Pupils take the role of graphic designers to create a mascot for a fictional new primary school. This image is created using a web-based digital drawing tool package, based upon screen pixels. Pupils work both individually and in small groups to discuss possible designs. They make decisions and communicate them about the planning, designing, evaluating and re-designing their product. They also process incoming information via ‘management’ memos, make recommendations about their product and present their final products.

Mathematically, Design the mascot helps pupils to learn, use and apply concepts of dimensions, proportional enlargement, ratio and linear scale factors, connecting these to area scale factors. Pupils engage in whole-class discussions about the mathematics they have used within the design process.

Getting started

A complete list of resources is provided below.

Mathematical content

The primary maths used in this unit are proportional reasoning, geometry and measures. Pupils will engage in design, which requires that they cover a specific area of a display. Pupils should be familiar with using ratios and estimating area: relevant extension activities are included for pupils.

Specific Key Stage 3 National Curriculum areas covered include:

  • Key concepts - competence, creativity, the applications and implications of mathematics.
  • Key processes – identify the mathematical aspects of a situation or problem; visualise and work with dynamic images; make accurate mathematical diagrams, graphs and constructions on paper and on screen; estimate, approximate and check working.
  • Number & algebra – applications of ratio and proportion.
  • Geometry & measures – perimeters, areas, surface areas and volumes; points, lines and shapes in 2D coordinate systems; transformations.

Organisation and pedagogy

The materials are designed for all pupils in Year 8, and there are extension suggestions that may make this case appropriate for Year 9 and advanced Year 8 pupils.

The typical lesson consists of an introduction (conducted in a whole class discussion), pupil investigations (small group), and reflections (whole class). The role of the teacher is to introduce the topic, and monitor and guide pupils as they work through design questions and mathematical explanations. The included extension ideas can be used for pupils to continue their design work after class.

Resources provided

This Case Study contains a collection of printable and ICT resources comprising:

Other resources:

Resource requirements (including hardware & software)

The software is suitable for Windows PCs and Apple Macs.

Each group of 2 or 3 pupils will require a computer with access to the Digital Drawing Tool software: download the Case Study and copy the folder content/DigiToolcontent/DigiTool to each computer, or make it available on your network. These computers will require a web browser with the Adobe Flash Player (www.adobe.com/downloads) plugin (version 8 or later) installed.

A computer with a data projector - or an interactive whiteboard - with Microsoft Powerpoint, will be needed to show the presentation to the class. If you do not have Powerpoint, a free viewer is available from www.microsoft.com.

Adobe Reader (www.adobe.com/downloads) is required to view the teachers' notes and handouts. The editable versions require Microsoft Word or an alternative (such as OpenOffice).