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News & Views is published by the
Technology Enhancement Programme at the
Edited by Nick Baldwin
TEP @NEC 2003 Preview ···› 2
WELCOME TO ISSUE 7 Teaching Resources Update ···› 4
OF TEP NEWS AND VIEWS Design Decisions in DMA’s ···› 6
Gatsby Teacher Fellowships ···› 8
We hope you are reading this sometime before the D&T with ICT show at the NEC.
If you are able, do try and join us at the NEC show that runs from the 27th-29th Phone PIC - TEP’s latest low cost programmer ···› 9
November. Shipston High School - a Millennium experience ···› 10
Inside this issue: We preview the D&T with ICT show, products and resources and feature The Smallpeice Trust ···› 12
some exciting news articles from new contributors and some quite outstanding work from PICAXE programming with John Cook ···› 14
one Warwickshire school following the TEP Millennium Schools Programme. Some
Aroma Fan - the smell of success ···› 16
interesting views on rocket engineering are also featured, looking at how we can integrate
maths and science activity. TEP’s latest product the revolutionary Phone PIC is featured, Young Engineer for Britain ···› 19
as well as a new series introducing PICAXE programming as a regular feature. Good Effective Practice at Key Stage 3 ···› 20
classroom practice and pupil success is a strong feature of this issue too, with a
celebratory look at work from a number of TEP’s partner’s including Young Engineer for This is Rocket Science ···› 22
Britain and The Smallpeice Trust. Inside next issue / INSET / Joining TEP ···› 24
The new products from Teaching Resources are as stunning as ever with ‘rare earth’
magnets and ‘super’ capacitors introduced to name just a few. Jenny Dein’s article on the
Aroma Fan project is exciting and will have wide appeal and challenge for pupils and
students of all ages. For teachers with new ideas and teaching methods, who are keen to
develop their work further they should take a look at the Gatsby Teacher Fellowships
page. We also include in this issue some sound ideas on effective practice from DATA and
a useful look at how we plan DMA’s and differentiated opportunities for pupils.
The new look magazine circulation and TEP membership continues to grow. We are really
keen to ensure other colleagues read News & Views in School so please do use the
circulation box at the top of this page. If you are reading this for the first time or it is
arriving in school to the wrong person do let us know by using the coupon on the back
page so you can be added to our mailing list.
Aroma Fan - The ‘Smell’ of Success!
TEP stand at the NEC (Pages 16-18)
D&T with ICT Show
(Pages 2-3) Our best ever
New products Update
NEC ICT SHOW 27TH-29TH NOVEMBER
The Technology Enhancement Programme (TEP) have been
associated with ICHF and the D&T show over many years
and are pleased to celebrate the show’s 26th anniversary.
Visitors to this year’s NEC show should leave themselves
plenty of time to visit our stand. TEP will be featuring the
breadth of support and activities available. Each day will
include ‘on-stand’ clinics for teachers and led by teachers
on CADCAM, Robotics, Desktop Manufacture, Materials
Technologies, Systems and Control and Electronics.
This year TEP feature in the NEC seminar programme with a
particular emphasis on Desktop Manufacturing:
» Desktop Solutions for Designing and Making
14.00 Saturday 29th November
Quality work in Key Stages 3 and 4 is often restricted by poor How the TEP stand
access to resources and the need for low cost, high quality will look at the NEC
D&T with ICT Show
materials and equipment. Part of TEP’s work is to redefine and
exemplify those opportunities and choices available for teachers.
The seminar seeks to review a range of emerging good practice TEP stand floor plan
and strategies for implementing and sustaining, quality making
and ‘desktop’ practice. The presentation will look at the breadth
of coverage and sustainability of projects to energise active
capability in pupils. These new desktop manufacturing ideas and
PIC based ECT resources will be available at the NEC to review
processes will also be presented on the stand throughout the
including PICtalk, developed in collaboration with Salford
University. PICtalk teaches pupils how to communicate data in
digital format using radio waves. It opens up a new area of project
On the afternoon of Friday 28th November TEP will also be
possibilities for pupils. Not only can they learn about the nature
presenting a session on ‘Electronics support for ECT trainers’ on
of digital communication but they can also use it for control or
the DATA stand with an opportunity for trainers to review the
data logging – or even a combination of both.
latest PIC and electronics support materials.
John Cook will be on hand to demonstrate some new PICAXE and
TEP will also be celebrating the work of ‘Millennium’ schools who
Chipfactory ideas and strategies. Frank Muraca will be keenly
have worked on our national project aimed at raising the quality
demonstrating the latest TEP Phone PIC programmer (see page 9
and standard of designing and making at Key Stage 3. The work
of this issue). This is going to be the latest ‘must have’ low cost
has impacted directly on nearly 11,500 pupils during the last
resource for every D&T department. While on the stand take the
three years. Jenny Dein TEP Teaching fellow from Sheffield
opportunity to try out the latest Chip Machine an entry level
Hallam University and Penny Bailey from Shipston High School
keyboard based PIC programmer that avoids the need for
(Her work is featured in this issue) will be enthusing and
software or computers to programme PICs.
providing guidance, ideas and inspiration for all of us on the
projects. They provide useful starting points for project work and
as drop-in focused activities into existing schemes of work.
Visitors to the stand can review the work of the schools,
associated publications and resources and collect copies of the
units of work.
TEP welcomes and supports this year’s seminars by Dr David
Barlex on Electronics in Schools developments. Affordable,
manageable and successful are all TEP hallmarks of our PrESS
(Practical Electronics Support for Schools) resources. Details of
the 2003-2004 Electronics in Schools programme and PrESS
resources will feature on the stand including teaching boards and
PCB kits for a wide range of projects.
Phone PIC - this revolutionary
programmer makes its debut.
Don’t miss it!
Some of the wonderful work from this year’s TDi awards will also be at the
show, celebrating innovation and technology from 13-19 year old students.
The TEP/ MTA TDi design innovation awards were held at the University of
Warwick during the summer were a great success with twelve finalist schools PICtalk - a fantastic Control and
taking part. Entry details of the 2004 Technology Innovation competition will Communication teaching resource kit
also be on the stand.
TEP teacher guidance leaflets on the breadth of resources and support from
TEP are available on the stand including Smart Materials, Emodules,
Electronics, ICT resources, Millennium Projects for Key Stage 3 and exciting
INSET opportunities. The leaflets are a great source of information without
having to ‘dig through’ catalogues and brochures for ideas, products and
sources. Sample bags of the latest ‘Smart’ materials and an introductory PCB
project are also available free during the show. The board is supplied
unpopulated and needs just a transistor and a choice of just a few other
TEP Resource and Support leaflets
You may remember Damian Parker and his students work
The full range of TEP CD-ROM resources will be on display from St Cyres School in the last issue of News and Views.
Some of their work and Damian will be on hand to stimulate
All the CD-ROM titles available from TEP will be available to review the way we plan and teach our Systems and Control
at the show including the most recent title: Introducing courses. Allen Bower from Lady Manners School whose
Manufacturing is designed to support the new 14-19 courses. The CD outstanding work has featured widely during the year will
features manufacturing processes, equipment and supported by in depth join us during the show to provide some great examples of
product and industry case studies. project work and share ideas with colleagues and ITE tutors.
Mark Watson will be steering visitors through the range of TEP’s ICT resources. Martin Clarke AST from Hertfordshire will also be available
We now have 12 titles available covering Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 5 and will to discuss Joint schools collaboration and some of his
be delighted to let you stay all day on the laptop bar working through experience in managing European
exemplars and case studies. We will have available for sale during the show Schools projects.
all the CD-ROM titles.
