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TECH501 Design in Timber 1

Unit rationale, description and aim

All students benefit from being able to solve problems through design thinking and being able to safely design, use and evaluate timber material and manufacturing technologies that shape our world. To align their work to the Australian Curriculum: Design and Technologies, and to function as secondary teaching professionals in the Technologies discipline, students must undertake a sequence of technologies units that enable students to acquire conceptual, procedural and professional skills and knowledge in timber design technologies.

In this unit students will extend their knowledge and skills in timber design and the associated materials and digital technologies that are used. Students will refine their skills to identify, select and evaluate principles, properties and performance characteristics of timber materials and their suitability for design applications. Students will demonstrate competence in the selection and safe use of appropriate timber manufacturing techniques and equipment.

The aim of this unit is for students to explore processes and techniques for a range of timber design and manufacturing technologies and apply these skills and knowledge to their own designs and teaching practice.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1     Acquire a broad, integrated knowledge and understanding of the technology disciplines in the curriculum that use timber (GA4, GA5; APST 2.1)

LO2     Exhibit high level knowledge and understanding of Occupational, Health and Safety issues related to the teaching of timber technology (GA1, GA2, GA4, GA10; APST 2.1, 4.4)

LO3     Integrate creativity, innovation and enterprise to resolve design issues and the management of practical projects using timber (GA4, GA9, GA10; APST 2.1, 4.4)

LO4     Evaluate advanced timber knowledge and technical skills through high-level planning and design of a learning program for timber within Industrial Technologies which applies the principles and processes of design and manufacture and is guided by relevant Australian teaching standards and professional engagement (GA3, GA5, GA8; APST 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.6, 4.4).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3    apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

2.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the concepts, substance and structure of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area.

2.2 Organise content into an effective learning and teaching sequence.

2.3 Use curriculum, assessment and reporting knowledge to design learning sequences and lesson plans.

2.6 Implement teaching strategies for using ICT to expand curriculum learning opportunities for students.

4.4 Describe strategies that support students’ well-being and safety working within school and/or system, curriculum and legislative requirements.


Topics will include:

Industry Study 

  • Structural factors
  • investigate the organisation and structure of a business
  • Technical factors
  • identify the range of equipment, processes and techniques used by a business
  • Environmental factors
  • identify how the resources and processes used in a business impact on environmental and sociological factors
  • identify the problems of pollution and any recycling of materials associated with a business
  • Work health and safety
  • identify relevant WHS factors in a business that ensure a safe working environment


  • Elements of design
  • experiment with and apply the elements and principles of design across a range of projects
  • Principles of design
  • proportion
  • balance                        
  • Communication techniques
  • interpret and prepare appropriate drawings required for the graphical communication/presentation of projects

Management and Communication

  • Knowledge and understanding of project management
  • apply research, analysis and evaluation skills in planning
  • Project management
  • use project development techniques to complete practical projects within a given time frame
  • Literacy
  • compile reports using appropriate text types using information gathered
  • Numeracy
  • use the appropriate numeracy skills relevant to a business, including calculating the need for and costs of materials/components
  • Communication –

· interpret and understand drawings

· use sketches and freehand drawings to interpret ideas

· prepare working drawings for the production of projects through both manual and ICT techniques.


  • Design, management and communication

·  research

·  design development

·  sketching, ideas

·  production drawings

·  material and resource justification

·  timeline

  • Production - combine the application design, management and communication with industry-related manufacturing technology in the production of a quality Major Project

Workplace Health and safety

  • Workplace health and safety practices and safe working environments 
  • Risk management processes (including risk assessment) 
  • Safe operating procedures  
  • Development of safe work method statements

Technologies Workshop Safety 

  • Management practices for technology teachers including safety and risk management, budgeting, selecting, storing, maintaining and replacing materials, equipment and other resources related to Timber Technologies 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

A student-focused, problem-based learning approach is used in this unit. By analysing case studies, students deepen and broaden their knowledge of the concepts and principles of timber design theory, further informed by research that is part of their design project. . Issues in timber technologies design and manufacture are introduced through a practice-oriented learning method. This method involves the parallel development of procedural and conceptual skills required for design, development, and documentation of timber technology projects. Students develop solutions to manufacturing design problems using a design thinking methodology and a user-centred design approach and to design thinking and problem solving in design technologies contexts.

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, discussion, video, independent research, design project management, lab reports, workshop logs, report writing, design projects, including design folios etc.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The problem-based learning strategy employed in this unit is supported by the integration of progressive authentic assessment methods embedded at critical points of the students’ learning. Practical workshop access provides opportunities for formative assessment which supports assimilation of knowledge. Summative assessment aims to assess students’ application of knowledge and skills (conceptual, procedural and professional) holistically using an integrated approach common in design education which focusses on the assessment of an entire design activity rather than specific elements in isolation. In this unit the student’s design project will be assessed for the synthesis between design theory and practice via two components, the design documentation folio and the designed and manufactured product. Folios document students design processes and include evidence of identifying user needs, product definition, research, ideation, prototyping, iteration, critical evaluation and risk assessment. Building upon the earlier assessments undertaken by students, to provide them with applicable teaching strategies upon completion of this unit, acquired technical skills are combined with pedagogical practice. This allows students to effectively establish sound teaching practices through mirroring their role in this unit with that of their future students, while also researching and analysing Australian teaching standards for Design and Technology and STEM. 

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit objectives consistent with University assessment requirements. Such procedures may include online safety modules, reports, examinations, tutorial exercises, practical design projects with folios and an examination. Assessment tasks will address all learning outcomes as well as relevant graduate attributes.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Research Report

Analyse the secondary Technologies Stage 6 curriculum and associated content. Use this analysis to research a company and create a report on a timber industry study.



GA4, GA5

Assessment Task 2

Group project

From your research in Task 1, as a group plan and develop a skills, material and equipment inventory to individually complete a common project.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA10

Assessment Task 3


Plan A Unit Work in Timber Technology

Design a high-level program/unit of work for Stage 6 Timber Technologies education. For example, using knowledge from Task 1 and 2 design, make and evaluate a user–centred design brief, a practical timber project and portfolio supported by the formative and summative assessment tasks.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Bootle, K. (2005). Wood in Australia: Types, properties and uses (2nd ed.). Sydney: McGraw-Hill.

Davy, P., & Plewes, B. (2011). Ultimate woodwork bible: A complete reference with step-by-step techniques. London: New York: Collins & Brown; Sterling Publishing (co-distributor).

Feirer, M., & Feirer, J.L. (2011). Wood: Technology & processes. Colombus, OH: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill.

Glasner, B., & Ott, S. (2013). Wonder wood: A favorite material for design, architecture and art. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter.

Jackson, A., & Day, D. (2005). Collins complete woodworkers manual (2nd ed.). Glasgow: Harper Collins Publishing.

Jeska, S., Pascha, K., & Hascher, R. (2015). Emergent timber technologies: Materials, structures, engineering, projects. Berlin, München, Boston: De Gruyter.

Leadbeatter, M., Keable, B., Clarke, J., & Clarke, T.D. (2017). Woodworking (4th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning Australia.

McGlashan, A. (2018). A Pedagogic Approach to Enhance Creative “Ideation” in Classroom Practice. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 28(2), 377–393.

McMullin, P.W., & Price, J.S. (2017). Timber design. Taylor and Francis.

O’Donoghue, D. (2001). Hamlyn book of woodworking. London: Hamlyn.

Wood art: Innovative wood design. (2015). Berkeley, CA: Gingko Press.

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