Overcome all resistance

11th March 2005 at 00:00
RESISTANT MATERIALS. Lonsdale School Revision Guides and Workbooks, guide pound;3.50, workbook. pound;1.50. Tel: 015395 65921. www.lonsdalesrg.co.uk

BADGER KEY STAGE 3 DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY STARTERS (Years 7 and 8). By Colin Eaton. Badger Publishing, pound;29.50 each. Tel: 01438 356907. www.badger-publishing.co.uk

PRODUCT DESIGN AND FLATPACK FURNITURE. Birchfield Interactive, CD-Rom Pounds 129.95 (plus VAT). Tel: 0845 676 2222. www.birchfieldinteractive.com

Bill Richmond recommends some learning materials for secondary level

The 92-page Resistant Materials introduces students to the requirements of exams and suggests an approach to the production of coursework. It covers the objectives of the work with advice on writing questionnaires, testing materials, producing plans for the making of products, creating varieties of drawings, sketching and rendering.

Detailed sections also cover most of the study requirements of the subject including plastics, manufactured board and metal classifications, manufacturing processes, types of joints, preservatives and among other topics, levers, pulleys and gears.

The excellent student workbook complements the revision guide. It is an ideal homework resource, taking the form of a series of questions with spaces for answers and it covers material under the same headings as in the guide.

The Badger Design and Technology Starters - Year 7 has six sections covering generic starters, food, resistant materials, textiles, systems and controlelectronicsmechanisms and graphics. The book is spiral-bound to allow for easy photocopying and each 10-minute starter has an Objective, Teaching Point and Activity paragraph along with keywords. With several activities involving discussion it may well be that the 10-minutes suggested for some starters is optimistic. However many activities could produce lively discussion and could be an excellent way of introducing the citizenship content of the curriculum.

One example taken from the textiles section invites discussion about six black and white sketches featuring clothes from different countries and asks how these styles may have influenced fashion in our society. Another from the systems and control section asks for a sketch of a domestic living room with places where burglar sensors might be placed. Among the more practical tasks from the graphics starters section is a matching of "cut-out" word cards with similar "cut-out" meanings.

The Year 8 book includes similar tasks drawing on the same discussion potential of sketches. The topics covered are common to many schemes and a book for Year 9 is also about to be published.

Product Design and Flatpack Furniture generated an eager response from colleagues who saw that it was aimed at 14 to 16-year-olds. However although it is certainly of interest to GCSE students I believe it would suit my own Year 7 or 8 groups.

Realistic video illustrating the components and assembly of flatpack is mixed with excellent fun computer-generated video sections illustrating design requirements. As flatpack furniture is a common way of demonstrating computer aided design and computer numerical control at GCSE, the CD may appeal to departments which want to increase their ICT interactive software collection. The CD can be used by individuals and allows the printing of merit cards for good performance in the quiz and test sections. Activities include a hangman-type game in which the students' answers either save, or otherwise, the strapped down Mr Flatpack from the circular saw - his figure edging closer to the revolving blade with each wrong answer... Surely a guaranteed way of eliciting the wrong responses?

There is also a resource CD that provides all the components of the main CD as images, sound files and text so that personalised worksheets can be put together if needed.

Bill Richmond is head of design and technology at St John School, Epping

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