Mark Harmsworth, new head of D&T at Rhyl High School will be Some exciting new product
‘showing off’ Pandora, his latest robotic creation. As you may know from Teaching Resources
will be demonstrated
Mark has an insatiable appetite for all things robotic and will be keen
to meet all visitors and talk robots! A number of Robotic walkers and
crawlers will also feature with Keiron McGeever who will have a
number of robotic kits to give away on each day of the show and
even the chance to build one during your visit.
TEP are also pleased that Bill Nicholl course leader for the D&T SCITT
Programme at Homerton College, Cambridge University will join us resources
during the show. The established and acclaimed course is now in its
third year and both TEP courseware
and hardware feature strongly.
If you cannot find time to get to the show or visit
the stand this year do drop in on the TEP website
at www.tep.org.uk it’s worth the visit!
WWW.TEP.ORG.UK ···› 3
NEW PRODUCTS UPDATE
In this issue of News and Views, we can announce a record number
of new high-technology materials and components – all with
tremendous potential for designing and making. Rare earth
Rare earth magnets made from exotic materials such as samarium, boron and neodymium are the most powerful ever
made. They have quietly revolutionised product design by giving us new types of electric motor, loudspeakers, micro-
stereo headphones, magnetic drive systems – and many more. Electric toys such as aircraft and helicopters only exist
because of the high power to weight ratio achieved in motors using these magnets.
TEP has now added even more powerful and larger magnets to the range already on offer. These are described in
commercial circles as ‘ferocious’ because of their fantastic pulling and repulsion characteristics. Potential uses in
design and technology range from the design of small magnetic products such as fasteners to the design and actual
making of loudspeakers – previously beyond the reach of pupils and students.
DIY Loudspeaker using
Tim Hunkin, the well known automatist and TV presenter, demonstrated a DIY loudspeaker by taping a flat coil of a rare earth magnet
copper wire on a bag and placing a magnet in the centre. When energised, the coil moved about the magnet and
produced a weak sound. If the ordinary magnet is replaced by a rare earth type, the volume goes up by an
order of magnitude, and practically any flat surface from a cornflakes box to a table top can be turned into
a surprisingly good quality loudspeaker.
To make such a loudspeaker, you simply need to wind a coil of copper wire around a ‘C’ size battery (or
equivalent) and then glue or tape this to the surface. Bring the magnet close to the centre of the coil and, as if by
magic, the sound begins! In a more permanent set-up, the magnet can be placed on a small foam pad in the centre
of the coil.
A new TEP starter pack provides magnets, copper wire and a small booklet describing different ways of making flat
loudspeakers (and the factors governing performance). Most young people use sound systems of some kind, and this
provides added motivation for project work ranging from graphics to engineering in metals. All of the magnets now
available can be used in loudspeaker design work, but, generally speaking, the larger the magnet, the great the
The new range of ferocious magnets includes a number of miniature sizes that professional jewellers are now
incorporating in their work as a substitute for traditional fastenings on brooches and garments.
Robo-tyres and Rover tracks
TR has now invested in an injection moulding tool to produce soft durable tracks with a transverse tread. At the same
time, we have taken the opportunity to create two pneumatic-style rubber tyres of the type used on expensive radio
controlled cars. The new TEP tyres are of the same quality, but a fraction of the cost. The
aggressive-looking spikes are popular for their looks but also functional because the
turning/rolling resistance is virtually zero. The spikes enable the tyres to climb easily
Both tyres allow the creation of flanged wheel centres or two-part wheels. Because Tyres and Tracks
the tyres have a deep recess on each side, the latter is easily achieved by making a
‘wheel’ from two separate disks – one for each side. These can be cut out using a Manually make wheel inserts
lathe, CNC milling machine – or even laser cutter. Alternatively, the inserts can be by using a compass cutter
made manually. A disk of material such as mirror styrene or the new TEP chameleon
card for the outer surface completes a very attractive wheel.
The new solar panel, announced in the main catalogue, is a major new addition to TEP
resources because it is similar to those used in aerospace applications and more
efficient than common ones made from an assembly of fragments. Because of direct
purchasing, it is now also at a lower cost! Unlike other solar panels, it is so efficient it Solar panel used
to power a motor
can be usefully energised from a high-intensity torch.
Apart from direct drive applications under sunlight or concentrated artificial light, the panel
can also be used to charge ni-cad batteries or super capacitors – e.g., trickle charging over
minutes to delivery useful energy for solar motors or an LED lamp or torch.
A new solar power starter pack, designed for both science and design and technology specialists,
provides a range of sample components and a booklet containing information,
investigations and practical applications.
Super capacitors with a value of 10 Farads - an unbelievable figure just five years ago –were first
developed for computer back-up applications. They now have a wider currency in products such
as instantly rechargeable toys (e.g. electric aircraft, micro-cars). To avoid the normal high cost, Super Capacitor
they are now made to order for TEP - empowering pupils and students to design and make their
own instantly rechargeable products – torches, buggies etc. The capacitors can be charged from
a conventional 3-volt battery in just seconds and then deliver useful and sustained bursts of
energy to motors etc. They can be connected in parallel for high storage capacity.
Transistor project board
In response to the many enquiries about ‘one-component’- electronics, TEP has created a single transistor project
board that enables pupils to learn about transistor switching and apply the cheapest available transistor to a wide
range of practical uses. The board is supplied unpopulated and needs just a transistor and a choice of other
components – two or three – depending on application. It is available as a single-board starter pack with
Transistor explanatory booklet or in class sets. A free introduction pack (with a page from the booklet) is available for
Project Board those able to visit TEP at the NEC.
More low -cost equipment, accessories and products
The tightening of budgets prompted many colleagues to ask us if we could supply power tools etc. at supermarket
prices, the answer was ‘yes’ – and sales have been brisk enough to support the purchase of more items. These include
a replacement for the original hot air gun (useful for thermo-forming plastics), a low-cost laminator, ideal for glazing
graphic product work and plasticizing card design work to give that professional finishing touch.
On the adhesives front, we have introduced a (normally) trade-only spray contact/impact adhesive used
commercially for coachwork, upholstery, display systems etc. It sticks a wide range of materials including stone to
metal! It is an excellent substitute for contact adhesives that are often messy to apply and then difficult to store
without evaporation and loss. (Note: good ventilation during use remains essential.)
Also now available is a stick adhesive at what we believe is the lowest price in the UK. Apart from low cost, it
has the advantage of being PVC based (as opposed to PVE) and is ultra-clean as well as offering high bond
strength. It can be used on wood as well as card and paper.
Phone PIC and Chip Machine
A4 Laminator Two major innovations will be demonstrated on the TEP stand at the NEC in November. Both offer
entirely new and easy ways of programming chips. Although TEP’s award-winning Chip Factory continues
to provide our ‘industry standard’ programming facility, the two new systems, offer even cheaper and
simpler programming for beginners. Neither requires a computer: the Chip Machine just needs a PC
keyboard and the Phone PIC simply uses a mobile phone!
This pioneering system uses any mobile phone for programming. It consists of a small circuit board with a microphone.
You simply hold your mobile near the microphone and enter a programme using the dial-up keypad. The Phone PIC
responds to the acoustic tones (DTMF tones) generated by each key and translates these into program instructions.
In newer mobiles, the numbers pressed appear on the LCD screen, thus visually recording the start of any program
entered. It is even possible to program a PIC at any distance by phoning a third party who then holds the Phone PIC
near their own mobile! ( See Page 9 of this issue!)
