Design and Technology
Design and Technology Curriculum Intent
“Tell me and I forget – show me and I may remember – let me do it, and I learn’: Learning through making works!” Prue Leith
At All Saints School, our Design and Technology (D.T.) curriculum engages, inspires and challenges pupils with practical problem-solving as its core activity. Using creativity and imagination, pupils design and make their own works of D.T. which develop children’s capability to operate in and contribute to a world where practical solutions to problems need to be achieved. Our D.T. curriculum is taught as part of termly projects where children are taught D.T. skills and knowledge which they apply in a cross-curricular and purposeful way. Although taught in a cross-curricular way, this does not weaken the focus on the development of D.T. skills and knowledge which remain the focus of teaching within a D.T. lesson. Children will acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on disciplines such as Mathematics, Science, Engineering, Computing and Art. Through these lessons, pupils will also learn how to take risks, becoming resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable citizens.
At All Saints, when the intended outcome is to have made a product, we teach pupils to reach this outcome through the four steps of Design and Technology which are: investigating, designing, making/technical knowledge and evaluating. These four steps enable children to progress by thinking critically and developing a more rigorous understanding of D.T.
Units of work usually start with teachers introducing an existing product allowing children to draw upon prior knowledge, skills and understanding. This is intended to ensure that learning is meaningful as children also observe, identify and analyse the D.T. skills and knowledge used by designers as part of these real-life products. Based on these observations, children will then apply their knowledge and skills when designing, making and evaluating their own work to reflect their understanding.
Our D.T. curriculum is also designed to ensure that children’s prior knowledge is built upon. For example, as part of textiles, children in Year 1 learn to attach different materials using glue to produce their own Sockasaurus Rex. This is then built upon in Year 2, where the children use the basic skills of sewing to attach material when creating a scented bag. The skills of sewing and material attachment is revisited, refined and built upon in Year 4 when the children design and create a T-shirt representing the different parts of the digestive system.
At All Saints, we also instil a love of cooking in pupils and ensure that all pupils are taught how to cook and apply the principles of nutrition and healthy eating. Learning how to cook is a crucial life skill that enables pupils to feed themselves and understand the importance of a healthy and well-balanced diet.
At All Saints School the D.T. curriculum is ambitious and is designed to give all pupils, including disadvantaged pupils and pupils with SEN and/or disabilities, the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. We use strategies from the NASEN guidance to support our scaffolding within the teaching of D.T. This includes, but is not limited to the following list;
- Sharing information visually as well as through discussion.
- Allowing sufficient talk time to encourage thinking and idea sharing.
- Clearly displaying key vocabulary and using it repetitively throughout lessons &/or if more appropriate, word banks to be accessible to learners
- Introducing each piece of equipment – name it, explain what it does, model how it can be used or applied.
- Modelling processes on a step-by-step basis, allowing learners time to do practical tasks alongside the teacher. (Teachers’ thought processes are shared aloud.)
- Equipment used is fully accessible to all and adapted for individuals as necessary to ensure all can fully participate such as wider-handled or easy grip scissors can be a useful aid.
- Breaking the lesson into chunks if appropriate, allowing time for paired/group talk and allowing tasks to be completed across manageable stages.
- Giving time for learners to look back through their Project folders to make connections to what they already know, which in turn can help nurture motivation.
- Having visual aids in the form of worked examples that the learners can have to hand when completing independent tasks.
- Providing learners with larger scale materials to work on and gradually decrease the scale as they acquire greater control.
How can I support my child with Design and Technology?
- Discuss product design at home.
Find examples of products around your house and encourage discussion with your child about whether they are easy to use or not. Talk about why products are designed the way they are. For instance, why has the product designer made the decisions they have made about the form and function of the product?
- Celebrate your Child's Design and Technology
Praise your child’s creations and encourage them not to get disheartened if they feel they have made ‘mistakes’. Explain that D.T. is about solving problems, trying out different things and that through experimentation they learn. You could display their D.T. items around the house or even use them!
- Discuss and Enjoy D.T. Together
We are extremely lucky to have local museums and exhibitions where you can see examples of Design and Technology throughout history that you could visit with your child. Encourage them to talk about what they see and to share their opinions.
- Involve your child in cooking at home.
Whilst cooking, talk with your child about nutrition and healthy eating. Let your child get involved with choosing meals to cook and the process of making them, applying their knowledge of a healthy and varied diet. Look at the labels on food items to see where food products come from and why.