Designed to make life easier

29th April 2005 at 01:00
Paul Talbot welcomes a time-saving pack

Tackling Technology - Design and Technology for 7-11 year olds Teachers Guide paperback pound;4.50 Set of 10 resource packs pound;34.95, DVD pound;29 From Channel 4 www.channel4.comlearningshop or the Design and Making Centre Tel: 01209 719354 Email:

You are probably well acquainted with this scenario: you have to teach a design and technology project and there is limited time to collate materials that are exciting and will help pupils.

Before you hit the search engine again, here is an alternative. Tackling Technology - Design and Technology for 7-11 year olds is split into three parts: a teacher's guide; pack of A4 coloured resource sheets; and a DVD.

Individually they are valuable, but together in one affordable package they become a powerful tool to raise DT standards in primary schools.

The teachers' guide contains projects relating to food, textiles and resistant materials, with a suggested sequence of approaches to each topic.

Each topic follows a similar structure incorporating key concepts and vocabulary, design briefs, generating ideas, modelling, testing and evaluating. There is a focus on speaking and listening, giving you suggestions for question and answer sessions about the DVD. At the back are tables showing designing and making level descriptors to help assessment.

I particularly like the way it gives you prompts for questioning pupils, for example, in the Yoghurt project: does the colour of the yoghurt always give an accurate clue about the flavour? As a non-food specialist, I would not normally think to ask this, but it opens up some interesting discussions.

Linked to the guide are the resource packs. These A4 sheets are excellent for group reference. Each contains photographs of the topics, style and format suggestions, and informative drawings showing examples.

There is a good balance between literacy content and visual information with thought-provoking annotations at each stage. The icing on the cake is the DVD. Each topic has historical and geographical references with links to science and art. Again it follows a set format, modelling the design process, putting each topic into context, and using real-life situations.

The use of humour makes it something children will enjoy. The DVD encourages discussion, with realistic examples of children's work, along with their commentary.

These resources are a good alternative to the QCA scheme of work. Taken straight from the national curriculum documents, I feel it encourages a more creative and inspiring approach to design technology.

Paul Talbot is a DT advanced skills teacher at Woodfield School, Kingsbury, London

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