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Eastgate Academy Design Technology Curriculum 

Claire Gosling

Design and technology, according to the National Curriculum, is an ‘inspiring, rigorous and practical subject. Using creativity and imagination, pupils design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts.’

At Eastgate Academy, we follow a knowledge based curriculum, and within the contexts of Design Technology this involves both procedural, and declarative knowledge. Procedural knowledge being the skills needed in order to create a final product, for example learning to sew a running stitch, or to join two materials together. Declarative knowledge, in this context, is the facts and information needed to form a full understanding both of how a product is created, and it’s purpose in society. Each school year, pupils procedural knowledge grows as they revisit skills within different contexts; it is a spiral curriculum. For example, in KS1 pupils develop basic skills in preparing foods to eat; which become more complex within the KS2 curriculum, involving further declarative knowledge of cultures across the world and the foods eaten. In KS1 pupils develop hand stitching knowledge, including types of stitch, and develop these skills further by the introduction of a mechanical sewing machine in KS2. Furthermore, pupils have the opportunity to apply their knowledge in different areas, including the school garden and outdoor classroom.

Each half-term, pupils will create a product. Eastgate Academy follows the National Curriculum study of:

Design: pupils should ‘design purposeful, functional, appealing products for themselves and other users based on design criteria’. Using knowledge of the products and their purpose within society, pupils create their own design, working from a criteria. Pupils are given opportunities to explore examples of the chosen product, wherever possible practically, for example, examining how torches work before creating these in year 3. Opportunities for discussion and ongoing evaluation of design are plentiful within classrooms, allowing pupils to continue growing their knowledge. Within KS2, knowledge is furthered, and as the National Curriculum discusses, pupils should ‘use research and develop design criteria to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that are fit for purpose, aimed at particular individuals or groups.’ During each unit, pupils develop skills in accurate design and annotation.

Make: pupils should ‘select from and use a range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks, and use a wide range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their characteristics’. Through a process of continual evaluation, pupils will explore which materials will best create the desired end product. This involves discussing the properties of different materials, and applying this knowledge to the design criteria, before selecting appropriate tools with which to create the final product. Pupils will gain declarative knowledge in choosing appropriate tools within units, both construction, design and food preparation based. Where skills develop further, in KS2 pupils should ‘select from and use a wider range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their functional properties and aesthetic qualities.’ At Eastgate Academy, pupils will be encouraged to listen to and respond to feedback offered by peers, during discussions, in order to develop their products further. Furthermore, they will learn about the history of the products they design, for example a study of earthquake proof homes, and the ways in which cultures have adapted to living amongst commonly occurring earthquakes.

Evaluate: Pupils should ‘evaluate their ideas and products against design criteria’. Following the creation of the desired end product, pupils will use both verbal and written skills to evaluate their product against the initial design. Pupils will consider how the materials they have chosen, alongside the design they have used, meet the desired outcome. Through this process, pupils will continuously build on their procedural and declarative knowledge; as they compare and discuss both the successes of the product and the points for development.

Technical Knowledge: pupils should ‘build structures, exploring how they can be made stronger, stiffer and more stable and explore and use mechanisms in their products’. Within each unit of study, pupils will develop, and build on, knowledge which enables them to create products. For example, in KS1 pupils learn to create and attach wheels to an axis, to enable a vehicle to move. Within KS2, pupils develop this knowledge further, creating a working carousel model, which uses similar concepts of axis and moving cylindrical object.

Within their study of Design Technology, pupils will, each year, develop knowledge of cooking and nutrition. Each year, pupils will develop their knowledge of concepts such as the eat well plate, and food preparation. As the National Curriculum states, ‘pupils should be taught how to cook and apply the principles of nutrition and healthy eating. Instilling a love of cooking in pupils will also open a door to one of the great expressions of human creativity.’ Pupils will study where foods come from, how these are processed, and in KS2, will develop knowledge of economical meals and how to prepare and cook these, forming a basis of knowledge, enabling pupils to develop a love of food preparation.