The pages are designed to follow the principle of teaching being done in three parts comprising: an introduction, main activity and a plenary.

To help with this each page is started with an outline of the learning objectives and purpose for undertaking the task.

The main activity is differentiated in some way and there is often an extension task. The plenary is done by the teacher to reinforce the learning objectives. If this is the general approach to the booklets then they will work well.


It is understood that the teacher will use these booklets to assist their teaching. For example before students do the tool theory page it is expected that they would have done a little FPT to test and try out the material. It is good practice for students to try out practical tasks in order to fully understand what is possible before designing. For example a Christmas tree could be cut out of aluminium and centre punched as a small practice task prior to designing the candle holders.

Whilst the average child will be able to work mostly independently through the booklets, to aid good learning, it is recommended that the teacher goes through the text with them.

Some exercises are designed to introduce concepts to pupils. For example an orthographic drawing cannot be fully grasped on one page but by doing a simple exercise and learning the name of the drawing system the students become familiar and are more able to learn more detail at a later date.

Teacher Booklet Tips

Because the booklets contain instruction and are whole projects the teacher needs only to turn to the correct page and go through the work with the students. In this sense teacher notes are mainly to give extra support and ensure the booklets are used to full effect. Some support companies provide teacher notes separately and for extra cost. Booklet Education projects are fully contained and do not need much by way of support. However, the following information gives a general guide for the standard pages contained within the booklets.

1. General:

  • In general one or two pages are designed to last a lesson. All tasks are fully explained to enable the more independent children to get ahead.
  • The best way to maximise understanding is to read through all the instructions with the children before starting.
  • Most pages have extension tasks for those who need more difficult activities or to consolidate what has been covered.
  • Many of the tasks are designed so they can be done in class or as homework. For flexibility the typical homework pages have not been titled as such so you can choose which ones to use.
  • At the bottom of many of the pages are check boxes. They are designed to help remind the children of things which need to be done and act as an aid for a plenary. They can also be used to ring with a question mark if they are not covered. This saves the teacher time writing the same things over and over again.
  • Progression: each project has similar tasks e.g. specification, design ideas etc. These are all done in a different way to help children understand the various ways to achieve the same result. For example the first booklet gives the specification by way of crossing off the unlikely points and listing which ones are left. As the booklets progress the specification will be drafted using the conclusions from a questionnaire. Likewise the design ideas pages become more open with check boxes being used for year nine students. One point to note is that the tasks are designed to develop skills necessary for GCSE requirements. This way activities such as drafting a questionnaire or ensuring that ideas are annotated to suit a specification are not unfamiliar to students.
  • SEN usage- At present many children who struggle with writing have to copy many notes form books or off the board. This has been addressed to a certain extent because the text is provided and answers require only a sentence or two. Also it is often the case that the SEN department want material to help students with. Using the booklets means that this can be provided in advance. In practice this has had positive results and comments from the SEN department have backed this up. Here are a few of the advantages: Students who cannot write can go through the material and therefore have access to the curriculum whether or not the specialist teacher is present. EFL students can use the booklets at home to work out what is required or take them to discuss with an interpreter. Students with visual problems are more difficult to cater for. However, as the material is provided up front, each page can be enlarge to A3 or used with a magnifying glass. Because the booklets have the content provided dyslexic children have more time to look at a words. You can also buy coloured transparencies to help dyslexic students read the text. Please look at the SEN link on the website for more information (this link will be up now or very soon).

