Design briefs and activities for key stage 4 and post 16

The following design briefs are supported by extensive background information to support the students.

The briefs combine contexts specific to the UK and international briefs.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle 

It has been recommended for many years that reducing, reusing and recycling provides many opportunities for environmental improvements in our own and other countries as well as in product manufacture. Design and make a product that tackles at least one of these criteria.

Specfic briefs

Reduce: Design for disasembly

Reduce: Avoid landfill. Design a new product from a 'waste' material

Reduce: Furniture design from sustainable sources

Reuse:  Design an alternative product to a throwaway carrier bag

Reuse:  Design a new product using waste card 

Recycle:  Design a waste storage system to encourage recycling

Recycle:  Design a new product using a recylced polymer 

International design briefs

Practical Action's international work focuses on the development of small scale technology to improve people's lives. The following design briefs are based on our international work with linked back up information.

Sustainable Power: Support small scale businesses with a new product.

Sustainable cooking: Design a fuel efficient cooking stove.

Carrying a load: Design a product to enable a person to carry the tools of their trade.


For further support or ideas for global design contexts visit Practical Action's work and for contextualised technical information linked to our international project work go to Technical briefs.

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