Top marks for content

17th March 2006 at 00:00
Bill Richmond describes comprehensive, highly visual resources to inspire young children and boost students' grades

GCSE DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY FOR AQA: Textiles Technology Student Book. By Rose Sinclair and Geoff Hancock Heinemann, pound;12.99


START-UP DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY SERIES. Evans Brothers, pound;10.99 each

Textiles Technology supports students in developing skills that facilitate the creation of ideas and building on them as well as the planning and making of products and their evaluation - all requirements of the key stage 4 national curriculum and the criteria of assessment in design and technology.

Although we reviewed the book as an unpublished proof-page, the pages were colourful and easily assimilated through clear, spacious design and headed topics. Each chapter includes an introductory round-up of the contents and is subdivided with numbered sections.

A basic introduction covers design principles, the use of colour and fashion considerations, but rapidly expands to the use of textiles for use in interiors and furnishings, and culminates in a series of exam questions which enable students to reflect on what has been learned.

The book is so comprehensive and carefully matched to the syllabus that it is hard to imagine how a diligent student who follows the guidance and the detail given would not score highly. The page design features boxes that relate the topic to coursework tips and activities, with a bullet-pointed summary at the end of each chapter.

Without question, the relevance of the content is excellent and should prove to be an effective guide, highlighting all that is necessary for gaining high grades.

Understanding Industrial Practices in Textiles contains a wealth of information aimed at a KS4 or KS5, and is presented in a spiral-bound format with 140 black and white pages. The first 75 or so pages are dedicated to an A-Z approach in which topics within the subject are examined in detail - often in a bullet-pointed manner following a paragraph or two of text. Coursework notes are set into the margins and draw students' attention to particular content or to the understanding that's required.

Following the alphabetical display of topics, a short section summarises the coverage that should be read in the GCSE folder work under the headings of "How to manage your coursework project", "What to include in your coursework folder", "How to show evidence of industrial practices" and "How to use systems and control in your coursework".

The remainder of the book is given over to more than 50 numbered worksheets aimed at supporting students in their individual coursework preparation. These focus on issues covered in the A-Z section and expand on them in a way that requires students to undertake particular activities.

The book provides a detailed source of information to support teaching in the subject. All GCSE study requires students to understand the context of their own designs within the framework of manufacturing and a book dedicated to this aspect will undoubtedly support teaching in textiles technology. Within the same series are titles that cover food technology, resistant materials technology and graphic products.

Design and technology at KS1 is well served by the Start-Up series. The books are predominantly illustrated with colourful photos of children involved in the tasks described and cut-outs used to highlight details. These help to make the series a useful working reference for young students asked to complete particular tasks.

The books entitled Playground Equipment, Vehicles, Making Puppets, Houses and Homes, Moving Pictures, and Eating Fruit and Vegetables include a good level of detailed instruction and a series of keywords across the foot of each page. The planning process is also addressed. Each title features a double-page spread at the back that includes a short planning guide for each of the book's sections and gives further information for parents and teachers.

All of the suggestions and activities blend well into the structure of DT teaching that students will experience in later years.

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