2. Booklet Management. First few pages- NC Guide, Intro and Brief:
The first lesson is best spent going through the booklet and how it is used. This also includes covering the NC guide, and brief. You may want to mention that using felt pens will show through to the next page and that students need to bring them to the next lesson without exception (I find that this is not usually the case and the booklets are cheap to produce so there is no incentive for students to loose them. Have a few copies of the booklets/page you will cover just in case).
The NC guide page is designed for target setting. It is a good idea to explain and set targets each stage of the design process e.g. research targets at the beginning of the project. Going through it all in one go makes it difficult for the pupils to understand and remember. Note that the levels are clearly incremented. At levels 3, for example, students will only need to show ideas whereas at level four students will need to do a basic model and be able to explain their final idea. It is recognised that, as the levels are very broad, students don't easily fit into a specific level. This is especially disappointing for students who can clearly see that their work is of a much higher standard than someone else on the same level. For such reasons the project level has been further categorised to help distinguish those who are bordering the level (Working Towards), those who have met the average in that level (Met) and those who are close to moving up a level (High). This will also help students see progress throughout the year as opposed to the end of the year.
There is a short list of typical targets on the brief page. These help the children and the teacher choose goals prior to starting the project. They can also be encircled to remind students of a weakness which has been highlighted from a previous booklet.
The brief is differentiated so students of all levels have a clear understanding of what they must achieve.
This should all take around one lesson to complete along with demonstrating the practical and going over how you expect the students to use the booklets.

3. Theory page:
The theory page is an introduction to the material/knowledge needed for the area of study. Although this page provides good information on its own, it is recommended that students are shown physical examples of materials and that concepts are discussed. Reading through the page with the students tends to get good results. QA interaction referring to the text and what it means is very a good way to cover the new KS3 initiative. The result of this is that most of the class tend to get full marks which is always good for self confidence.

4. Theory questions:
The questions on this page are designed to help students consolidate what has been learnt. All the answers should be found within the text of the previous page. If extra information is needed it is most likely found in the Colins CDT foundation book. So if the students have to find answers to a quiz etc, they'll find it in this book. However, some extension work is designed to get students looking further a field (theory and questions should take approximately one lesson- this includes time spent reading it through and discussing issues with the students).

5. Surveys & Specification:
The surveys are designed to help generate the specification. Students often need help to ensure they see the connection to the specification. It is also a good opportunity to explain how restrictions on materials and so on effect specifications.
The specification pages are designed differently for each booklet and get harder as the booklets progress. Whatever the case, it is recognised that a specification is a difficult concept for the students so there is always enough guidance for students to list at least five points. They only need to look at the points raised in the instructions or previous pages. Obviously this part of the booklet will need teacher encouragement. Try to encourage good practice by asking students to give reasons for their answers.
The extension answers for more possible specifications, not in the text, can be found in the Booklet Answers (survey should take one lesson and the specification half a lesson).

6. Research:
The research comes in different forms and any design preparation; surveys, measurements and visual material gathered should be seen as evidence towards gaining a good NC level. Doing these pages is seen as gathering a range of research. Especially for the early years it is not always relevant to gather pictures of similar objects so judge their NC level by the rest of their research. As the booklets progress they do require students to investigate other products. Visual research and investigating other products is a good HW.

7. Drawing pages:
These are self-explanatory. The drawing exercises are designed as a starting point and to familiarise students with the drawing systems. Staff can then do more drawing work if necessary. They are also created to help the average student cope but tend to have an extension or natural progression to stretch the more able 3D thinker e.g. 'try to visualise and draw a plan view or angled writing on an oblique drawing etc. Encourage students to add colour and make materials look realistic.

8. Design:
It is recommended that students do a small practical task prior to carrying out design. Here is a list of small practicals from each booklet:
Pen holder- key fob and card modelling will suffice.
Candle Holder- Christmas tree with centre punch detail.
Frame- there is a FPT to test joints on page 7.
Mechanism- Card modelling will suffice e.g. a lever mechanism.
Injection mould- A simple given shape could be cut out of a piece of metal. However, for this project, the development is quite comprehensive ensuring the design works.
Packaging- get them to make card slot models of the animals. And get them to produce a slot joint in wood to see how the measurements can be altered e.g. slot only on one part or the same length slot divided by two parts.
Smart Material- as this is a graphics based project only a first rough model is necessary to check what can be altered.
Casting- mainly done through modelling e.g. make a model of jewellert and a 'reverse' of the design to show what the mould will look like.
Structures- get individuals to build paper bridges and straw bridges. Or get them to use a few pieces of paper to build a structure which will not collapse when a weight is dropped on it from one meter high. One challenge is to give them one piece of A4 paper and ask them to build a structure to protect a Malteser from an weight dropping onto it from ½m. if they succeed they get to eat it and an extra one.
Watch- make and test joints e.g. a dowel joint, comb joint, strip heater bend etc.

