Ted Hughes book the Iron Man gave me the perfect opportunity to introduce the children to the process of design. We gave the first two sessions out of the four purely to the initial Define, collect, brainstorm and develop stages.
As a class we brainstormed and collected ideas for what type of problems we could use a robot for solving. Using their sketchbooks the children designed at least 4 different robots using a range of shapes and sizes. In the second session they had to choose one to develop further. Redrawing their design on a larger A3 scale. This was a great opportunity for them to change anything they didn't like or add ideas they had collected from looking at others work over the last week.
Our third and forth sessions concentrated on selecting junk materials with the correct forms to create a model of their robot. After the first session I took the decision to buy large amounts of aluminium foil and silver tape. They covered a multiple of sins giving an over all metal look. Trying to paint a wide range of plastic and cardboard junk was not practical.
Thankfully, we have a Scrap Store locally and one trolley full of bottle tops, jar lids and plastic button were more than enough for the children to use for finishing touches. The range of shaped and sized models the children created were fantastic. The purpose for each robot also varied from chicken cooking robots to homework doing robots. My favourite has to be the boyfriend robot dressed in tuxedo.
After the process I encouraged a verbal discussion on the final two stages of the design process feedback and improve. What would they of done differently? As they built their robots what changes did they make and why? This really helped them understand the design process as a continual cycle.