Investigating the Impact of Introducing Foundational Physical Modelmaking Practices on Students’ Final Projects

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Ken Zupan, School of Interactive Arts and Technology

Project team: Barbara Berry, Teaching and Learning Centre, and Vinu Rajus, research assistant

Timeframe: May 2018 to March 2019

Funding: $5380

Course addressed: IAT 336 – Materials in Design

Final report: Read Ken Zupan's final report (PDF)

Description: Students are entering my third-year course with weak physical modelmaking and making skills, as well as limited knowledge of materials and tools. Final projects are not as good as they could be. I propose that if the physical modelmaking improves, the final product should also. I plan to have my students learn and apply techniques such as trimming, fastening and finishing with hand tools, machine tools and rapid prototyping in three separate stages by designing and fabricating a wooden box, a metal handle to be attached to the box, and a plastic base to support the assembled wooden box. The construction, finishing and fastening requirements for each stage will be distinct according to the material and technique used. For the second iteration, the students will design and construct a second artifact utilizing the same materials and techniques. This artifact will be used as a benchmark to compare a sampling of artifacts produced in a previous term where students had not received prior modelmaking instruction.

Questions addressed:

  • How do students understand the relationships between materials, tools and skills?
  • What is the role of reflection as a means to improve skills development and physical modeling for students?
  • How does creating a small prototype influence student specific fabrication skills: specifically cutting, finishing and joining?

Knowledge sharing: I will make a formal presentation to colleagues in a SIAT faculty/departmental meeting or similar in January or February 2019.

Keywords:  Foundational modelmaking practices, tools, materials, repetitive practice, confidence-building, experiential learning, physical learning