Some design pages have examples on them to help explain to students how to layout and annotate their work. These are designed to ensure that children cover the NC and get into the habit of adding notes. It helps to let the children know about the check boxes at the bottom of the page. You can also ring them with question marks or ticks as a reminder to students as to how well they have covered this part of the project (design pages should take around one lesson to do or they can be given as homework).

7. Development / Final design pages:
If a booklet has development pages ensure that material for modelling etc is available. Encourage students to ensure they fully explain their idea and draw it neatly (many pages have faint grid lines to help them present their ideas well. It is also good practice for students to produce drawings using isometric paper and then paste it into the booklet- these pages should take around one lesson each).

9. Modelling page:
Children often forget to fix their card models to the page. This page has been designed for them to record their modelling experience and to get them in to practicing good GCSE skills (allow approximately one lesson for this activity).

10. Tools/safety theory:
Children often need encouragement to do the list of safety precautions on this page. The best way to get the most from this page is to do a practice practical task, in one or two lessons, prior to designing. This allows them to learn about the tools and recognise them. A simple material shaping is often all that is necessary (allow one lesson for the short practical and approximately one lesson for the tool page).

11. Planning page/s:
The planning is designed to allow students to gain an appropriate NC level. Students who listen and take notes when doing the short practical prior to designing will be able to predict problems. However, the early booklets are designed mainly to help students understand the concept of planning. For such reasons they may be asked to simply work out the best order of making their product and what safety considerations may be needed. As the booklets progress the planning gets more complex and introduces timing, resources etc (depending on the type of planning activity this page can last half or a full lesson so spend time reminding them of the alternatives if things go wrong and what they need to consider etc).

12. Vocabulary pages:
The earlier booklets cover this over two pages to help the younger students become more associated with using D&T terms. This takes around half a lesson to do and can be set as a homework. If it needs to last for a whole lesson for cover then get the children to do the extension task (the early booklets do not have an extension. If this is the case they can look for bold words within the text of the booklet and start a glossary). There is time to mark it in class and it gives them a chance to have the words reiterated and explained more.
As the projects progress the students find the word for the meaning and then have to find the meanings of ten extra words. This is designed to make them more active at understanding terms and meanings (this is a good homework page but can be done in class and will last around one lesson if the words are checked in class).

13. Evaluation:
The evaluations are designed to get the children into the practice of referring to the specification and checking to see if they have kept on course with the brief. Again as the projects progress the questions become more open and less guided. Whichever the case they follow the NC guidelines to ensure students can attain an appropriate level. To help remind students of how well they did during the making there is a space allocated for a practical mark at the bottom of this page (if the page requires them to copy the specification it will last one lesson but if it is an open specification encourage them to write full sentences and spend time reflecting with them to ensure they do a thorough job).

14. Word and Extension pages:
These pages are designed especially for those students who get ahead, need extending or for easy cover work. Leave these pages until last and remind students not to do them unless instructed. If there is a crossword in the booklet this could be used as an end-of-projects test. Answers to all these pages are in the Answers files (each page should last around one lesson)

15. Blank pages:
Use these for extension work and any of your own creative input.

16. Resource page:
Use this page to remind pupils of the options available e.g. books web pages etc. the bottom of the page is blank for you to add resources specific to your school/department e.g. certain books or shared CDs available in the library or computer suits.

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