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Safely cutting cardboard

Discussion in 'Design and technology' started by mature_maths_trainee, May 15, 2012.

  1. mature_maths_trainee

    mature_maths_trainee New commenter

    Can you DT guys advise me please - I'm a Maths teacher and rarely have to deal with equipment safety issues.
    I'd like to create some large nets from 'corrigated' cardboard (salvaged from old cardboard boxes) to make into 3D models of geometric shapes. I've made some at home at they are much easier (and more impressive) to create than very small models from thin card. I've cut the cardboard myself using blades and a straight edge - but I'm looking for a much safer way to do this with secondary-level students in class.
    Can you advise how to do it? What sort of safety blades shoud be used? Is this a routine type of proceedure to be done within a DT department? (i.e. will it already have been safety-assessed?). Will it be straightforward to do in a Maths classroom, or do you see it becoming problematic?
  2. Hi,

    As a NQT D & T teacher, I have had to complete a large Health and safety training file which other subjects do not have to do. This has been checked by DATA and I have basic CORE accreditation. This covers me for the use of craft knifes and basic hand tools. I know that when we set cover lessons we are not allowed to leave tasks that use craft knifes as they have not completed their CORE and therefore will not be covered by the schools insurance. We have to complete a safety training checklist (sign and date class list, for each tool, for each student) before they use the tools, to show they have been trained properly not to put their hands behind the blade , look what they are doing and not to walk around with the blade out. Our craft knifes are all numbered and need to be counted in and out before anyone can leave the lesson. Suddenly safety scissors sound easier! Perhaps you should just run it by your H&S officer to check.

    I also have been creating nets with year 8 for a creative desk tidy. You will be surprised how difficult the students find it. I originally gave them A3 card but it took the students too long to make one net. They had to measure it out and then cut it out. They really struggled with tabs and where they need to go. I found that asking them to draw nets on graph or squared paper worked well and then glue this to A4 coloured card and then cut out works well. I also found having packaging on the table that they could take apart to see how it is constructed also works well. Good luck, I am sure that you will find a way that works but it might take a few attempts. Remember, KISS .....Keep It Simple Sir!
  3. mature_maths_trainee

    mature_maths_trainee New commenter

    Thanks for the insight Josie.
    The practicalities do sound problematic!
    I'm fairly certain safety scissors will be useless for my needs. I want precision and speed (I'm a Maths teacher...!).
    I can currently think of only two decent options. 1. Liaise with my friendly DT team, and see if we can do a 'joint mini-project' in which the students draw the nets in my lesson, but then 'cut them up and build them' in a DT lesson (where they'll be allowed to use the knives etc).
    2. Split the construction over two lessons, so that I can do all the cutting out myself between the lessons. If I have a couple of students helping me hold the cardboard etc. over one lunchbreak, I reckon I can do things very effeciently and quickly.

    Any other good solutions?
  4. Where are the nets made by your pupils going to be stored? They will take up a lot of space if assembled and will need space set aside. They will also get mixed up since some pupils will write their names on them; some pupils will write their names on the bits they cut off instead of on the nets; some pupils will not write their names on the nets at all; some pupils will produce no work and will, in the next lesson, take someone else's work and claim that it is theirs.
    Will more than one group be making them? They will take up much more space and will get mixed up between the groups, in addition to the problems outlined above (and in addition to any other problems that I haven't considered).
    In any case, my inclination would be to steer clear of any material that will be difficult to cut. I'd get some ordinary, thick card that can be cut with scissors.
    On a final note, please consider this: at the end of the lesson (which will overrun), the pupils will go to
    their next lesson leaving only one person to tidy up (you, in case you hadn't guessed) while another group arrives noisily, their teacher expressing dismay at the state of the room and the inevitable poor start to their lesson...
    SPACE AND BEYOND was a cardboard engineering Team Project for year 5-6. Because of the great prep and team videos on how to do each task it was a great success. The finished project was about 2m high. I would do it again:
    This project could combine a great many topics in an innovative exciting project
  6. With respect, mature maths trainee, what will your students gain by making large scale nets rather than small thin card nets? The understanding of 2D to 3D transformation will be the same..I think you're proposing a complicated solution which is fraught with problems (as Whacko has pointed out). There are serious safety issues with non-specialists using this kind of equipment with classes:frankly, it's just not a good idea, and i don't know about insurance and such...

    I would bring in my own models from home to impress them, but get them to use scissors and thin card. less bother, same learning.
    Hope it goes well!
  7. I agree- scale can make a huge difference- far more fun. Wish I had a 'like' button for some of the comments on here
  8. jeanette1967

    jeanette1967 New commenter

    For added safety they should also use a steel safety ruler which has a well down the centre for their fingers.

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