Thursday 7 September 2017


Furzedown Primary School 2017

With this year’s Architecture workshops with Year 5, at Furzedown Primary School, we asked for some feedback to gain some insight in to what the children thought was relevant and engaging.  The results revealed many issues which were important to them. 

The sequence of workshops included experiments with structure, 3d drawing, model making and working with larger kits of materials.  Each workshop was held so that there was a brief introduction to the subject area and a review at the end, leaving as much time as possible for the children to experiment and develop their ideas.  

The tasks given were not too prescriptive, but introduced the children to the basics of a subject area and presented them with a challenge which could be interpreted in many different ways.  The overall focus of the sequence of workshops was to investigate designs for a shelter.  As usual, the creativity and enthusiasm of the children took their work in unexpected directions.

Their feedback is of great value to help understand what they found most engaging and most challenging.  It also highlighted ways in which the workshops might be improved in the future.  We were given some expected and surprising responses:

I made an origami den and a Sun Dome.  I could have improved my Sun Dome Dome by making sure every time I put it up it doesn’t fall down.  – Understanding how materials work and go together, and thinking about how to improve their own creations.

My Favourite part was going outside to make different structures. – When the weather was right, working outside was always a favourite activity.  Working in groups the children were able to make some large structures together.

It taught me how to make mini structures and has inspired me to make some things at home. – We chose materials for the models which were readily available, (and mostly items for recycling).  It is encouraging that they might take their ideas and knowledge home to develop further.

We made structures out of magnets.  I found it quite easy because you didn’t have to plan it, you made it up as you went along. – A great way to experiment: Create first and then assess it later.

My favourite thing was drawing on Axonometric paper.  At first I found it difficult but I caught on soon. -  The ‘light-bulb’ moment when the children realise something new. 

I really enjoyed building structures outside, even when it didn’t work out. – Experiments don’t always lead to success.  When things didn’t work out the  way they expected, there was still just as much to learn.

You taught me that patience is the key to building a structure. 

My favourite bit was when we had to plan our own designs. – Being a designer and in control of their ideas was important to them.

I learnt that not all buildings around the world are made of the same material. – A useful insight in to children’s preconceptions in to the world, which we forget as adults.

To improve I think you could have more materials to make the projects. – Having a good range of materials is important and children have a good appetite to experiment with as many as possible.  Originally we though that limiting the range of materials might focus minds, but the children wanted more to experiment with.

I enjoyed using the 3D pens to create a building. – Looking at different ways of thinking and creating in three dimensions was important.

You could make the lessons more fun by making the slideshow shorter because we really wanted to get on with the fun of the work you planned. – Great advice.  Children pick up information quickly, process it in their own way and their enthusiasm generated lots of creative energy.

I would make it better by explaining more about the slides shown to us. – A counter-argument to the above.  Every child is different.

It was really fun. – To me this might be the most important quality to capture in the workshops.

My favourite bit was drawing 3D shapes.  My shapes turned in to a building picture called the Crystal Flats. – The children engaged with the process that a thought can be captured in a drawing, developed with one or several media and become a conceptual building design.  The media helping to inform the possibilities of the idea.

I enjoyed doing the construction kits. – At both model full scale we had a number of kits for making different structures, enclosures, shelters and dens.  They were great for getting the children started with a construction concept, but their creative energy quickly took over and made a whole lot more out of the kits, often combining them to create more even adventurous designs.

I learnt that Architecture isn’t as boring as it seems and doesn’t take up much of your time. – Oh dear! I'm not sure where this came from.  Poor kids, they'll learn.

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