By the end of the lesson, pupils should be able to:

  • Understand the concept of subcomponent design.
  • Understand decomposition and recomposition.
  • Use the Design Heuristic tool to design parts of ideas or products.

Class Length

40 minutes

Year Groups

All ages


Computer, projector, printed handouts, pencils.

Lesson Structure

1. Introduction to Subcomponent Design

  • Design Heuristics can be used to modify individual components or parts of existing products or ideas.
  • This enables designers to improve individual parts of a design.

2. Subcomponent Design

  • Design by parts or components is a method which comes from engineering.
  • Decomposition: is the process of breaking something apart into smaller pieces that can be independently addressed.
  • Recomposition: Is the process of taking the redesigned subcomponents and putting them back together into the whole object/system.

3. Examples of Subcomponent Design

  • Students should be able to see how subcomponent design is EVERYWHERE and can sometimes be described as attention to detail!!

Lesson Activities

Activity 1

Purpose: Subcomponent Design Familiarisation

Subcomponent Design – Bicycle: The students will be asked to select 5 subcomponents of a bicycle and redesign each individual subcomponent.

Activity 2

Purpose: Decomposition

This activity will enable to understand the concept decomposition by redesigning the subcomponents of a seating device.

Activity 3

Purpose: Recomposition

This activity will enable to understand the concept recomposition by redesigning decomposed subcomponents of the seating device from activity 2.

Activity 4

Subcomponent Design – Superhero:
This activity will see the students redesign prescribed and optional subcomponents of their superhero.