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Have I Just Bitten off More Than I Can Chew?

January 19, 2012

I am a bit worried, to be honest. On Fridays I teach Design and Technology (D.T.) to ten and eleven year olds, and last week I started a project all about Recycling that will be spanning five weeks. I got very excited and inspired at the prospect of planning some resourceful recycling projects for my pupils to tackle over the next five weeks, but I think I may have been a little over-ambitious!

After lots of internet searching, I finally came up with three projects that I thought we could tackle. Have a look and see what you think:

1. Recycled magazine bowls and containers that look like these:


2. Old Vinyl Records made into bowls:

3. Beads made out of cereal boxes:

A class of 34 ten and eleven year olds should be able to handle that, right? Over the course of five weeks? It’s not too much to ask is it? Well. I am begining to think it may be.

Last friday we began. I thought we’d start with the magazine bowls, as they were going to be the most time consuming. We cut, we folded, we glued, we twisted, the adults went wild with the glue guns. We worked solidly for almost two hours. And after all of that all I had to show for it was a very messy classroom, some very hyper kids, and one tray (yes, just one tray) of rolled up magazine spirals :-(. And not even a full tray at that. Probably not enough for one decent sized bowl, let alone 34.

the end result of two hours of hard work by 34 primary children <sob>

I have tried to grab free moments this week to frantically try to make more magazine spirals, and folded lots of pages ready for the children to make their spiral bases for their bowls tomorrow.

I am very worried though. I have four Fridays left to complete the projects, and I’ll be lucky if we get to finish the magazine bowls, never mind the other projects I wanted them to do! I am hoping that they will all be able to make a bowl out of an old record, I have a big pile of old worthless records kindly donated to me by a charity shop, and they are really quick and easy to make, but I think I will have to shelve the idea of making the cardboard beads. I wish I had more hours to do D.T with the kids at school, because there is no way we can tackle any of the more ambitious projects I think of within the time-frame I am allotted. Which is a shame, because it reduces D.T to nothing more than a bit of junk modeling in Primary schools, glorified art lessons rather than useful life skills. Shame really.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. January 19, 2012 8:48 pm

    Bigger spirals? Or could they do some as “homework”, or do team bowls rather than individual ones? How wonderful though that you are showing them ways to use “unloved” products to recycle into something new and fun. Good luck to you!

  2. January 19, 2012 8:49 pm

    Maybe you can turn it around and just rethink the project.

    In a way it could be a good part of the learning process. What to do when things don’t go according to plan. When to know to redesign your original design to better work within the brief/time constraints/limitations you have.

    The kids could be involved to think of ways you could use the spirals to make something smaller but still useful. Maybe it’s a case of making a papier mache bowl in the normal manner and using a single row of magazine spirals around the top of it. or smaller bowls? or small picture frames where you’d need just a piece of cardboard for the back of the frame and the spirals as the frame part?

    • January 19, 2012 9:07 pm

      Thank you littlemissmaker, it would be a good part of the learning process to rethink the plan. I will put some suggestions forward to them for how we can get the project done, either by changing it, making group bowls or something big for he classroom like a waste bin or something like picture frames, thanks for the suggestions!

      • January 22, 2012 9:29 pm

        I’m deeply envious that you can go in and teach regularly. I used to go in and do art with the local primary school once a week but the financial squeeze means I now have to work full time. I do the odd project with them but wish I could do more. Love the blog by the way – only discovered it when a friend pointed me in your direction. I spent almost a whole day in the time off over Christmas reading the entire blog and loved it all. Want to try your messenger style bag as my next project. Huge congratulations in making your target.

      • January 23, 2012 4:56 pm

        Thank you littlemissmaker for such a lovely comment, I am glad you like my blog and it has touched me that you spent a day reading through my entire blog. You should definitely try the messenger bag.
        I teach for a living, I guess I am lucky that it is my full time job 🙂 Only get to do DT once a week though.

  3. Narcisse permalink
    January 19, 2012 9:00 pm

    Why do not you try to ask them to do some of the paper rolls with their parents, counting how many tou need for a small bowl. So next friday you can finish all 34 of them. IYWIM. The ideas are lovely though. Hope you will make them all. Good luck.

    • January 19, 2012 9:05 pm

      Very good idea Narcisse! I will see how tomorrow goes and possibly set them homework to finish it!

  4. January 19, 2012 11:48 pm

    how do you bend the record to make a bowl? i’d love to this

    • January 20, 2012 7:39 am

      intomind you soften the record first in a hot oven!

      • Narcisse permalink
        January 30, 2012 12:21 am

        And do you give it a shape afterwards?

      • January 30, 2012 7:45 am

        Yep once it has gone soft in the oven you shape it over the top of an inverted bowl or dish, pushing it down the sides. I will write a tutorial.

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