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Years 7-9 (Key Stage 3)
Year 7 students undertake two projects in Product Design. The first is a Graphics module which aims to improve sketching ability, both in 2D and 3D. When working through the exercises, students learn about guidelines, crating and how to scale drawings. They also learn how to construct accurate ellipses, and how to render block shapes to resemble various materials. By the end of the project students usually have a good foundation of drawing skills, which are further developed throughout Key Stage 3.
During the second project students learn about health and safety, completing a number of short practical tasks to develop competence with the workshop tools and equipment. They design and manufacture a pewter cast key fob, completion of which requires use of basic hand tools. They also learn how to use a CAD package (2D Designer) during the development stages of the project, so that their moulds can be manufactured using the laser cutter.
The theory work in Year 7 covers hardwoods and softwoods, types of metals and casting processes.
Year 8 students continue to develop their DT skills through the design and manufacture of an LED Night Light. Successful completion of this project requires high levels of accuracy, so that all sections of the lamp will hold together without using any glue (friction-fit joints). Therefore, students must pay careful attention to detail when measuring and marking out their materials. The use of modelling and making card templates is encouraged during the project and in addition, correct handling of tools and work-holding are also key areas of focus.
In Design Technology lessons, students regularly apply knowledge from other subject areas such as Chemistry and Physics, when analysing materials or solving engineering problems. In this project, they must use a mathematical formula to calculate the net for their lampshades, in order to draw the exact shape required. The lampshades are often further developed using the laser cutter, or the Roland CAMM1 vinyl cutter, to enhance surface decoration.
The theory work in Year 8 covers material properties and material applications.
Year 9 students undertake an extended project in Product Design, covering the whole design process, from the initial research stages right through to evaluation. Successful completion of the project requires them to undertake investigation work, and to further develop their design skills and proficiency with CAD software.
Whilst the project theme may vary, students are usually required to use the laser cutter and various thermo-forming techniques, in order to produce a plastic product that would be suitable for mass-production. In recent years, they have made mobile phone holders (or similar small storage units) and wall mounted clocks.
The theory work in Year 9 covers classification of different plastics and how simple plastic products are mass-produced in Industry. Key to this project, it is vital that they demonstrate creativity and the ability to work independently, in preparation for GCSE level study.
Years 10-11 (GCSE)
Year 10 GCSE students at Westholme can specialise in either Product Design or Textiles, under the new AQA 9-1 GCSE Design Technology specification.
During Year 10, all students undertake the same short projects (regardless of their specialism) which help to develop new skills such as electronics and programming. They will also study new and emerging technologies, learning about how industry affects the environment and the steps designers can take to make their products more sustainable.
Students will also continue to develop skills in their main area of study, using 3D CAD software (AutoDesk Inventor) and the 3D Printer to produce more complex products. Recent projects undertaken have included mechanical iris clocks, tubular lamps and novelty packaging.
During Year 11, students spend the Autumn Term working on their NEA project (Non Examined Assessment) which accounts for 50% of the total GCSE marks. The project topic is chosen from a list of exam board set tasks, which must be completed in 35 hours, including a concise design folio and finished product. The Spring Term is used for exam preparation.
Recent GCSE project work in Product Design has included a safety device for tensioning boats sails, desk lamps, an educational storage unit for young children, a ceiling lampshade and a Pop-Art inspired wall unit.
As Westholme is an Arkwright Affiliated School, all GCSE Design Technology students are encouraged to apply for Scholarship, if they are intending to pursue a career in design or engineering.
The Scholarships are awarded through rigorous selection to high-calibre students to support them through their A Levels. Students apply during Year 11 before taking their GCSE exams and Scholarships begin at the start of Year 12 and Year 13, consisting of an annual financial award to the Scholar and to her/his school, and a range of enrichment activities that increase a Scholar’s understanding of engineering and the world of work, such as mentoring and industry visits.
Please visit www.arkwright.org.uk for further information.
Engineering Club runs during Wednesday lunchtimes for all Key Stage 3 students, where they can take part in a range of design and make activities. This year, students have manufactured rubber band powered aircraft, Archimedes screws, headphone wraps and fidget spinners. Last year they also entered the Shell Bright Ideas Challenge and next year, we intend to enter a team for the Denford F1 in Schools competition.
Our students always take part in the annual BAE Rotary Technology Tournament where this year, they had to design a motor powered vehicle that could travel along a length of PVC pipe to clear a blockage, and then return to the starting position.
Students had only limited materials including timber strips, card and lengths of wire from which to manufacture their vehicles. They also had to produce a short design folio, showing how they developed their idea. All students worked well during the day, with each given specific responsibilities within their teams.
Please see this article for further information, http://www.westholmeschool.com/news-blog-layout/6020-technology-challenge.html