The Phone PIC will accommodate existing 18 pin PICs such as 16F84 and 16F627 which are supplied partly
programmed AT NO EXTRA COST. Because the Phone PIC firmware is in the actual PICs used, the system is future
proofed against any possible upgrades an important consideration when buying any PIC programmer. The Phone PIC
is supplied ready to run and features a ZIF (zero insertion force) socket making it very easy to move PICs in and out
Of all the TEP PIC programming systems, this one probably offers the easiest route to programming a chip. The
programmer is a tiny board that accommodates the newer and cheaper 8 pin PIC (12F629). You simply plug the
programmer into a PC keyboard (supplied in the basic starter pack) and use a limited number of the keys to input the
instructions. Up to three separate short programmes can be entered. When the programmed PIC is running, the two
inputs are used to select (and change between) programs. This effectively provides ‘IF’ functionality.
The Chip Machine, complete with keyboard, is less than £20. It is fully portable and uses the lowest cost PIC – thus
making it very attractive for foundation work at Key Stage 3.
Do take a look at the accompanying update leaflet with this issue and our
2003/2004 catalogue for more information on the full range of new items.
teaching If you have not yet received a catalogue or for further details please contact:
Middlesex University Teaching Resources, Unit 10,
resources IO Centre, Lea Road, Waltham Cross Herts EN9 1AS
Tel: 01992 716052 Fax: 01992 719474
WWW.TEP.ORG.UK ···› 5
DESIGN DECISIONS IN DMA’S Dr. David Barlex expands on his article from the last issue
exploring ways we can plan-in design decisions for pupils.
DESIGN DECISIONS –
THE KEY TO SUCCESS IN DMA’S
Pupils make design decisions when they tackle designing and making assignments
(DMAs). In these assignments pupils are expected to generate and develop design ideas
and then make a prototype product based on those design ideas, which can be
evaluated against the performance criteria the design was intended to meet.
In dealing with novice designers (your
pupils) you can orchestrate the number
and complexity of the design decisions
that the pupils have to make in carrying
out a design and make activity in order to
ensure that the assignment is
appropriately challenging without being
daunting and requires pupils to use
particular parts of the design &
technology programme of study. So an
important first step is to audit the range
of design decisions that are likely to be
made by pupils tackling the assignment.
This audit can be carried out using five key areas of design decision: conceptual (overall
purpose of the design, the sort of product that it will be), technical (how the design will
work), aesthetic (what the design will look like), constructional (how the design will be
put together) and marketing (who the design is for, where it will be used, how it will be
sold). This can be represented visually as shown in Figure 1 with each feature at a
corner of pentagon and each area of design decision connected to each other area. This
inter-connectedness is an important feature of design decisions. A change of decision
within one area will affect some if not all of
design decisions that are made within the Conceptual
others. For example if the way a design is to
work is changed this will almost certainly
affect what the design looks like and how it
is constructed. It may also have far reaching
effects in changing some of the purposes
that the design can meet and who might be
able to use it.
Usually you will identify the sort of product ns
your pupils will be designing and making.
This makes it very difficult for them to al Aes
engage in conceptual design. But even if the
type of product is identified for the pupils Figure 1. One way of representing the areas of
there are still many opportunities for design decision that pupils may need to make
making design decisions in the other areas. when tackling a DMA.
Consider the designing and making of a puppet theatre and puppets. The pupils can
make decisions about who will use the puppets and what for (marketing decisions),
what sort of puppets would be appropriate, the sort of theatre such puppets would need,
the nature of props and scenery plus any special effects that might accompany the
performance. These decisions will encompass a host of technical, aesthetic and
constructional design decisions.
Designing and making simple sensing devices is a standard activity at Key Stage 3 –
almost the equivalent of the teapot stand of yore. What range of products would be
obtained if pupils were empowered to make design decisions instead, as is often the
case, produce the working circuit and place it in a case produced from a former provided
by the teacher?
The examples shown in the panel show possible responses at basic, intermediate and advanced
levels using construction techniques accessible to pupils at Key Stage 3 – attractive forms from
nets (or surface developments as we used to call them). The brief for the DMA is to design a
temperature sensing device that could be sold in a chain of shops that provided goods and
materials for people who owned and cared for pets. The basic response is simple a two part
divided box to hold the sensing circuit and battery decorated to show which pet it is to be used for.
The intermediate response is a box to hold circuit and
battery but shaped to resemble the pet it is intended for.
The advanced response is a combination of five nets
giving a complex 3D form representing the pet it is for. In
these responses there was no conceptual or marketing
design decisions but considerable aesthetic and
constructional design decision making at different levels
As far as technical design decisions are concerned these
can be made in differentiated ways as follows:
» The pupil assembles a given sensing circuit using
INTERMEDIATE given components and given printed circuit board –
no technical design decisions
» the pupil designs the printed circuit board layout
which she uses with a given circuit and given
components – basic technical design decisions
» the pupil has some choice of components within a
given circuit and produces the printed circuit board
design – intermediate technical design decisions
» the pupil designs the circuit including component
values and designs a suitable printed circuit board
layout – advanced technical design decisions.
TEP has developed a range of resources that allow pupils
to meet these different levels of technical design
decision-making. Note it is possible for a pupil to produce
a basic design with regard to the net, which encloses an
advanced circuit and vice versa. It will be the guidance
that you provide that will allow a pupil to maximise their
WWW.TEP.ORG.UK ···› 7
Gatsby Teacher Fellowships are a great opportunity for teachers
across D&T, Maths and Science to develop new and exciting teaching and
learning methods or establish models of good practice and provide sound
case study material in their specialist area. Many of TEPs regular
contributors and supporters are themselves successful Gatsby Teacher
Do take a look at what a fellowship year in 2004-2005 can provide and note
the deadline in January. Further details for applicants can also be found on
the TEP website.
Fellows at last summers University of Warwick seminar
GATSBY TECHNICAL EDUCATION PROJECTS
GATSBY TEACHER FELLOWSHIPS FOR 2004-2005
Proposals are sought from teachers of mathematics, science or design and
technology for up to twelve Fellowships offered by the Gatsby Technical Education
Projects, beginning in September 2004. The Fellowships have been created to
enable teachers to develop further their contribution to the effective and
inspirational teaching of their subject. Proposals might be of a diverse nature,
including, for example:
» developing materials for projects or experiments;
» innovations in curriculum development;
» model lessons, analysis and advice for student teachers;
» case studies of original practice;
» in-service training.
Each Fellowship will provide an honorarium to the teacher of £1,000 and up to
£3,000 to cover specific costs associated with the Fellowship: materials, supply
Applicants should be in full-time teaching in UK maintained primary or secondary
schools or sixth form colleges.
For further information and details of how to apply, please contact:
Lisa Page, Gatsby Technical Education Projects
Allington House (1st Floor), 150 Victoria Street, London SW1E 5AE
Tel: 020 7410 7127
Completed applications must be received by 16 January 2004.
Interviews will be held mid February.
A REVOLUTIONARY WAY TO PROGRAMME
Phone PIC Is the latest and possibly one of the simplest ways of
programming PICs. This pioneering system uses any mobile phone for
programming. It consists of a small programmer circuit board with a
microphone. To programme you simply hold a mobile phone earpiece
near the microphone and enter your programme using the dial-up
keypad. The Phone PIC responds to the acoustic tones (DTMF tones)
generated by each key and translates these into program instructions. In
newer mobiles, the numbers pressed appear on the LCD screen, thus
visually recording the start of any program entered. It is even possible to
program a PIC at any distance by phoning a third party who then holds the Phone PIC
near their own mobile! The Phone PIC will accommodate existing 18 pin PICs such as
16F84 and 16F627 which are supplied partly programmed AT NO EXTRA COST. Because
the Phone PIC firmware is in the actual PICs used, the system is future proofed against
any possible upgrades. The Phone PIC is supplied ready to run and features a ZIF (zero
insertion force) socket making it very easy to move PICs in and out without damage.
