creative and to think outside of the box so that they will try ideas out for themselves. We nurture their curiosity so that they are not afraid of the fact that something might not work first time, encouraging them to evaluate what they have done, learn from their first attempts and try again – and keep doing this until they find the best solution to the problem. Design problems become progressively harder throughout Years 7 and 8 as pupils progress through the carousel.

There are many opportunities for pupils’ social and personal development within the faculty across both Key Stages. Although the majority of design and make tasks involve pupils manufacturing their own individual products, much of the work is still collaborative with pupils bouncing ideas off each other and helping one another with their research. In addition pupils undertake joint projects, for example in Product Design, where they work in teams in order to see who can make the strongest structure by testing them to destruction. We also aim to help pupils improve their presentation skills, not only in relation to designing things on paper, but also orally, for example by presenting their findings and evaluations to the rest of the group.
Below is an overview of projects undertaken in each area of the year 7 and 8 carousel.

Electronic Products

Pupils learn about the properties and characteristics of a range of electronic components including power supplies, resistors, capacitors, Light Emitting Diodes (or LEDs) and buzzers. They learn how to make circuit boards and how to populate and solder them together safely to make a working circuit. They design and make 2 products: a supercapacitor-powered device and USB-powered mood lamp, for which they design and manufacture the casing using CAD/CAM. pupils also have the opportunity to programme microcontrollers.

Food
Pupils learn a wide range of food preparation skills through preparing and cooking a variety of different dishes and recipes, both savoury and sweet. They also learn about nutrition and the effects that the different nutrients, such as carbohydrates, protein and fats, have on the body. Pupils learn about health and safety in the kitchen, including food hygiene.

Product Design

This module consists of 3 separate projects: pupils work individually to design and make a Point of Sale display stand that will be used to promote a product in a shop. They also design and make a scale model of a sofa in order to understand how design movements and anthropometric data influence the size and shape of products. Pupils also work in groups to design and make scale models of bridges and test them to destruction to see which has the best strength to weight ratio. In the development of their bridge designs pupils also use software to model and test the effectiveness of different structures.

Resistant Materials

Pupils work in woods, plastics and various modelling materials to design and make a moving toy (automata) and a passive amplifier/speaker for a smartphone or mp3 player. They are taught to work safely with a wide range of hand tools, workshop machinery and CAD/CAM equipment, including the laser cutter.

Textiles Technology

Pupils learn a range of construction processes working in a variety of fabrics. These include marking out, cutting and stitching. They also learn a variety of decorative techniques including tie-dying and applique. They design and make a “Bed Buddy” which is a soft toy for a person of their choice and in doing so explore a range of strategies for creative design.

Years 9, 10 and 11

Pupils can opt to study a Technology subject as a GCSE in years 9, 10 and 11 by choosing from Electronics, Engineering, Food, Graphics and Packaging, Resistant Materials and Textiles. All of these subjects are assessed through a combination of Non-Exam Assessment (or NEA) which consists of design, written and practical tasks that take place throughout the course, and an examination which is taken at the end of year 11. For pupils currently in Years 10 and 11, the Controlled Assessment counts for 60% of the final GCSE grade, with the final exam accounting for the remaining 40%. For pupils in year 9 and below the weighting of the NEA will vary between 40% and 60% depending on the subject. As you can see, it is therefore vital that pupils apply themselves to the best of their abilities throughout these courses in order to maximise their chances of success.

Enrichment

We offer lots of opportunities for pupils to participate further in all of our subjects. All teachers run sessions at lunchtimes and after school to enable pupils to attend clubs. Sometimes pupils wish to spend additional time on projects they are undertaking in lessons and sometimes they may wish to try something new in order to further their understanding of the subject and develop their skills even more. The faculty also provides numerous opportunities for trips and other competitions outside of school.

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