KS4 Electronic Products

A note on the Electronic Products materials.

Out of all of the KS4 materials produced by the Nuffield D&T project, these ones, focused on electronics, have been the most affected by the changes in technology that have occurred in the 15 or so years since they were published. We are pleased that we had the foresight then to ensure that microcontrollers were represented, but they would have a lot more prominence now. And the software tools available to schools then for PCB design, simulation, microcontroller programming and to support CAM for manufacturing were mere shadows of what we have at our disposal now – and they were not widely found in schools. And, of course, new technologies such as e-textiles simply weren’t available to us then.

However we think there is enough residual value in the materials to publish them here for more than just their historical interest.

In particular, many of the activities and the illustrations aimed at supporting student engagement are still worthwhile and we encourage teachers to modernise the activities. For example teachers are free to and cut and paste any useful illustrations into their own resources.

If you do update any of the materials you might like to ask us to host copies of the new materials here so that others may benefit from the developments.

Capability Tasks require students to design and make products that work. These build on the learning experience of Resource Tasks. Capability Tasks meet the designing and making requirements of the Design & Technology National Curriculum. These are organized into lines of interest which limits the sorts of products that students in a class might design and make. This makes the teaching more manageable.

Chooser charts provide information to help students make design decisions within the focus area under consideration

Design Guides deal with the issues that should be considered when designing and making electronic products. They set an ‘exploration’ agenda for the student rather than providing answers. They provide a straightforward way for students to become familiar with areas of the field of design & technology, and help them ensure that important ideas are not overlooked.

Design Strategies provide a set of reading linked to Resource Tasks for each of the following six broad areas of design activity: understanding the user, design briefs and specifications, generating design ideas, developing design ideas, communicating design ideas and evaluating

Resource Tasks are short practical activities to make students think and to help them learn the knowledge and skills they need to design and make really well.

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