This system represents a sensible low cost alternative investment in PIC
programming and will provide a robust and exciting new approach to
the technology and will stimulate and generate a lot of interest
in pupils and
It’s as easy as texting
and almost as fast!
WWW.TEP.ORG.UK ···› 9
SHIPSTON HIGH SCHOOL
A MILLENNIUM SCHOOL VIEW
Shipston High School were one of the first schools to be
involved with the Millennium Schools Project and their
experience like Lady Manners School featured in our last issue
is recounted here as a useful context for teachers considering
the benefits of adopting Millennium Projects for their Key
Technology staff also teach ICT through Key Stage 3 up to a
short course GCSE and a GNVQ ICT course which all pupils
follow at Key Stage 4. At Key Stage 4 pupils follow a
compulsory GCSE technology course and choose between
Food Technology, Graphic Products or Resistant Materials.
Small year sizes create a few headaches trying to give all
pupils their preferred option. As part of the option course
pupils can opt to follow Engineering as an alternative.
Penny Bailey is a TEP associate and was appointed as Head of Department for Technology at Shipston
High School in 2000.
Penny takes up their Millennium experience:
When I arrived at SHS it was with horror that I realised Ofsted was due at the school
within 3 terms. I discovered the department had been put forward for the Millennium
Project and felt it would be an interesting experience as I had to write up schemes of
work for Key Stages 3 and 4, department plans, assessments schemes and any help in
this would be beneficial. I had already used the Post It Note Organiser project at my
previous school and had been impressed by the project and pupil outcomes.
The school timetable is taught on a fortnightly basis. All lessons are 50 minutes long,
with 6 periods a day. In Year 8 the whole year group is very small, so they come into
the department as a year group. This has the advantage that all technology staff are
on at the same time and allows us to change the groups around to create the best class
There are 4 specialist technology rooms based together, 2 resistant materials
workshops, a technician base and office/storage area. Upstairs is a graphics room
with 15 networked computers and a CNC milling machine are close by. The small sizes
of all technology rooms are a problem and there are very little areas for storage.
Both Keith and I are united in our belief in pupils designing and making quality products that will ignite family
admiration not sympathy when they go home. Pupils need to take home products that are appropriate technology
for them and the society that they live in. So we were attracted to projects offered by TEP and the reactions from
pupils were extremely encouraging. They certainly created the Wow factor we hoped for. Older pupils were
extremely fed up not to have produced the TEP projects. Taken along to parents’ evenings the exemplar
products also created a stir and jealousy with nearly all parents!
In year 1 of the Millennium project we offered the Mouse Mate as an introduction to Technology for Y7.
Pupils had the option of including tie dyeing the fabric backs before printing the ICT generated design and
or applying smart inks to enhance their designs if they wished. We chose not to include the milled out
space for a floppy disc as we followed this process with the CAD torch project. In this first year we followed
the project to the letter and discovered that this Y7 were not coping so well with the instructions to
producing the three layered torch body and as a result too many of the designs would not machine
well. One of the great joys of the millennium project has been the opportunity to discuss, argue
and laugh over problems created by pupils with DT colleagues from Warwickshire, Yorkshire and
Derbyshire. We discovered that staff from Lady Manners School in Derbyshire had come up with
a solution to the problem of milling out and had reduced it to one layer using 8 mm acrylic.
Yr8 pupils made Post It Note Organisers, PIC based Jitterbugs, Flat Torch as well as Food
Technology. Having an abundance of really good projects allowed us to choose appropriate
projects for some groups. At SHS the groups are set according to their Maths and English
abilities and allow us rightly or wrongly to differentiate by tasks as well as outcome. A few
pupils have special needs with poor listening and sequential skills; as a result tasks have
to broken down into very small steps with guaranteed success built into projects to boost
their self esteem, confidence and therefore progress. That sequential approach is made
easier with these millennium projects. All our Y8 pupils really enjoyed the projects and
were especially taken with the jitterbugs.
As Yr9 curriculum was to be changed in the second year of the project we ran our own
projects for the first year, however in contrast with the millennium projects they looked
tired, with a poor quality of outcome. Many were left in the cupboards and proved to be
great kindling wood for Keith’s Aga!
In the second year of the millennium project we adapted the CAD torch project to create a torch / keyring
with a milled maze game and LED cut out of 8 mm acrylic. With year 7 pupils we used a template to
create a CAD design for their torch that they printed out to use as a template in the workshop. They then
used hand wastage methods to create the torch. On finishing we returned to the computers and they
learned to use Pro/Desktop to draw a simple version of their torch design as extension work. This
delivery of the CAD torch project produced a 100% successful outcome.
Y8s have continued to make Post It Note Organisers and there is the opportunity to incorporate a Batch
Production theme with suitable groups. I have organised this project so that pupils work in groups or
“factories” to produce a batch of organisers with pupils taking different roles within the factory. With
able pupils, they can be taught about tolerances, the roles of H & S. etc. Group presentations can be
arranged with a “client” found from within or outside the school community. Various
groups from Y8 have also tackled the Battery Tester project in different ways. A more able
group were given the challenge of developing the flat battery tester into a 3 dimensional
product. They explored a choice of nets that would combine an inner net to carry the
circuit and an outer net for the surface graphics. I found that this created an enormous
amount of problem solving for them, provided discussion points about the role of
packaging and environmental considerations.
Yr9s have all made Aroma fans but again we adapted the project for them and to match our resources.
As we have no circular saw we had to make the shell larger with thicker material. Initial reaction from the
pupils made us believe that we needed to add a secondary purpose for the Aroma Fan so we adapted it
to be a desk tidy as well. In practice this proved doubly appealing to pupils. Y9s also had a go at the
Message in a Box project, programming PICs to light a seven segment display to create text, a letter at
a time. With an able group I delivered this as a DMA,
and while this has produced some interesting
outcomes e.g. a periscope, assorted picture frames
and containers, however this can take time away
from the programming of PICs. More recently we have
created a ‘message in a bag’ graphic product
approach with a high degree of popularity. In the future I may well
deliver this as a focused task.
Y9s also undertook a project that introduced them to Pro/Desktop
in which they designed a camera using CAD and free hand
sketching skills. They will also be designing and making a mobile
phone stand and a bubble blower this year.
As new courses for Key Stage 4 had to be written we incorporated some of the TEP/SHU projects into them. So in the
first year the GCSE Resistant Materials group all made Post It note Organisers, looking at Batch Production methods.
In this current year Y10s have all made an Aroma Fan and have been encouraged to explore the form through
experimentation with some interesting architectural influences. This year our year 7 are working on an all new desktop
design mobile phone holder too. The Millennium projects have influenced both the pupils in Key Stage 4 and the staff.
We have transferred techniques and skills into Key Stage 4 projects. The pupils have seen the Key Stage 3 outcomes
and I’m sure it has helped raise the quality of outcomes both in Resistant Materials GCSE as well as Graphic Products.
Our department results continue to rise dramatically and are in no small part, due to the influence of TEP projects and
WWW.TEP.ORG.UK ···› 11
Claire Ford of the Smallpeice Trust gives us a brief insight
into the impact and success of their programmes
What is the
What is the
The Smallpeice Trust is a highly respected and professionally executed programme
of tiered schemes to promote engineering as a career to young people. The core
programme consists of subsidised training courses held each year at residential
schools for students ranging from the age of 14 through 17 and a Gap Year for
pre-university students. Hands-on project work is a vital element of each course.
