At King’s Hedges Educational Federation, we strive to give Design Technology (DT) a purpose by making something (product) for someone (user) for some purpose. Pupils are taught that everything has been designed and made by somebody, and so we look at real-life examples of designers, chefs, engineers and technologists to inspire them and give them a reason for their learning and product-making. As much and wherever possible, we try to make cross-curricular links, including ICT, to provide a more rounded and purposeful curriculum. There is one DT-based topic carried out in every year group per term so that pupils can experience and develop range of skills, which are developed year on year. These skills are based on:
Food, such as how to prepare fruit and vegetable, different food groups, what a healthy plate of food looks like, seasonality, where food comes from and celebrating culture and foods from around the world.
Mechanisms, such as how to create and use sliders and levers, and experiment with different types of wheels and axels to use in our designs and products.
Structures, such as how to create free-standing structures with different materials, shell structures like nets for packaging using computer-aided design and frame structures for supporting heavy weights.
Textiles, such how to create templates and patterns, use different methods to join fabrics together and expand on sewing abilities to combine various 2D fabric shapes to create a 3D product.
Electrical systems using a range of simple circuits and switches, then advancing to using more complex circuits and switches.
Mechanical systems using levers and linkages to create moving products and using pulleys and gears to help us learn about ratios in Maths.
There is a wonderful ‘Junk Modelling Lab’ (bursting with interesting items and various methods for sticking and attaching them) permanently on hand to provide children with the opportunity to build and create all manner of inventions. Children can come up with their own creations based on their own personal interests, or be led in group activities such as the collaborative building of a weird and wonderful alien being from another planet or constructing a giant catapult. Endless fun and endless opportunities to expand DT skills. The only limit here is your own imagination.
Reception have greatly enjoyed the challenge of making a bag strong enough to hold a tin. They focussed on which materials would be strongest and most successful. The bags were stringently tested but luckily no toes were broken if they were not strong enough to hold the tin. Pupils were then given the chance to improve their bags, fix and strengthen them so that they could fulfil their original design brief.
As part of their history topic on toys, Y1 have made their own versions of Victorian toys including cups and balls. Great to make, but even more fun to play with. Also, they have designed and made some great bags whose function was specifically to carry shoes. They were rigorously tested and evaluated as well as being beautifully decorated by the children.
After researching and interviewing their friends to find their likes and dislikes, Year 2 assembled delicious, nutritious wraps for each other. Each wrap held four specially selected ingredients to tickle the taste buds. They were then eaten and carefully evaluated to find if satisfaction had been achieved.
As part of their Dinosaurs topic, Y3 developed their sewing techniques to create some charming dinosaur mobiles. Everyone planned and made their own, very individual stuffed felt dinosaur toy to suspend from the mobiles. The design brief was to keep younger children entertained but occasionally they distract us from our lessons if one of the T Rex toys starts to get a bit hungry…
We have learnt all about light and shadows in Science, then used their knowledge to design and make some monstrous moving shadow puppets in their DT lessons. They wrote some very entertaining play scripts and performed them for each other too.
Everyone loves Easter eggs, but how do you keep that thin chocolate shell safe before it’s eaten? Y4 can not only explain how, but have demonstrated some tried and tested boxes to keep eggs in perfect condition before the big day.
After some extensive research, they have also invented some original and tasty sandwich fillings for each other. They have used their knowledge to complete some great writing based on their topic, including some very forceful letters of complaint about the unhygienic behaviour of some kitchen staff (who looked suspiciously like Mrs Page and Mrs Moore!) when they were making sandwiches for lunch.
The local play equipment has had an overhaul by Year 5. They have evaluated what is already on offer, then planned, designed and built their own imaginative play complexes using K’Nex.
Year 6 have been involved with making a variety of interesting props for their end of year production. They have designed and constructed an intriguing ‘specialised enlarging machine’ which will be unveiled in all its glory during the performance. At this stage they were keeping its full capabilities under wraps, but would only hint at the design as being happy at one end and sad at the other.