KS4 Product Design

A note on the Product Design materials

Although published 15 years ago we think there is enough residual value in the materials to publish them here for more than just their historical interest. The emphasis on designing products that meet users needs is as relevant today as it was then. Of course some of the materials can be improved through the addition of recent developments in product design. Making in capability tasks can be enhanced through the availability of laser cutters and 3D printers for example. These can enable the production of complex forms that can be complete items in their own right as in body adornment or simple toys or as fixtures, fittings or components that can be used in more complicated products. The inclusion of simple programmeable electronics via the use of Pickaxe or Arduino will improve upon hardwired possibilities. We believe that those activities and 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, one for each line of interest, deal with the issues that should be considered when designing and making within that line of interest. 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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