The Macclesfield Academy (Cheshire)

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Fabulous E-textiles Lights

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After reading the specs for the new D&T GCSE Rebecca Lucas, the D&T subject leader from The Macclesfield Academy, felt the department needed to make changes at KS3, as although projects in year 7 covered all material areas, and had successful outcomes, this wasn’t the case for year 8. 

With students starting GCSE courses in year 9 it was important KS3 was interesting and enjoyable as well as leading into the GCSE content. With this in mind the department developed 2 projects, one which focuses on ergonomics with a design and modelling based project, and a second that is an e-textiles project incorporating modern materials. This is mainly a make project, but it could be extended by adding existing product analysis, design development and testing. A range of homeworks link to the project focusing on existing designers, e-textiles and product analysis.

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The only constraint for the project was that students had to choose from 3 laser cut shapes but they had the freedom for how they made it their own.

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Heavy weight Vilene was used which is very stiff and slightly translucent. Although a textiles material it is a bit like using a heavy weight card and can be scored and folded to hold shapes and stand without support. The surface was decorated with hand embroidery, fabric pens, sharpies, Pantone markets and felt tips all of which were experimented with to ensure they had a translucent effect to allow the light to pass through. The sides were also stitched using hand embroidery although the sewing machine could be used to replace any hand sewing. Be careful with stitches though as loose threads do show through the fabric. A piece of wood the same of the base was place in the bottom of the light to give it weight. 

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low E-textiles circuit

The e-textiles circuit used components from Kitronik’s Electro Fashion range to create a basic circuit. Click here for instructions on how create an e-textiles circuit.  


What I particularly like about the outcomes for this project are that they are all different to each other, both in shape, sizes and decoration. They are also well made and there is a real sense that students took great pride in designing and making them. 

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