D & T Resource of the week 5

Paperclip: Teamwork designing

Secondary Design and Technology

  • The project introduces a brief history of the paperclip via PowerPoint and audio files. Team roles are allocated and groups pass through a process of re-designing, development and alternative functions, culminating in a group evaluation.
  • What is it? - I think if you were to focus on the paperclip element then you would miss the whole point of this project, which in short is targeted squarely at effective teamwork. The objectives of the topic are clearly mapped and all refer to this often overlooked skill. The project is delivered via a series of resources, saved in MP3, PowerPoint and word formats and are both well explained and very easy to follow. If you take some time to read through the PowerPoint, you quickly come to the conclusion that this topic can very easily become student led and that you as the teacher would simply be the facilitator, which is in essence the idea. It is all pretty simple stuff but systemised, timed and considered and will without doubt get your groups working effectively.
  • How could it be used? - This particular project has proved it self very popular with just over 4000 downloads, so it seems a great number of you have already made use of this fantastic resource. The specification for the main design task is quite simple; the students must only use the materials in the paper clip example supplied, any new designs must be able to hold 6 sheets of paper without damaging them and finally any development must have an attractive shape. As yet I have not had time to trial this scheme of work but have had some time to think about how it could be employed in the classroom. I am going to use the exact same structure but not the theme, to get my KS3 groups to do some in depth product analysis of some famous Alessi artefacts. They will have the opportunity to study the Hot Bertaa Kettle and Juicy Salif lemon squeezer, both designed by Philippe Starck. However they will also be afforded access to my own collection of “Family follows Fiction” Alessi kitchen products, all of which have a real playful and fun element to their design and functions. I will be using Accessfm to rate or score the products but use this teamwork topic to help share ideas, form opinions and make structured evaluative judgements. I believe by following the guide set out in this topic I should be in a position to let group leaders emerge but also see teams form or even observe the student as teacher.
  • How have you used this resource? As stated I have not yet had the opportunity to use this scheme but look forward to doing so in the near future. I would hazard a guess and say that a number of teachers who have downloaded the resource have altered the theme but this in no way detracts from the raisen d’être of the piece. I will leave you with some of the feedback given by the end users;


    “Wonderful resource, Tried it with year 8…Product Design-They loved it!”
    “Wow! Thank You and Phew! This was downloaded in a moment of… desperation as we are ‘between’ projects and Ofsted kindly informed us they would be-a-calling. Anyway, this was so useful we have been inspired to set other similar short focused activities of our own. If they are as good as this then we will upload too! Thank you!”
  • Uploaded by texman

All D & T Resources of the Week

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TES Secondary D&T teaching resources