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Parade Float

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.

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