Different Designs 4x4 sheets

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Age 11-16 years
First published 2008

4x4 planning sheets inspired by ‘Chindogu’ inventions to stimulate ideas amongst KS3 students in product design.

4x4 product analysis and design sheets are widely used in schools at KS3 to help stimulate ideas amongst KS3 students in product design. Initial ideas or existing products are included as the start point and the sheets passed to other students to make suggestions and improvements to the design in the four boxes available, from different perspectives. The sheets are then returned to the original student to consider the ideas.

This set of thirteen 4x4 sheets are inspired by the Japanese concept of ‘chindogu’ in which inventions with a twist are brought about by considering solutions outside the normal range. They might be dusters on cats’ feet for clearing the floor, portable lampposts or a device for warning when your shoe laces become undone. Some of the ideas might lead to practical solutions while others are just meant as a stimulus to encourage students to think beyond the bounds of ‘normal’ designing.

The sheets include prompts for designing such things as clip-on ears that flap to keep flies away from cows, a c double glove to allow two people to hold hands in cold weather and shoes with spikes on the soles to give ants, beetles and other insects a good chance of survival, rather than getting stepped on. The prompts on the four boxes encourage students to consider how these might be adapted or changed to perform other functions, or packaged for different markets.

The ideas on the sheets can also be used as useful starters or plenaries.

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