The very model of a package

14th March 1997 at 00:00
IT in D T - The Modelling Pack Pounds 25 Age group: KS3 National Council for Educational Technology, Milburn Hill Road, Science Park, Coventry CV4 7JJ Tel: 01203 416994.

This pack was funded by the Department for Education and Employment to support modelling in design and technology. It is the result of a collaboration between the National Council for Educational Technology, the Design and Technology Association and the National Association of Advisers and Inspectors in Design and Technology.

The attractive pack opens up to show teachers' materials and activity cards for pupils. They each have five main areas: generating and clarifying ideas; developing ideas; simulating and testing ideas; communicating ideas; and evaluating ideas. The teachers' materials identify the appropriate use of IT at each stage, include a case study, raise classroom management issues and explain how the activity cards involve the use of food, construction, electronics, structures and mechanisms and textiles.

The 25 colour-coded activity cards are well-produced, with a good balance of information, graphics and white space. A wide range of modelling techniques are addressed and the pack keeps key stage 3 children in mind.

The ideas include a brief to design a new all-weather casing for a mobile phone for outdoor use by walkers and climbers; a bicycle light that lights automatically in darkness and when the bike is moving; and a cost-effective filo recipe that could be batch produced. The ideas will appeal to a wide range of pupils across the breadth of DT. The highly practical classroom activities will also find favour with teachers keen for help in this important area.

The activities seem to be within the reach of most technology departments in terms of resourcing and try to place modelling into a practical context. They emphasise the uses of IT, eg using databases, producing questionnaires, visualising and manipulating images on screen in ways that would be constrained under more traditional methods. If you need help in this area, then this pack of activities, ideas and a useful further reading list would be well worth a look.

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