This set of teaching materials comes with the authority of the Design and Technology Association and has the feel and appearance of a substantial work by experienced teachers.
The bright and colourful textbook, with its accompanying ring-binder of lesson notes, appears to follow the format that has made so many teaching schemes successful in recent years. The textbook is richly illustrated with examples that would take any teacher hours to find from other sources, and the pupils' worksheets include realistic tasks and activities.
But this is not at all typical of other teaching schemes, because it is possible to customise all the pupil worksheets to make them relevant to every situation. For teachers who want to make the activities more challenging, here is the opportunity to add extra questions or delete parts that are not needed. The modified worksheets can then be printed and photocopied, or pupils can do their work on screen and save it for marking electronically. Each spread in the textbook is a self-contained lesson plan.
The format uses headings such as objectives, key words, and plenary. These constitute a sound structure for teaching the topics and they are supported by good background information in words and pictures.
Bullet-point lists are used throughout and the style is conversational and suitable for medium-ability key stage 3 pupils.
All the familiar topics are here, such as material properties, structures and mechanisms, but they are supported by lessons on the newer topics of "just-in-time production" and CADCAM. The colour illustrations are first class. The photographs are arresting and there are many airbrushed 3D drawings. It is clear that a great deal of thought has gone into creating materials that are attractive to KS3 children and many departments will find them a useful resource. Create! Product Design is part of a series that also includes volumes on textiles and food technology.
Simon Smith is head of design and technology at Colfe's School, London