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Ministry of Education.
Kaua e rangiruatia te hāpai o te hoe; e kore tō tātou waka e ū ki uta

Technological modelling

The purpose of Technological modelling is to support students to test their design ideas, make decisions to make them more successful, and begin to understand the wider impact of their outcome.

There are two types of technological modelling:

  • Functional modelling is the ongoing testing of design concepts (ideas) to see if they work/function as intended
  • Prototyping (literally, “creating the first of a kind”) is the realisation of a fully functioning model using the actual materials

Taken together, the two types of modelling provide evidence of factors that may impact on, and consequences that may result from, the student developing a technological outcome.

When students undertake Technological modelling you should see two kinds of reasoning or critical thinking:

  • Functional reasoning – how to make it happen, how it is happening
  • Practical reasoning – should we make it happen? should it be happening?

Related resources

Indicators of progression

Indicators of progression

The indicators of progression describe the knowledge, skills, and understandings that students should be demonstrating in the Technological modelling component of the Technology learning area.

Indicators are provided for each level of the curriculum and are accompanied by guidance for teachers.


Technological modelling

In these videos students talk about functional modelling and how they used modelling in their projects.

Teaching snapshots 

Exploring modelling in practice and materials understandings: Creating a shade house

Students at Te Kura o Otangarei used modelling in cardboard to design a shade house.

Liquid nitrogen ice cream for a food market vendor

A year 13 student created functional models and a prototype for an easily transported ice cream maker.

Student showcase

Koru pāua measurement tool

A keen recreational diver and year 13 technology student developed a tool to measure pāua. The project required extensive functional modelling.

Technology in the School Journal and Connected 

"Talking to the River", School Journal, level 3, June 2018

This story is about collaborating to gather river pollution data. Use the story to look at prototyping and functional models.

Technological modelling: Key ideas (Word 2007, 60 KB)

Acknowledgment: This paper is derived from an earlier version by Dr Vicki Compton and Cliff Harwood.

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