A strong interface is maintained with industry, education and professional bodies who help to support,
promote and develop these courses. The Trust has a reputation for developing and delivering courses
to a high standard and has built on these relationships to extend the programme in 2004, and provides
a number of tailored or specialised courses.
The core Smallpeice courses are affiliated to The Royal Academy of Engineering Best programme.
Students receive expert tuition in a variety of engineering-related and management skills presented
by consultants and industry specialists.
The pathway to a career in engineering
Over 400 young people have had the opportunity to experience engineering first hand with The
Smallpeice Trust this summer through a series of four day residential training courses held at UK
During the last twelve months the core programme for 14 to 17 year-old students has increased
to include several specialised courses.
The Marine Technology Experience, held at Southampton University, sponsored by Lloyds Register,
supported by The Royal Navy and Young Engineers, encourages students to investigate real-life
specifications of ship building, whilst taking part in marine technology projects and visits, which
this year included the Oceanography centre.
Following a successful pilot, the Electronic Engineering course proved to be even more popular, and
will run again in April 2004 at the University of Leicester. Designed to inspire and encourage young
students to consider a career in electronics, the course includes an introduction to Analogue and Digital
electronics, and a ‘solder and keep’ workshop. The team challenge is to design and build a buggy using
sensors and remote control to negotiate a circuit, ending in a race against time. Great Fun!
March saw the introduction of another specialised residential course, Smallpeice Materials Experience.
Under the guidance of professionals, 40 students will have the opportunity on the next course in
January 2004 to develop their knowledge and skills in the application of materials science – from
theory to reality - through a special partnership between The Trust and The University of Oxford and
supported by Oxford Materials.
Other specialised courses are being developed for 2004, which will be announced in due course.
For Year 9/S2 students Smallpeice will present the Engineering Experience course twice in April 2004
to meet the high demand for places. This course is the starting point for many students who wish to
find out about a career in engineering, they learn from taking part in practical “design and make”
projects with graduate engineers from industry, enjoy a challenging experience and make new friends.
Because of the popularity of this course, early application is strongly advised to avoid disappointment.
Smallpeice courses provide curriculum enrichment of maths, science and technology through practical
application of engineering design and associated skills, together with management and business skills
for personal and professional development.
All Smallpeice courses are fully supervised with the help of teachers, many of whom continue to say
how much they also benefit from attending the wide variety of lectures and workshops on the residential
courses. Each teacher on each course receives gift vouchers to the value of £200 and travel expenses.
Smallpeice are always pleased to hear from teachers who would like to take part in any Smallpeice
The Smallpeice Engineering Gap Year
For students of engineering this really is the pinnacle of gap years. It provides a unique combination of
study, language tuition, travel and work experience in Europe. The course is intensive, demanding and
great fun – not only an important stepping stone in the career development of young engineers but a
truly memorable experience to carry through life.
The latest intake of students, who were accepted onto the Smallpeice Engineering Gap Year 2003/2004,
have just commenced the course. They spent the first week teambuilding in Devon. The students had the
opportunity to get to know each other and test their strengths and weaknesses against other members
of the group. They are now on their three months of academic study at Seale-Hayne, Plymouth University.
Here they will be developing their knowledge, understanding and skills of engineering and management.
Team building exercises
In the second phase of the course the students will go on to develop their language skills on a four week not for the fainthearted!
course at a language school in Chambéry, Munich or Barcelona. The tuition they receive is generally to a
conversational level, but students who have an appropriate language qualification may progress to
The final phase is a three-month industrial work placement. The students will undertake a placement with
one of our European Industrial contacts, which are established in nine European countries. Some English
speaking placements can be arranged for students who are less confident in a foreign language.
The work will involve more than “shadowing”, as students will be involved in projects as they arise
and be expected to contribute to company activities.
Nineteen-year-old student, Richard Beardmore (right), was one of only 30 students selected from across
the UK to participate in the scheme last year. Following on from the academic study, Richard spent three
months polishing up his language skills at Deutsch in Deutschland Institute in Munich before spending
three months at engineering company KUKA Schweissanlagen GmBH in Augsburg, Germany.
The programme is run annually over a 7-month period, spanning from September to May, finishing well
Student Richard Beardmore who was
before students take up a deferred place at university. Applications are invited from A level, CSYS higher, selected to take part in the scheme
BTEC or equivalent students who will complete their examinations in summer 2004 and who wish to take
a gap year by deferring their entry to university on an engineering-related degree course. Applicants
must be 18 years old at the start of the gap year.
Applications are now being received for consideration on the gap year commencing
September 2004. To make it happen for your students, or to register an interest in
supervising on a course, please telephone The Smallpeice Trust on 01926 333200
or visit: www.smallpeicetrust.org.uk
The Smallpeice Trust
74 Upper Holly Walk
Warwickshire CV32 4JL
WWW.TEP.ORG.UK ···› 13
AN INTRODUCTION TO
This is the first in a series of articles by John Cook a TEP associate with wide experience of all things PIC based. Aimed at
colleagues who as yet have not found the joy of using PIC’s, confidently and reliably. The PICAXE programming system is
commonly used in schools today and was developed by Clive Seagar of Revolution Education.
For the past twenty years 555 Timers, 741 Operational Amplifiers and Decade
Counters were the basic building blocks for most of my GCSE Projects. When I
was introduced to PIC Technology the potential was obvious, there use in a vast
range of everyday products which pupils own or use on a daily bases gives real
purpose and relevance to integrating them into classroom activities and pupils
Industry is moving to Micro-controllers; in 1998 300,000 were used by 2000
this had risen to a staggering 300 Billion. The most appealing aspect of these
computers on a chip is there versatility, one chip programmed in different ways
can be utilised in a wide variety of products. If we are supposed to be educating
pupils for the real world then this sort of technology should be an entitlement for
The PICAXE software is free from the WEB and does not require an expensive Circuit Diagram for 8 Pin Dice
programmer; all that is required is a serial download cable that programmes the The circuit shows the pin-outs for an integrated circuit but care needs to be
chips on the pupil’s circuit boards. This has many advantages, apart from cost, taken not to confuse these with the output input pins, for example pin 4 is input
one being the chip never needs to be removed for reprogramming and another is pin 3. Pupils can experiment within Crocodile Technology to establish how to get
pupils can access the software at home to experiment with different two LED’s to light brightly and what size resistor is suitable for a 3V or 4.5V
programmes until they achieve their desired outcome. There are a range of chips supply. Note that four outputs easily drive the six alternative LED combinations.
available, these will be mentioned in future articles, but the lowest cost is the
PICAXE-08. As this is a Focussed Practical Task, for Year 9 perhaps, there is no necessity for
pupils to create their own PCB’s, so below is an example that has been produced
within PCB Wizard and is available on the TEP Website.
As can be seen this chip has 5 input / output pins. Pin 0 must always be an
output and pin 4 must always be an input. The other 3 pins pin 1, 2 and 3 can be
selected as inputs or outputs through the programming. This labelling can be
confusing as we normally think of pin 1 as top left and numbered anticlockwise It is then a case of populating the PCB with components which can be obtained
to pin 8 top right of the chip. (A simple wall chart diagram in class or worksheet from various suppliers, but the chip has got to be a PICAXE-08 and can not be
will keep pupils and some of us teachers on the right track). substituted for other 8 pin PIC’s. (They are the same cost as un-programmed
PICs and can be obtained from Teaching Resources or Revolution Education) The
The Focused Practical Task for this article is a Dice. The input to generate a LED’s can be mounted on either side of the board depending on whether the
number will be a push to make switch and 7 LED’s will be the outputs. This project is going to be encased and they could also be attached to longer wires.
random output generator is useful for all sorts of other project applications. (See photos below)
There are numerous different ways the dice can be programmed but here is one possibility.
