In this resource from Teachers TV, Key Stage Two teacher Pauline Hannigan delivers a three day project on virtual pets to her mixed Year Five and Six class. Throughout the programme, Cornwall LEA Design and Technology advisor David Prest and fellow primary teacher Teresa Wilton discuss which aspects of the project they feel other teachers can draw upon in their own classrooms.
A sense of excitement is achieved by letting children discover how commercially produced toy pets are put together and how they work. Children then take ownership of the project by designing their own pets for production in a factory. Previous learning on levers and pivots is reinforced as children make their own moving mechanisms. Working in pairs they decide upon a realistic and achievable design, which they then construct using the well set up resources. Finally children present and evaluate their designs to the class discussing what worked well and what went wrong. Other children ask the designers questions and make suggestions for improvement.
The project balances the teaching of key skills and understanding, whilst allowing children the freedom to make choices based on their own ideas. This leads to greater creativity in the design making process.