Re-designing the paper helicopter for disaster relief

2006-07-06T14:04:16Z (GMT) by Howard G. Denton
This paper describes one way in which student teachers, at Loughborough University in the UK, are encouraged to approach design and technological activity. The focus is to use a quickly made, simple and reliable model, the paper ‘helicopter’ above, to iteratively explore and develop the design. This approach maximises rapid initial positive feedback (I can do this!). Pupils learn to use brainstorming, ‘what happens if?’ questions and rapid 3D modelling to explore and develop the basic design. This activity is then put into a real-world context: pupils explore whether these devices, once re-designed, could act as parachutes to supply emergency aid to disaster areas anywhere in the world. Again brainstorming and iterative modelling are used to develop ideas on appropriate performance, scale, materials and re-cycling. Students explore ways in which this university-taught session could be developed and applied in schools.