Mood light to Solar Light

Image result for making skills quote, design

‘Be bold or italic, never regular.’

After a year of teaching pupils how to make a mood light my soul died a little. I had previously blogged about teaching it and how it was actually beneficial, as pupils could be creative. I am here to eat my own words. I found that the project allowed naff, generic ideas that gave pupils little skill or was relevant to industry or allowed pupils to gain insight into emerging technologies. It was pointless and I am here to admit I hated teaching pupils how to make a mood light by the end of last year. Any NQT or fully fledged D&T teacher, please burn your SOW that says, ‘To design and make a mood light.’

I decided to go back to the drawing board. After last year I felt that pupils needed something where they could learn their basic knowledge and hands skills in the workshop. A project that would enable them to get use to using various tools and machinery competently, so they can go forth in upper years and be able to work on more open briefs that allowed creativity, as they have some core skills to work up from. It became very apparent to me last year that a core set of skills must be instilled in year 7 and 8 or spoon feeding ensures in the upper years.

I am now running a Solar Light project with my year 8 pupils where they make a Solar Light for people off the Grid. The project allows making skills. Horror! I hear intakes of breath. Never would I have thought that I would teach a making project, but I am and this is because pupils lacked independence in how to use machines and tools in the workshop, which hindered their progress in the short rotations we have. This project also allows pupils to work on quality control and allows the pupils to take full control over the outcome, instead of the teacher being required to finish the work off for them or heavily help the pupils. It is also relevant to industry and emerging or current technologies and isn’t another clock or desk tidy that is so 1990’s, that pupils have no interest it in what-so-ever.

Please download, use and share. Please credit me if you re-share.

SOW Breakdown: year8_solarlight_sow

Power points: yr8_lessons_solarlight

Booklets: yr8_less_is_more_solorlights





  1. It does take time for pupils to develop making skills but equally it takes time to develop designing skills. Pupils need to have a variety of experiences where they can be creative with a purpose. The trick is teaching the making skills when they need them.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s