Year 1, Term 3: Design

Focus: Affordances

Scope and sequence: Affordances

Learning intention: Students generate and record design ideas through describing, drawing and modelling.

NSW Syllabus
Australian Curriculum (version 9.0)
"A student describes how the properties of materials determine their use." (ST1-7MW-T)
"Students learn to generate and communicate design ideas through describing, drawing or modelling, including using digital tools." (AC9TDE2P01)

Week 1

The following video (6:48) is of Jeff Paulson reading The most magnificent thing by Ashley Spires. It is a light-hearted reminder that design involves multiple attempts and iterations.

Introduction to the design cycle

Processes v cycles


Think Make Improve

There are several variations of the design process but the one adopted here is TMI (Think, Make, Improve) first proposed by Martinez and Stager in 2013.  “Reducing the process to three steps minimises talking and maximises doing” (Martinez & Stager, 2019, p. 54).  TMI is an example of the maxim to “make everything as simple as possible but not simpler” which is widely attributed to Albert Einstein.  Children are unlikely to forget the three steps in TMI in contrast to existing design models which “may be too wordy or abstract for young learners” (Martinez & Stager, 2019, p. 54).

Week 2


The word 'affordances' was first used by Gibson in 1966 but more clearly expounded in his writing from 1979 as follows:

The affordances of the environment are what it offers the animal, what it provides or furnishes, either for good or ill. The verb to afford is found in the dictionary, the noun affordance is not. I have made it up. I mean by it something that refers to both the environment and the animal in a way that no existing term does. It implies the complementarity of the animal and the environment (p. 127).

Affordances are the inherent properties of an object, either virtual or tangible. For example, ropes are good for binding and pulling but not for pushing. The following video (1:58) is a good introduction to affordances in the context of play.

Week 3

Is design the same as creating something?

In this video (3:58) Julie Dufour talks about design education for children.


Week 4


Week 5


Week 6


Week 7


Week 8


Week 9


Week 10

Moderated self-assessment


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