14 March 2023
Mrs Claire Wilkinson, Teacher of Design and Technology
On Thursday 9 March, Lower Sixth students studying design and technology A Level impressed a 'Dragons’ Den' panel with products designed to enhance Woldingham’s new Outdoor Adventure and Education Centre.
Last week’s ‘presentation and pitch’ was the culmination of a product design project inspired by a session in the autumn term with Outdoor Adventure and Education Manager Mr Richard Brinkmann, which kicked off with a session on the high ropes course and a product analysis lesson. The four Lower Sixth DT students – Isabella, Jaenique, Jess and Sophie - learned about products already used by the centre, such as helmets and carabiners, what type of people use the centre and other aspects to take into account, such as the weather.
The students considered suitability of materials, functioning aspects, manufacturing processes, ergonomics, safety, sustainability, aesthetics and cost implications. They then selected a context area and developed a range of design iterations using our industry-standard CAD software, Rhinoceros, to create their final proposals, full scale and rendered.
Two students designed new sections for the adventure course: Jess’ concept was a bouldering wall and Jaenique’s ‘The Woldingham Web’, which included a platform and a spider’s web-themed stretchy rope. Isabella designed a practice section, which included a wire to practise clipping in and out, a learning information board and a shelter. Sophie’s concept was an innovative, warm Woldingham carabiner, which considered structural integrity and is warmer to touch due to the shrink-wrapped recyclable thermoplastic elastomer sleeve.
After all this hard work, the final project stage was to pitch their ideas to our five Woldingham ‘dragons’: Mr Richard Brinkmann, Mrs Angela Higgs (Bursar), Ms Jenny Rawlinson (Communication Director), Mrs Faye Scantlebury (Head of Events) and Mrs Suzy Woolaway (Deputy Head). The students demonstrated that they had considered their product’s unique selling points and feasibility, including cost implications and manufacture techniques, and responded confidently to the panel’s challenging questions. Our designers were rewarded with useful feedback from our panel of experts and some chocolate-themed ‘investment’ in their products.
The project and pitches, which took the students out of their comfort zone, were excellent preparation for university and careers ahead.