Inventor's Workshop is an activity plan for young students of design
technology. It is made up of a series of Modules which provide practical
Students as young as 7 years old can work on the modules. However, you can use the materials with older students who lack design technology experience. For example one teacher used Module 1 with 13 year old students in a gifted program. She did the 8 lessons in two sessions. The complete Workshop contains more Modules than most school programmes need. This lets you adapt the materials to suit your curriculum needs, student interest and personal preference.
Each module contains:
Circumstances may present you with an ideal context. In this case adapt the Modules to suit your purpose. However, the Workshop provides a context through a series of stories: "The Adventures of Hilary". Hilary lives in the world of Mechanasia, a world of mechanical and technological creatures. She is an apprentice in the Guild of Engineers. With her robot, Oilyrag, she learns about technology through a series of adventures. As she learns so do the students.
This sheet is intended to provoke students into thinking of different solutions. At the same time it provides the less experienced, confident or less creative pupil with an image of something they could try and do.
These cards provide practical technical knowledge. For example if you try and make an axle spin it involves the idea of a bearing (this might be as simple as a hole in a piece of wood). Module 1: The Apprentice's Soap Box Derby (Wheels and Axles) presents Bearings as one of its Knowledge Sheets. Knowledge of bearings is useful for other projects like Module 2: The Great Fete (Levers) and Module 3: Loch Ness Monster (Cams). This is an example of transferable technology. A process which the cards support. Literally you can take the card from one project and copy it to support another Module.
Links with Maths, Science and Literacy
Each Module provides an opportunity to link technology to maths, science or literacy. You cannot teach these subjects via technology, but you can reinforce them. Many students struggle with maths, science, or literacy because they don"t relate to the subject matter In general kids love technology (statistics show that truancy from technology lessons is the lowest of all subjects). Linking the students fascination with technology and the excitement of making something brings these subjects to life.
These Workcards are guides. Written by experienced teachers they show their approach to the Module. No two teachers are the same. No teaching situation is the same. We expect you will modify the approach to suit your needs.
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