Lego, engineering, Tenner Challenge, spacesuits & handbags

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There has been no blog for the last two weeks as things have been so busy but it is back this week with one final one to round off the year. 

I hope everyone has a well earned break and that a few of the ideas in the newsletter, along with those on mFacebook page which will continue over the break, save you a bit of preparation time for the New Year. 

‘Like’ my Facebook page to make sure you don’t miss out on free resources over the holiday.

Free ResourcesImages, ideas & text are copyright of Julie Boyd & can’t be shared, sold or reproduced 


Quick activities with a free photo & thinking point. Find out more at

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#ThinkDo #Inspiration What has inspired the design of this shop sign? What other inspiration could you use to redesign the sign to create a different image?

Click on the image to see a larger version. Free download image to use in your classroom. 

See #ThinkDo activities posted on Instagram & Facebook 

Did you see my Facebook over the last few weeks?

This week’s Facebook updates have included: 


Focus on D&T:  For all D&T teachers


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With Christmas on the horizon Lego is an iconic toy that has stood the test of time and no doubt it will feature in lots of stockings on Christmas Day. Why not start the new term focusing on this popular iconic product and its origins?

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If you are in the Northampton area visit the Brick City exhibition of Lego models at The Harley Gallery made by Warren Elmore to recreate the world’s favourite buildings (until 10th Jan 2016). Find out more at - the history of Lego - Click on the side bar menu on the page to find out more about Lego’s social responsibility ambitions. - an article about a pair of ‘foot protectors’  being given away by Lego with selected sales in France that are supposedly designed to protect your feet against the painful problem of stepping on a piece of Lego. I’m not convinced these are significantly different from any ordinary pair of slippers but it is a fun way of looking at real design problems and solutions. 

Engineering Statistics

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Take a look at these statistics on engineering and STEM. D&T may be the poor relation but it is still part of STEM so these figures apply to us as well! The information is on a webpage but it would be easy to make them into a promotional poster. If you are a textiles specialist don't forget engineering and STEM includes textiles - if you aren't sure how, and how STEM in textiles can be both creative and arty as well as being technical, come on one of my courses! You can see the full version of the poster at (via @EngineeringUK).

GCSE Update

The date for the release of the draft specifications by the exam boards has been put back until 18th May which is disappointingly late in the year, particularly as these still won’t be the final versions. At the moment it is predicted the final versions won’t be available until the end of the summer term at the earliest. Find out more about key dates on the D&T Association website at

Course Updates: For All D&T Teachers

Look out for new course dates in the Spring term in the newsletter after Christmas. If there are any particular courses you would like to see added the calendar contact 

Focus on T&L & Leadership

The Tenner Enterprise Challenge 


The Tenner Challenge is for young people aged 11-19 who want a taste of what it is like to be an entrepreneur. As well as being an enterprise challenge the competition focuses on how young people can make a difference in society in some way. Entrants are given £10 to kick start their business enterprise and students then have 4 weeks to make a profit. There are online resources to guide students and to help teachers structure lessons. At the end of the challenge students pay back their £10 but keep the profits they earn for use within school or they can donate them to charity. Students record their progress in log books which are entered for judging and overall winners are chosen based on innovation, the journey travelled and social conscience.  Schools have to register by 26th February and the challenge itself takes place between 22nd February and 18th March. This project would suit a tutor group activity, an enterprise challenge, as well as being suitable for some D&T lessons. Even if your students can’t take part in the actual competition this idea might be great inspiration for setting up a similar project in school. 

For more information visit

Focus on Textiles: Back to  my roots!

In The News: Spacesuits

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With British astronaut Tim Peake making history by becoming the first UK astronaut to go into space this is a great opportunity to look at the high tech textiles design used in spacesuits. The NASA website has some great resources including videos, interactive games (for younger students), galleries of images as well as lots of background information on the suits themselves. Visit


Take a look at these bag designs which are great for quick product analysis activities focusing on user needs and the functionality of products: - Clever backpack design that allows you to access the contents of your bag without removing it - Suitcases, suit bags & a variety of other travel bags made by a Scottish company to meet the needs of the modern traveller. The signature armour look on the outside is also reflected in the products ability to withstand wear and tear due to the high tech materials the bags and cases are made from. In particular the garment carry on bag is worth a look as it claims that the design means garments don’t crease in the bag. - Vogue’s 'Hall of Fame’ for handbags including iconic designs by Chanel, Fendi, Balenciaga, and many others - A social enterprise project from South Africa that uses plastic bags to make reflective school bags that turn into lights when it goes dark enabling children from homes without electricity to study at night (via Phil Sutcliffe on the JambleD&T Facebook group) - A minimalist wallet that allows you to carry lots of credit cards, cash, and a key in a wallet with a slim profile that gives easy access to everything you need. - A high tech wallet that has inbuilt tracking so you don’t lose it and can find it if it is stolen, which messages you when someone else is accessing it, and which includes an electronic key and auto payments. 

Course Updates: For All D&T Textiles Teachers

Click on the links below to find out more or click here to see the full course calendar

An introduction to A level Product Design Textiles 
9th January 2016 10am - 4pm SATURDAY COURSE

GCSE Textiles: Preparing for the Written Exam
27 January 2016, Liverpool 
12 March 2016, Nottingham SATURDAY COURSE

A Level Product Design Textiles: Developing Key Knowledge and Skills for Units 1 & 3 
6th February 2016, Nottingham

The Textiles Teacher Roadshow
27 February 2016, Parsons Green, London SATURDAY COURSE
Includes free set of 11 A2 posters on designing & making in textiles

Technical Textiles: Using Smart & Modern Materials in Your Classroom - 1st & 2nd July 2016 (2 day course), FREE COURSE! STEM Centre, York (note this course is organised by the STEM Centre & the link takes you to their website - look for info on the Enthuse bursary to attend the course for free.

Why not build attending a course into your Performance Review? 
Dates or venue not suitable or type of course you want not available? Additional courses can be added to the course calendar at your request at no additional cost to you. Email for more details. 

Don’t forget to ‘like’ my Facebook for lots of ideas & activities in between blogs

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© Boyd Education  2012   text, images & ideas on this website are the copyright of Julie Boyd & may not be copied or reproduced without permission.. All rights Reserved.