Resistant Materials

What will I learn?

You will learn about a wide range of resistant materials including woods, plastics and metals. You will be taught a range of traditional and industrialised making skills that will enable you to develop your practical and design skills. You will learn how to develop a product through the complete design process. This means researching the need for a product, producing a detailed specification, designing and developing the final design, making the product and finally testing and evaluating the product.

Key topics included are listed below; many are experienced fully by pupils, but due to the health and safety risks associated with some tasks they are taught as demonstrations only:


Hardwoods & Softwoods

  • Material Properties, Structure & Uses.

  • Joints: Lap, Comb, Dovetail, Mortise & Tenon, Mitre, Scan Fittings & Glues.

  • Processes: Marking Out, Routering, Mortising, Cutting, Chiselling, Planning & Sanding.

  • Finishes: Painting, Varnish & Wax.


Thermo & Thermosetting Plastics

  • Materials Properties, Structure & Uses.

  • Joints: Contact Adhesive, Epoxy Resins.

  • Processes: Marking Out, Hand Cutting, Heat Forming & Filing.

  • Industrial Processes: Laser Cutting, Injection Moulding & Vacuum Forming.

  • Finishes: Silicon Carbide Paper, Metal Polishes and Buffing.


Ferrous & Non-Ferrous Metals

  • Material Properties, Structure & Uses

  • Joints: Nuts & Bolt, Cutting, Brazing, Gas Welding and MMA Welding, Forging, Pop Riveting, Screw Thread Cutting.

  • Processes: Lathe Turning, Milling, Aluminium Casting, Plasma Cutting

  • Finishes: Metal Paints, Plastic Coatings and Galvanising


Designing, Society & the Environment

  • Smart Materials: Carbon Fibre and Glass Fibre Composites, Tungsten Carbide, D3o and Nitinol.

  • The 6 R’s of Sustainability: Rethink, Reduce, Refuse, Repair, Recycle & Reuse.

  • Product Life Cycle Analysis,

  • Energy: Fossile Fuels & Renewable Sources.

  • A designer’s work such as that of Ross Lovegrove, Philippe Starck or James Dyson will be investigated throughout the two-year cycle of the course. Pupils will need to comment on the designer’s work during the final examination.


How will I be assessed?

This qualification consists of two units. Unit 1 is worth 40% of the total GCSE and is assessed by a two-hour examination that will the test the pupil’s knowledge and design skills.

Unit 2 is worth 60% of the total GCSE and is assessed by controlled research, design and practical tasks.


How will I be taught?

You will be taught through a series of projects which include elements of practical skills, theoretical knowledge and design skills for a variety of resistant materials. Homework tasks, videos, practical demonstrations and computer aided design software will be used as key learning tools.

Many aspects of the theory work and practical tasks are taught throughout Year 10. Year 11 focuses on starting and completing the design and making final coursework project.



GCSE Resistant Materials at grade B is required for entry into AS/A level Graphic Design and at grade B for AS/A level Product Design. Many pupils who have studied this route have gone on to careers in Aerospace, Marine & Power Engineering, Architecture, Construction, Materials Science, Teaching, and Product Designing.

Key skills and a good general understanding will be delivered for those pupils wishing to enter the world of technical apprenticeships after leaving school. Many important life skills such as time management, planning and organisational skills are key to the designing and making process. 

As well as a GCSE grade, pupils will also leave the course with a portfolio of design evidence and a practical piece of work that can be shown to future employers and educational institutes to help demonstrate the pupil’s designing, practical skills and potential for the future.


Examination Board