In previous years, Christine worked with Simon, her colleague at the Technology Centre, to ensure that students learnt about all eight components of the three strands in the technology learning area during their two years at the centre. As part of this, she also wanted to ensure that students were gaining an understanding of how the new concepts they were learning applied in both classrooms regardless of context. The year 7 students worked in the resistant materials workroom in terms 1-2 on two units in which they covered and were assessed on brief development, planning for practice, technological systems and technological modelling.
In planning her year 7 programme, Christine decided to develop a technology booklet. Having the worksheet activities collated would, she thought, help her students to better understand the concepts they were being introduced to because they could easily glance back at what they had previously done.
Creating the technology booklet was a reversal of how teachers often plan a unit. Rather than deciding on a context and then working out how it fitted various learning area components, Christine instead focused on the learning area components she wanted her year 7 students to understand and developed a one-term unit around them. She wanted to teach the technological products and the characteristics of technology components in a materials unit. She planned some lessons around materials and their properties, and technological outcomes in the past and present. Having established this focus, she then considered ideas for a project in which students could apply what they had learnt when developing an outcome.
Developing a figurine
As Christine thought about what her students could develop using hand-sewing skills, a figurine project evolved. She didn’t want to teach sewing machine skills because she felt that, “You can potentially lose a lot of time through focusing on machine skills. I really wanted to focus on technological products and I wanted the students to use a variety of materials rather than just fabric. They might use very little fabric or none at all.” She therefore decided that the students could develop a figurine, which would involve them in developing understandings of performance properties of materials and how this influenced how they can be manipulated across a variety of materials.