Design and Technology (D&T) KS3: Block foam modelling

This short film explains the process of block foam modelling, which is used to create prototypes of products in the design phase and allows the production of well-finished presentation models for a range of RMT product design projects.

This particular type of modelling is particularly useful for students completing iterative design projects as it helps them develop the form and ergonomics of their final designs.

Teacher Notes

Points for discussion

  • Assess this technique compared to other modelling techniques, for example milliput, polymorph or scratch modelling.
  • How could you most quickly realise a 3D rendition of a version of the product you are trying to create?
  • How could you use or adapt this technique to create iterations of an idea and evaluate them quickly?
  • How might you combine prototype components made this way with those made from other materials to quickly test ideas?

Suggested activities

  • A car-styling project (make half a body split down the centreline and a piece of mirrored plastic to ‘finish’ the view).
  • Quickly create a range of ergonomic handles for evaluation and use in, for example, a garden tool design project.
  • Use pre-cut sections (e.g. 20x20mm) to quickly model frames for furniture or a mini catapult, to help with the consideration of joints and structure.
  • Use this process across a whole variety of iterative design projects (for example, lighting design) to help to generate ideas.
  • At KS4, use foam to generate iterations of a huge range of potential components for use in RMT product design, engineering, graphic products and textiles projects.

Curriculum Notes

Suitable for teaching design and technology (D&T) at KS3/4 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and 3rd and 4th level in Scotland.

More from this series

Laser cutting
Finishing wood
Finishing plastic