There are subtle programme differences depending on To programme the chip the serial cable needs to be
which side of the PCB the LED’s are positioned. It is then a connected to the computer and plugged into the PCB, there
simple operation to convert the flowchart to basic under must be at least 3V going to the circuit and switched on and
flowchart heading. Draw the flowchart or copy the basic then simply press the blue run arrow. The circuit has been
routine in the table and you are ready to programme the produced to run from two AAA Batteries giving a 3V supply, a
PIC. problem that can occur is that unless the batteries are in
new condition they may not create a high enough voltage to
allow programming. To get round this potential problem use
3 AAA Batteries, giving4.5V, to programme and then revert
For the PICAXE-08 it is necessary to type in either high or back to 3V for normal use.
low for the output pins. This is because 3 pins can be either
inputs or outputs and it is necessary to identify at the
beginning of the programme which are the outputs. Note
the PCB mounted jump link this is so you can connect and
disconnect pins 7 and 8. We do this to switch from This is an affordable project that has a lot of scope
programming to output for pin 7. If a jump link is not for engaging pupils with today’s technologies.
available or desirable an external slide or toggle switch Future articles will look at programming aspects as
could be connected instead and mounted on the outside of well as more advanced projects, some of which are
a cased product making reprogramming easier. shown below.
The finished Electronic Dice.
The circuit board and battery are
encased in a vacuum formed box.
Further help or assistance can be obtained by emailing
John Cook at: firstname.lastname@example.org
WWW.TEP.ORG.UK ···› 15
Good design and technology project ideas are
often difficult to derive. They not only have to satisfy
curriculum requirements, departmental resources
but also, and possibly most importantly, capture and
stimulate pupil’s imaginations. Product desirability
is the key to promoting pupils enthusiasm for design
and technology and is a positive platform to develop
teaching and learning.
Jenny Dein TEP teaching fellow at Sheffield Hallam
University gives us an insight into one such product.
The Aroma Fan is one such project which can fuel
imaginations and adapt to individual school
circumstances. It is one of a suite of ten projects
from the TEP Millennium Schools Project developed in
association with Sheffield Hallam University which are all are supported by teacher guidance unit
publications. The Aroma Fan is a project concept which can be differentiated considerably to develop
designing and making skills at various ability levels at Key Stages 3 and 4 in resistant materials,
electronics and textiles.
The Aroma Fan
Throughout history, in many different cultures, perfumes, incense,
aromatic plants and oils have been used to enhance human experience.
Aromatherapy is the practice of dispensing aromatics not only as
physical remedies but also to stimulate the senses to influence the
mind and emotions. It has also been used to contribute to the remedy
of some physical conditions.
The Aroma Fan is designed to appeal to a variety of senses, to enhance
the environment in which it is placed and to fit in with contemporary
styles and fashion.
This project consists of a natural wood structure incorporating a motor
and fan controlled by a simple electronic circuit. The fan draws in air
through the base of the structure and blows it through absorbent
material impregnated with vapourising oils or similar fragrant
preparations releasing the aromas into the atmosphere through
cool dispersion. The fan is controlled by a monostable circuit that
is triggered by a touch sensitive panel switch cast from pewter.
The project concept provides many opportunities for pupils to develop
their own individualised product and make decisions regarding scale,
materials, construction, finish, structure, function and level of control.
For example, the Aroma Fan could be controlled just with a motor and fan
with just an on switch as a less sophisticated level of control. For more
advanced ability levels light or sound could be introduced extending
the variety of responses and could be controlled using a PIC (Peripheral
Interface Controller) or an IQ board (a discrete programmable controller).
There are essentially five sub assemblies to the Aroma Fan. Shown
in the table are exemplar solutions but the type of components and
materials used and where they are positioned are design decisions pupils
can make to produce different visual and technical characteristics.
Aroma Fan sub assembly TEP Aroma Fan Solution
Construction » PSE pine
Fan assembly » solar motor and plastic propeller
Circuit » monostable
Switch » pewter touch sensitive switch
Aroma release plate » aluminum mesh
The following page provides guidance on two sub-assemblies: the circuit
and manufacture of the pewter touch sensitive switch.
Touch sensitive timer circuit
The use of a touch sensitive switch allows the fan to be switched on by simply touching a pewter
decorative plate located on the outside of the Aroma Fan construction. The monostable circuit will
operate the fan for a few seconds and then switch off until the switch is touched again.
» 2/4 AA (AAA) battery holder » 7555/555 chip
» battery snap » R100k preset variable resistor
» 40mm x40mm pcb » Electrolytic capacitor 100uF
» 1K resistor » solder
» wire » self adhesive foam pads
» MPSA transistor » hook and loop tape
The monostable timer circuit suggested in the teacher guidance unit
provides two operating options. The circuit using standard components
(555 timer chip) will operate on 6V (4AA batteries). To save battery
consumption in the standby mode this arrangement requires an
on/off switch as shown on the diagram.
Alternatively the same circuit board can use a 7555 timer chip.
This will run on 3V using 2AA or 2AAA batteries without the need
for an on/off switch.
Tuning of the 100K preset resistor enables the time period that the fan remains on to be adjusted.
If longer time period is required, a larger capacitor can be used.
Touch sensitive switch
» Pewter sheet/bar.
» Double sided tape
» 12mm MDF blocks for CNC mould
» Wire (stranded)
» M6 x 40 x 2 bolts and nuts (secure 2 part mould)
The switch component is manufactured by casting pewter into a two part
mould. To enable connection to the circuit board a 1mm hole is drilled into
one part of the mould to allow a single stranded wire to be inserted into the
mould cavity. This is counter-bored to a depth of 6mm with a 6mm drill to
produce a collar around the wire when cast. Pewter is then heated to molten
temperature in a ladle or small
crucible and poured into the
mould. A small ring of plasticine
will aid pouring. Once cooled
the position of the plate is
marked on the box and a 6mm
hole drilled to allow the collar
to be inserted through and
soldered on to the pin 2
terminal on the PCB from inside
the Aroma Fan construction.
All resources including further guidance on the
construction and final assembly of the project can be teaching
found within the Aroma Fan Teacher Guidance publication
available through Middlesex Teaching Resources. resources
Overleaf: Aroma Fan SHOWCASE >>
WWW.TEP.ORG.UK ···› 17
Aroma Fan -
The following showcase illustrates the possibilities the
Aroma Fan project can provide for original design work.
Out of this World
A galactic Aroma Fan
encased in a vacuum
An interesting wooden
construction which has
moved away from the
tower idea of the original.
Smelly Drawers! The fan and circuit is housed in a draw at the
base of the construction and is operated via an on/off switch.
Different lighting effects are achieved with the use of a bulb
behind a tower mosaic of different coloured acrylic.
Fluorescent Aroma Fan
The fan and circuit is placed inside
the aluminum casing at the bottom of Aroma Fan Clock
this tower. A central tube encased by An Aroma Fan using Big Ben as
fluorescent coloured rods, carries the inspiration. As well as
air to the top and through a reservoir permeating wondrous smells it
of essential oils. also tells the time!
Clear Aroma Fan
A similar design to the original
construction but manufactured
from 3mm acrylic sheet.
This aroma fan integrates both acrylic
and wood in a simple but interesting
design. Instead of casting pewter this
Yr8 pupil has made use of a metal door
knob to act as the touch sensitive
Hanging Aroma Fan
A textile version of the Aroma Fan
which can be hung from the ceiling. Using a similar construction to the original but
A piezo transducer activates the adding coloured stain for decorative effect. Wath
circuit instead of the pewter touch Comprehensive have created an attractive touch
sensitive switch. sensitive switch in pewter with an acrylic inlay
designed and manufactured using CAD/CAM
TEP and Sheffield Hallam University would like to acknowledge the
staff and pupils responsible for work featured in this article: Chris
Canavan, Head of Design and Technology, Foremarke Hall School,
Derbyshire for the excellent examples designed and manufactured
by Yr8 pupils at his school.
