What makes a good Key Stage 3 electronics project?

Ofsted’s D and T training resource in 2012, stated:Good achievement and challenge was evident when students…

 demonstrated high commitment to acquiring, analysing and applying knowledge

 worked with increasing responsibility and independence, making choices and taking decisions about their work

 were extremely productive, demonstrating good project management and efficient use of time, including the use of computers to aid design and manufacture

 worked constructively with others and managed risks exceptionally well to manufacture products safely and consider suitability for users

 responded to ambitious challenges, showing significant levels of originality, imagination or creativity, and produced ideas and manufactured prototypes that were varied and innovative.”

Our Response to Ofsted:

If you are making electronics the focus of a Key Stage 3 teaching project:

1, Try to offer projects that are not too complex. Activities should be challenging, but also employ circuits and components that appropriately fit with your learner’s prior understanding and current stage of learning. Some off-the-shelf kit projects, appealing to popular interests, may appear to be highly motivational, but you may find the technology involved is inaccessible to your learners (if it is incomprehensible!)

2, Try to offer projects that are not too prescriptive. This type of activity can make it seem easier to teach but it can make it more difficult for your learners to progress as they can easily become frustrated and unable to cope on their own when problems occur. Consider projects that provide opportunities for your learners to work more autonomously in their designing, modelling and making. Their enthusiasm & motivation will be increased as they take control and manage these tasks.

3, Praise and encourage creativity and risk taking throughout the project.  This will not only lead to a greater diversity of outcomes, but provide a greater sense of enjoyment and ownership by your learners. You will of course need to setup systems in your classroom to manage and resource these “more-open” activities and envisage the support or guidance that individual learners might need along the way to ensure their progress. It is important for learners to feel successful but take risks too and make mistakes which they can overcome and learn from them.  

Do you have you any tips or suggestions?


About Quinn

Designer and founder of QuickLink Systems
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