We analysed the history of our local dish, Scouse, finding out that the recipe entered our city through our influential ports from Scandinavia. By looking at the ingredients and considering its historic roots, we knew that the dish would have been eaten by sailors; therefore, the ingredients had to provide them with a lot of energy for their long journeys (including lots of carbohydrates); warming due to the harsh conditions; and ingredients that would last a long time as their journeys could have taken months without any refrigeration.
Next, we looked at the importance of safety in the kitchen, identifying potential hazards that we could encounter and how to avoid these. We also learnt about how hand washing is a crucial step in the preparation of food due to the potential of spreading bacteria onto food and preparation surfaces.
In our design phase, we learnt about how design elements of the pie could be functional or aesthetic. If it was functional, it meant that it had a purpose, for example the vents on the pie were used to let steam rise from the filling. Other design features were aesthetic: this meant that the elements were for decoration and to make it appealing to the end user.
During the 'Make' phase, we learnt new skills in chopping and dicing vegetables to cook down into a stew. We learnt about using a claw grip to avoid injuring ourselves and protecting our fingers from cuts. Additionally, we learnt how to chop the vegetables into a dice: this would ensure that they would cook evenly when placed inside the pie so that it was tasty for the end user.
Our project brief outlined that we needed to design and make a small cushion cover based on the memories of the end user, which could be used in the home.
Using this criteria, during our 'Design' phase, we researched the history of cushions. We discovered that their purpose and user had changed significantly over the centuries as they were once a symbol of wealth - the more you owned, the richer you were seen to be. Fabric and dye were very expensive, so cushions were the ultimate display of taste and wealth. Early cushions developed during Ancient Egypt were used as headrests made from wood and stone for mummies; this developed in Ancient China, where 'hard' cushions were still made from materials such as bamboo, ceramic and bronze. Later, cushions developed into Japanese zabutons, which were used for seating (and are still used widely today!) which were designed to protect the user's knees and ankles from the floor. More recently, due to the Industrial Revolution, dyes and fabrics became easier, quicker and cheaper to produce so Victorian families used cushions to add comfort and style to bedrooms, sofas and armchairs.
Next, we looked at examples of existing products and analysed their purpose. We evaluated if the existing cushions were used for decorative purposes and were therefore aesthetic (such as a scatter cushion) or if the cushion had a practical role in supporting the user perform a task in a particular way and were therefore functional (such as a bean bag). For some of these existing products, we discussed if it were possible that a cushion could be both aesthetic and functional.
We also developed skills in joining and finishing by learning about different types of stitch. We learnt that some stitches could be visible or hidden based on their purpose or if they contributed to the end product's design. Using a pattern piece, we practised some hidden stitches including: running stitch, back stitch, zigzag stitch and overstitch as well as some visible stitches including: overstitch and blanket stitch. After this, we evaluated which stitches we would use in the final design, considering their aesthetic and functional qualities. Finally, we considered how we could finish our product, adding detail to make it aesthetically pleasing. We brainstormed some of the ways that we could do this including: texture; patterned fabric; appliqué or using decorative items such as buttons, bows, tassels or pom poms.
During the 'Make' phase of our project, we selected from a wide range of textiles, threads and decoration elements to incorporate into our final product. We used different types of scissors to cut the textiles, considering whether we wanted the cut to add to the aesthetic quality of the cushion or if it was just entirely functional. Also, we used glue to initially attach the elements of our design into place; different sized needles depending on the purpose of the stitch and were supported in using a sewing machine to complete the joining of the fabric.
If necessary, we adapted our designs based on the feedback given to us throughout the process. At the end of our project, we evaluated our products against the design criteria, considering the views of others to improve our work if we were to do it again in the future.
Our thrill-seekers were inspired by the impressive constructions and height of the rides and rollercoasters in Port Aventura - we wanted to make a mini Port Aventura in our classroom!
Firstly, we researched some of the rides at Port Aventura, looking closely at how the structures were made stronger by the addition of triangles to reinforce the tower's design. We thought about the type of ride that we would like to construct as a prototype to explore how these mechanisms work together. Next, we looked closely at how energy is transferred in these rides - considering gravity, potential energy and kinetic energy in how the rides move, spin and rock.
Then came our opportunity to use some existing construction materials to make models by following exploded diagrams as our instructions. Through our construction phase, we learnt about the importance of using cams, gears and motors in order to transfer effectively throughout the ride - we built some of these cams with the individual pieces of K'NEX.
After our construction phase came our evaluation: we had a carousel to look at each others' build, analysing how the mechanisms worked and how we could iron out or fix any problems with the design. We also extended this to our parents, who were really impressed with our feats of engineering! Some parents gave advice on how we could fix some errors in our designs.