Pupils and staff at Wath Comprehensive School, Rotherham and
ITT students at Sheffield Hallam University.
students get to
travel the world
The Young Engineers clubs and Young Engineers for Britain (YEB) With over £50,000 worth of prizes on offer,
competition prize winners will be jetting off to many different split between the students and their schools,
parts of the world as a result there were special project category awards for disability,
of their success at the recent innovative use of technology, the built environment, electrical
engineering, sustainable environment and engineering craftsmanship, as
Celebration of Engineering.
well as age category winners.
The overall winner of the title Young
Engineer for Britain 2003 went to16
The YEB competition is run annually having been launched by the DTI back
year old Jack Tovey from Lancaster
in 1977 to promote engineering enterprise and have proved to be the
Royal Grammar School with his Flood
launch pad into careers in engineering and the start of many business
Plug, an automated flood-prevention
ventures. Jeremy Siddons told this year’s audience how his 1987 digital
device for housing ventilation
electronic component analyser led to him starting Peak Electronic Design.
systems. Jack will be attending the Jack Tovey, YEB Overall Winner
2004 Intel International Science and with his Flood Plug device An exciting development for 2004 is the merger of the Young Electronic
Engineering Fair in Portland, Oregon
Designer Awards (YEDA) and YEB competitions following close
along with Class C (17-19 years category) winner Philip Cowan, from Yarm
associations over the past few years. It is recognised that electronics
School in Cleveland, designer of the TowGo, a trailer with a hydraulically
and IT pervades all areas of engineering and this was borne out in 2003
operated drop hammer that allows one person to fence off a field.
when over 50% of the entries into YEB would have satisfied YEDA entry
requirements. Therefore, it is clear
Almost 1,000 students of all secondary ages entered the competition
that the national final of the
from every corner of the UK and the finalists had to win through their
merged competitions will have a
regional heats to compete at the Celebration of Engineering held at the
strong ITEC content and ensure a
RAF Museum in Hendon, a fitting venue to also celebrate the 100th
simplified process for students,
anniversary of the first powered flight. The Junior Engineers for Britain
teachers and schools, whilst
K’Nex challenge final was also battled out by 15 teams of two primary
reinforcing the drive to promote the
pupils who were tasked with designing and building a model transporter
next generation of world leading
for Airbus wings. Over 58,000 pupils from 1,800 schools entered the
challenge with the final 30 coming up with some great ideas for the plane
maker to consider. For more information about
Young Engineers clubs and
Three more students will also be the Young Engineers for
showing of their projects when Britain competition see
they attend the Japan Institute of
Invention and Innovation’s (JIII)
centennial celebrations in Tokyo contact 01428 727825
YEB Class A - Runner Up
during 2004. Tom Hughes from
Lady Manners School, Bakewell,
Matthew Mellalieu, Whitby
Community College and Walter
Johnston from Cookstown High
School, Northern Ireland will be
representing the UK at the JIII’s
International Young Inventors
exhibition. Their respective
projects were a wind-up battery
Mathew Mellalieu, one of the charger with solar cells, a third
world ecological power generator
winning students who will be
and a tractor mounted sheep
attending JIII in Tokyo 2004 fencing unit
Other international travellers will be the members of the Young Engineers
Club of the Year from the National School, Nottingham, who will be visiting
shipyards in Italy, courtesy of Lloyd’s Register. There were also national
club awards for Milby Primary School, Nuneaton, The King’s School, Junior Engineers for Britain K’Nex challenge National Winners
Tynemouth and the Community College, Bishops Castle.
WWW.TEP.ORG.UK ···› 19
DATA, the Design and Technology Association, is an educational charity and the
professional association representing all those involved in design and technology
education. As part of its overarching commitment to promoting the advancement of
design and technology education they publish a broad spectrum of informative
resources across all phases.
The following article is one of a series published in the magazine Modus, made
available to all DATA members and is now reprinted here.
EFFECTIVE PRACTICE IN
DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY Year 7 Electronics / Control activity
Unit of Work : Musical Greetings Card
QCA reference : Unit 7D
The context here is the design and development of a musical greetings card. This activity uses the
context of celebrations as an interesting and motivating way to introduce pupils to the design and
development of their own musical greetings card. Pupils use a number of common basic electronic
components as well as a sophisticated ‘electronic black box’ – a music/sound chip.
This unit is suggested as a possible first unit on electronics and communications technology in Key
Stage 3. The main leaning objectives for this activity would be related to:
» understanding the basic concepts of input, process
(limited to a driver subsystem and a melody generator IC) and output
» understanding digital electronic signals
» selecting and using a range of input sensors and output devices
» component recognition and handling
» developing skills in assembly and soldering
» a knowledge of the manufacturing process.
There may also be some objectives related to sequencing commands in a control language,
checking electronic signals, simple fault finding techniques and pcb design (depending on
The notes that follow here represent the first few lessons that would be undertaken as part of this
activity. It is helpful if pupils have already worked with basic electrical circuits and had some
experience of simple graphic design techniques – shaping and folding card, use of colour, light and
dark, shading, rendering textures. Pupils should have gained the above knowledge, skills and
understanding in Years 5 and 6, through QCA unit 5A ‘Musical Instruments’, unit 6A ‘Shelters’, unit
6C ‘Fairground’ and unit 6D ‘Controllable vehicles’ in the Key Stage 2 scheme of work, or similar
The pupils have been asked in a previous lesson to bring in examples of ‘musical’ or ‘talking’
greetings cards. A selection of such cards is also available for pupils to use.
Clear broad aims and
objectives given at the start of Explain the activity and the context in which it will take place. Show an
the activity example of a completed musical greetings card and point out the Undertake product analysis –
mechanism for the switch and the circuit details. Explain that the looking closer at the made
pupils will be undertaking a product analysis of some cards. world – appreciation of
Use of group work – Arrange the pupils in groups. Get the pupils to discuss the possible
matching learning styles to criteria for judging the cards. The group has a limited time to pool their
the nature of the activity. ideas and come up with their five most suitable criteria. After the set Developing language skills –
time bring the class together to collectively agree five criteria. In discussion and negotiating.
groups the class can evaluate a number of the cards that are available. Agreeing on final lists.
Opportunity to mention
health and safety issues with Each group nominates a spokesperson to speak to the class on their
lithium batteries used to findings and their decisions.
power the electronic circuit Developing literacy and language
skills – summarising, presenting
Summarise findings from the class and give homework - to find information, speaking to the class.
Plenary session at end of examples of electronic systems and label what they sense (their
lesson brings main learning inputs) and what they ‘do’ (their outputs). Prepare pupils for the next
lesson - develop expectation
In school discuss the electronic systems that the pupils have found – for next lesson.
list things that are sensed and the range of outputs – get pupils to
explain what they have found out through their research. Emphasise
the concept of input sensors and output devices and talk briefly about Make use of research
examples that they will be working with. Relate these concepts to what undertaken by the pupils –
triggers the musical card and what the musical card does. participation in the lesson.
Developing language skills.
Undertake a series of focused practical tasks (problem solving
Systems modelling exercises) using either a systems kit or a suitable software package to
Use of ICT package to
turn an output device off and on with a single input sensor. Use the
rapidly try out ideas
block diagram – input, process, output, feedback loop to illustrate the
flow of signals at a systems level.
