At Key Stage 3, work is completed in units of approximately nine weeks and each unit is taught by specialist teachers in specialist rooms designed for; electronics, food, design, metal and wood craft. Students follow activities that encourage rapid progression from Key Stage two to the higher attainment grades at Key Stage three. Student progress is tracked in order to help teachers to set targets. These targets are reported home and written onto students’ folders. Homework is set regularly - helping to develop students’ knowledge and to prepare them for lessons e.g. research.
Resistant Materials - Product Design
Students create a display or storage project in Year 7 based on their own design development. This is made using wood as the main material. They also produce a second project which develops the design and craft skills learnt in project one. An emphasis is made on the safe use of equipment and personal responsibility when using tools at all times. Projects may include a maze game and a desk tidy in plastic and in wood.
In Year 8, students design and make a mechanical or moving toy from wood and plastic. In this project a variety of mechanical components are created, to form a moving toy or animation. They can also make a novelty toy race car made from wood with the option of using plastics and card to enhance its appearance. A child’s seat is also made if students prefer a change. The most able students can opt for more complex projects with the agreement of the teacher. All students are expected to develop and adapt there own designs.
During Year 9, students design and make projects such as a; wooden storage project, plastic name plate or mirror project. Some students move onto making toys or novelty small clock or a lamp project. The most able students often follow a more complex project with the support of the teacher, who will agree the final design to be made. All students are expected to develop and adapt there own designs.
Textiles - Product Design (Soft Materials)
In Year 7, students are tasked with making a fabric cover for a book or bunting, using recycled fabrics and the various textile machines available - with safety being a high priority. All students are expected to develop and adapt there own designs.
Projects for students in Year 8 include: making toy aliens and iPod holders using textiles and LED lights, fabric covered mini storage boxes, frames, and even mini stools. Using newly acquired design skills, students can print their own fabric using computer aided design and manufacturing. Students look at all cultures for influences on their designs. An electronic light, sounders, or a melody is available on some projects depending on individual choice and progress. For students that show particular interest and ability, a more complex project can be undertaken with the teachers’ agreement.
Using sustainable and eco-friendly materials, students in Year 9 design and make cushions, or novelty covers. The skills learnt in Year 7 and 8 are used to make a creative and unique product. Once certain skills have been learnt, students often move on to more complex projects such as a fabric covered clock face with added embellishments.
Multi-materials - Product Design
As an introductory project in Year 7, students develop new skills in computer aided design; they then use these skills to make a small wooden or plastic project using the laser cutter. Craft skills and knowledge of basic electronics, are encouraged through the creation of a unique project such as a storage item, display device, or an electrical powered cooling fan, or game. These projects are designed by the students themselves and a complex, but achievable solution is encouraged. A more complex project for the most able students can also be followed.
Using a range of electronic components and plastic forming techniques, students in Year 8 design and build a simple electronic circuit project such as a light or heat sensor, or even a steady hand game. The more complex circuits use programmable components and all circuits are packaged using a variety of craft skills and modern techniques including: using a CAD card cutter/plotter and the newly purchased industrial standard vacuum forming plastics machine. A more complex project for the most able students can also be followed.
With the use of computers, students design and make more complex products such as a piece of jewellery or a small toy. As a second stage of the project, a suitable storage container is made using a variety of craft skills in woods, plastics and metals. Electronic circuits are also used to make items such as night lights or mood lights. The emphasis this year is to focus on the types of skills that will be needed in GCSE Product Design such as drawing/designing skills. A more complex project for the most able students can also be followed.