The Parade Float task is drawn from the Nuffield
Design & Technology curriculum and used by Design
& Technology classes mainly in the United Kingdom.
This task asks Key Stage 3 (middle-school) students
to build a human-propelled wooden model vehicle that
uses an asymmetric cam (translates rotation of wheels
into an up-and-down motion) and advertises a particular
product, store chain, or activity. Students learn about
what vehicles need to work (chassis, bearings, axle-and-wheel
systems). The aesthetics of the float are considered
an important dimension for this task -- students spend
time studying about and then choosing a theme and coordinated
color scheme. They make technical drawings of their
device using a Computer-Aided Drawings (CAD) system.
The wood used to make the model float s requires students
to be competent in using a broad range of tools for
manipulating such "resistant materials". Safe
and accurate use of these tools are important components
of students' overall work.
Students evaluation is based mainly on the portfolio
that they maintain and turn in that documents the various
stages of their work. Its sections are divided up mainly
into the steps of the design process over the 8-10 weeks
it takes to complete the task. The portfolios use lots
of illustrations to accompany text-based description
of problem definition, researching of the problem, listing
of 3-4 alternative designs, and so on.