Emphasis on systems
analysis and systems
Ask the pupils, as a homework exercise, to decide whom they will
design their card for, to think about the kind of card they would like and
to look again at some commercial cards for ideas for surface designs,
patterns and content. Links with art and design
From here the series of lessons develops into:
» Finalising the designs of the cards and writing an appropriate greetings message
» Familiarisation with some components:
» a battery
» an on/off switch (not an input sensor)
» a Melody Generator IC (the processing subsystem)
» a piezo sounder (the output subsystem).
» Constructing a simple circuit to fit within the card. This could be one from a number of
» providing the pupils with pre-made and drilled PCBs (this has the advantage of
introducing pupils to PCB construction at an early stage)
» getting the pupils to design their own PCBs (this will take more time and skill but has the
advantage of introducing PCB design and CAD)
» using Tracktronics copper stick on track (this is quick. It has the disadvantage that
Tracktronics is only suitable for simple circuits so it cannot be built on in later work).
WWW.TEP.ORG.UK ···› 21
Keiron McGeever takes a month off robotics articles to remind us about the possibilities
of the TEP Rocket Factory and the things we can do when the weather gets warmer.
This IS Rocket Science!
I was excited the first time that Frank Muraca demonstrated the TEP Rocket Factory to me and I could not
wait to try it out for myself. Firing rockets 30, 40, 50 metres into the air is great fun and highly motivating
to children for the first few goes, but for any real learning to take place there needs to be another element to
the work. What it reminded me of were my Maths lessons at school (way back
in the middle of the last century). I was lucky and went to school before the
National Curriculum was invented and even luckier to have a maths teacher
with a bit of imagination when it came to teaching formulas and graphs. He
introduced the topic by getting the class to fire rocks into the air from catapults
(think of the health and safety issues around that today and the risk
assessment!) and then he showed how, by timing how long the rock was in the
air, we could plot graphs of the flight of the rock from which we could calculate
the height the rock got to and the maximum speed it achieved during the flight.
The Rocket Factory allows you to do this much more safely and I came up with
the idea for a competition called Rocket Day.
Rocket Day was intended to show that Technology can not only make Maths
and Science relevant but also FUN. There are three elements to a Rocket Day competition, the highest flight,
the longest flight and the most stylish rocket. Teams of up to four pupils are formed and they design and
make rockets for each of the three events.
Many schools already have the Rocket Factory and can ‘fire up’ integrated maths and science into a Rocket
Day activity. The Rocket Factory comes complete and ready to use and is available only from Teaching
3. How high can you fly?
At first sight the problem seems easy. Making a rocket for the TEP Rocket Launcher is simple, wrap a
sheet of A4 paper round a plastic tube, stick a nose cone and some fins on it, and there you are. The
difficulty starts when you try to make the rocket go as high as possible, you have to balance out the
weight of the rocket versus the power applied to it and the drag of it flying through the air.
2. How long can you go?
Trying to get the rocket to stay in the air as long as possible has so far proved to be almost impossible,
as can be seen from an actual table of results on the next page. No team has managed to get their rocket
to stay in the air for longer than the highest rockets time. This was due to the fact that devices added to
the rocket to make it come down slowly also made it go up slowly, resulting in very little height gained,
therefore a very short flight time. So this is a problem still to be solved.
1. How smart are you?
The Best Looking Rocket event is mainly a bit of fun, but the rocket still has to be launched, and this can
result in some of the funniest happenings of the day as a lot of the fancy add-ons don't stay on. There
can be a lot of flying debris. The most difficult part of this event is deciding who has made the best-
looking rocket and it can result in a lot of controversy.
Liftoff- Getting the total right
At the end of the competition the overall winner is decided on the total points scored for all the events
and is done using a spread sheet. See the example at the end of the article. The spread sheet is set up
so that it not only calculates the total number of points, but it also works out the height a rocket has
reached and the maximum speed it achieved during its flight.
Doing the Maths and Science
Tracking the Rocket
The altitude of the rocket can be measured directly with an inclinometer (see fig 1). fig 1
To do this, do the following:
» Keep the ascending rocket in view through the sighting tube.
» Lock the angle of the inclinometer at the highest point. (Angle a)
» Measure the distance from you to the rocket launcher. (Distance d)
» Use the formula tan a x d = h (h is the height of the rockets flight).
For greater accuracy it might be a good idea to use more than one inclinometer and
to average the results (see fig 2). This method is quick and simple but susceptible
to a lot of errors; it also gives only the height that the rocket achieved and not its
speed. For a more reliable method you have to delve deeper into the science.
Notes on Gravity, or “Why things fall down.”
But first, acceleration and velocity
Time in seconds Velocity in m/s Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity (speed) with respect to time and Velocity is the rate of change
of distance with respect to time. For example a car travelling at 5m per second will travel 5m for every second
0 seconds 0 m/s
it is moving, its velocity is constant. A car accelerating at 5m per second per second will have its velocity
increase by 5m/s for every second that it is moving, its velocity is not constant it gets faster and faster.
1 seconds 10 m/s
Gravity is a force of attraction between any two bodies that have a mass. I am attracted to the Earth by the
2 seconds 20 m/s Earths gravity and the Earth is attracted to me by my gravity (please note the two masses are vastly
different!). The greater the mass of an object the greater the gravitational attraction it has to another body.
It is gravity which gives an object weight, not to be confused with mass.
Gravitational attraction between two bodies causes them to come together with a greater and greater speed,
it accelerates them. On Earth the effect of gravity is expressed as the letter g and 1g = 10m/s/s (approx.) This
3 seconds 30 m/s means that if a ball is dropped from the top of a high building after 1 second the ball will be travelling at
10m/s, after 2 seconds 20m/s and so on (see fig 3). After 3 seconds the ball will be travelling at 30m/s which
fig 3 equals 108km/hr which equals 68m/hr, therefore gravity out performs a Ferrari.
The effects of gravity on a Rocket
When the rocket is going up, gravity works in reverse slowing the rocket down until it reaches a velocity of
0m/s and then it falls back to earth. This means the flight of the rocket is symmetrical and that half of the
flight is the same, mathematically, as if the rocket had been dropped from a great height.
Therefore the simple way to work out how high and how fast your rocket has travelled is to use the formulas
for the effects of gravity on an object and to do that you need to time the length of flight of the rocket from
when it leaves the launch pad to when it hits the ground again by using a cheap stop watch. You can then
substitute big T divided by 2 for little t in any of the formulas. (T equals the time of the flight in seconds).
Calculating the effects of gravity on a Rocket
To calculate the maximum speed your rocket achieved during its flight use the formula vf = g x t. This gives
the speed (vf) after t seconds. A free falling object accelerates at 1g (the accurate figure for this is
Similarly the distance (d) a free falling object travels can be found
from the formula d = 0.5 x g x t2
Simply calculating the effects of gravity on a Rocket
The simple way to calculate the effects of gravity on the rocket is to use a
spreadsheet such as Excel and to set it out as shown in the example below.
You can put any of the formulas into the spread sheet, depending on how you
want to calculate the height of the rocket and it will work out the results.
I have used this many times with groups from different schools, but it can be
done just as well with a class group even spreading the event over several
lessons. Projecting the spread sheet onto a screen adds to the atmosphere of
the event by allowing the teams to see how they are progressing.
As an inter-school event the way I have organised it in the past is to take a whole day to do it in, spending the
morning instructing and then experimenting and the afternoon testing and judging. But, I am sure that with
a little ingenuity an event can be adapted to suit your own environment. It would be great to do during an
Ofsted inspection, properly prepared and set up. If you want any more help or advice, a copy of the
Excel spreadsheet file, or a power point presentation on how to get organised, contact
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