Design decision time

27th June 2003 at 01:00
A key skill in primary Damp;T is being able to select the right material or component for a particular job. One way of teaching this is to present children with a simple problem-solving scenario. For example, many find it difficult to select the right piece of wood for a specific purpose, and often waste time sawing large pieces when a smaller one can easily be cut to length.

For the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority's unit 3D, in which pupils are required to make a picture frame, I show the class a rectangle of card and tell them that a piece of wood is needed to border one edge to begin the frame. I present four options: a large, wide piece of wood; a long piece that's the right width; a piece that's the right length, but too wide; and a piece that's too short. The children have to choose one and justify their reasoning.

Here are some other scenarios, with the QCA units in brackets: lplaygrounds (1B) - children select the best object for the beam of a see-saw. They can choose from a lolly stick, a piece of card, a thick plank of wood, some fabric and a Lego beam.

lvehicles (2A) - choose from Blu-Tak, tape, glue or a piece of plastic tubing to stop a wheel slipping off an axle.

lstorybooks (4B) - select paper, thin card, medium card or thick card to make a pop-up mechanism.

Responses can be written in a chart with three columns: task, best material, and why.

Andy Seed, primary supply teacher and PGCE tutor in primary Damp;T, Leeds University Damp;TSubject Focus, pages 32-37

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now