Design Technology - The plastics problem

Lesson overview

In this lesson students are posed with a problem; they need to design a product which can carry several items from one location to another. They should attempt to design a new product and consider its features including strength, usability and materials. Students go on to evaluate existing solutions to this product in terms of strength, cost, aesthetics, usability and finally sustainability. They conclude by evaluating whether a new product is required based on the existing alternatives.

Learning outcomes
  • Understand design criteria
  • Develop and communicate ideas
  • Discuss purpose, function and appeal of products
  • Investigate and analyse a range of existing products
  • Evaluate ideas and products
Lesson steps
  1. Design criteria (10 mins)
    Students are posed with a problem; transporting a number of medium sized goods (tins of beans) from point A to point B.
  2. Developing ideas (15 mins)
    In groups students discuss possible solutions to this problem, sharing and building on ideas.
  3. Specifications (15 mins)
    Students then consider in greater detail the strength, usability, materials and aesthetics of their designs.
  4. Analyse existing products (10 mins)
    Students investigate a variety of existing similar products and analyse their strength, cost, aesthetics and usability.
  5. Evaluate existing products (10 mins)
    They then evaluate the sustainability of each of these products (and their own) and conclude whether a new product is required based on the existing alternatives.