Design and Technology
D&T, at Puss Bank, inspires children's creativity and encourages them to problem solve, using a design brief, to make functional products. It is important that children are able to evaluate real-life products, their own work, and that of other children, and be able to adapt their design accordingly. Children are to be innovative, and are actively encouraged to think about important issues, such as sustainability and enterprise.
- Food Preparation: The children are encouraged to understand the importance of two main strands: food hygiene and nutritional values. From Early Years each child will have the opportunity to use food preparation implements (such as knives) and to prepare simple foods. As the children progress throughout school they will investigate which foods are healthier than others, and how to maintain the freshness of food.
- Materials & Construction: Designing and making objects is central to the essence of D&T, and forms a significant proportion of our curriculum. From Early Years onwards, the children are encouraged to experiment with a variety of construction media, from cardboard boxes to simple axles and wheels. As the children learn more about attaching materials together they are encouraged to use more sophisticated construction methods (such as hinges) and measuring with increasing accuracy.
- Textiles: Beginning with simple design and weaving techniques, the children will gradually extend joining methods from simple running stitches to back stitch etc. Gradually the children will design their own products, utilising a range of criteria, such as leaving a seam allowance.
The Design and Technology curriculum in our school is designed to facilitate a sense of experimentation using a range of materials and foods (within a safe environment). Children need to be aware that products need to be designed before they are constructed, and that design criteria often need to be amended to suit changing circumstances. The whole experience of Design and Technology at our school is therefore didactic, where children learn through experience, and by making mistakes. As the children gain more experience with skills throughout each key stage, they will be able to use scientific and mathematical skills to create a range of more advanced structures and foods. By working with a variety of materials and products over the years, each child will thereby learn how to adapt materials and construction techniques to fit ever changing criteria.
In Early Years, children learn through play. Using the continuous provision, children begin by exploring media, materials and tools and progress to making choices in these which are matched to purpose. Children make simple (non-measured) cuts to a variety of media, ranging from card and paper to string, Sellotape etc. Children are allowed to experiment with properties and practicality of materials e.g. making a tall tower (choosing the appropriate shapes) or looking at whether things will float.
Children then begin to develop planning and evaluation skills e.g. using appropriate colours to decorate construction pieces, to adding feathers to a kite because it both looks good and will not increase the weight threshold.
Children explore cause and effect, using different wheels, vehicles and blocks. This stimulates an understanding of basic scientific principles, such as balance from a pivot point and creating ramps for different purposes.
Children will also understand how to cut fruit and vegetables safely, and the importance of hand washing and basic hygiene.
Food preparation will continue with a large focus on hygiene, both applicable to hand washing and utensils, as well as how different utensils serve a different purpose.
Children will learn how softer fruit can be cut using non-serrated knives, whereas carrots can be sliced using grating due to the hardness of the vegetable.
Year 1 children will also compare a range of food types, categorising them into healthy and non-healthy, and put this into practice by making a fruit salad. Part of the process will involve using a variety of cutting implements (serrated and non-serrated blades, and peelers. They will also begin to understand where their food comes from.
In construction the children will assemble using a wider range of materials than was used in Foundation, some of which may be brought from home. These could include cardboard boxes and/or plastic drinks bottles, alongside materials which are available in school (wooden dowels, MDMF etc). They will make model houses which are appropriate to a set criterion, which will be set by their teacher, using the environment and thinking carefully about shape and the materials they will need. They look at a variety of modern houses and use these to develop their own ideas. They then assess their work against the design brief.
Children will also be set challenges to build a structure to get a toy car across a bridge. They will explore how their designs can be made stronger, stiffer and more stable, often using recyclable materials.
Children will build on their understanding in Year 1 to explore how to cut, grate and peel a wider range of fruit of vegetables. This will include using a wider range of utensils, including serrated knives and graters. The children will explore the best methods of cutting food types, for example understanding that a downward motion using a cutting board is far safer than cutting up towards your body.
The children will evaluate and make a series of snacks, exploring and evaluating types of food (such as candyfloss versus fruit) and which they think is most healthy.
Ingredients will be measured using cups and simple weighing scales, to the nearest half kg. Using these scales will mean the children becoming familiar with such concepts, such as there being 1000 grammes to a kg.
At this stage of their development Year 2 children will begin to understand the health advantages of a balanced diet. In scientific terms they will become more aware of how carbohydrates, fats and proteins can only be consumed in moderation, as parts of a meal. They will use what they have been taught to create and prepare their own dishes.
The children will design and build a model Fire Engine, working out which construction materials will be most suitable. Linked to this will be an element of problem solving, for example what happens to motion if axles are not aligned accurately?
Choosing appropriate materials will be essential to fulfil design criteria, for example a chassis made out of cardboard will move much easier than one made out of wood, because of the ratio of weight to friction and the need to reduce the friction by reducing weight (science links).
Applying techniques such as warp and weft will develop vocabulary and explain how cloth is made, and an essential part of their development will include joining textiles using a running stitch. They will be given a challenge where they are asked to join pieces of materials together and provide a basic function to the object, such as how to make a glove which fits the fingers accurately.
In Year 3 food preparation is extended to include use of recipes. Recipes require measuring ingredients within a much finer margin of error, and children in this year group will need to be able to measure ingredients in KG and grammes, up to a margin to the nearest 20g. They look back to work in KS1 and evaluate if recipes contain a wide range of ingredients, such as carbohydrates and proteins. We will look at sandwich snacks, beginning by evaluating types of bread (do they prefer white, wholemeal or seeded etc). Developing on from this will be an awareness of what types of filling to use. Very wet fillings are not suited to sandwiches (why?), and the children will experiment with a range of flavours and texture, evaluating their own personal favourites as they go.
Children will continue to explore more about hygiene, understanding how microbes can be eradicated using simple soap and water. In addition, they will have the opportunity to classify and compare food types, comparing animal to plant based food. Children will begin to explore the difference between carbohydrates and fat as they explore and experiment with a variety of foods.
In construction the emphasis will be on the selection of appropriate tools to suit the material (for example using a saw to cut wooden dowels). Safety will form an integral part of this, and the need to use goggles, gloves and cutting blocks as appropriate.
Linked to this will be an appreciation of the properties of materials, such as why plastic is more malleable than wood when bending materials, this will build on their work in Year 1 where they learnt why bricks are used for houses and plastics for umbrellas and the comparison of wood and cardboard to build their fire engines. One project will be to make kites. The children will look at a commercially available kite and discuss the merits of its properties and materials. They will develop their ideas by designing and building their own kite designs. This will include deciding on the appropriate shape, construction materials (lightweight dowels or straws) and how to fix the components together.
The children will link previous knowledge and skills to ascertain which type of materials are best suited for making a kite. By experimenting with a range of materials they will be able to establish which ones are lightweight enough to work effectively, i.e. to fly. For example, plastic bag material (which can be recycled) might be more efficient than cotton. Why? The children will be able to test a range of materials themselves and evaluate each one as they go along for its suitability against their own kite design. Linked to this will be an appreciation of fixing techniques; does plastic lend itself to sewing as a fixing method? Once again, the children will experiment with a range of fixatives (glue guns, Sellotape, needle and thread etc) to work out criteria which will work for their kite.
Lower Key Stage 2 children will also be required to research how technology has changed the world. They will continue to investigate technology through the ages, for example the development of children’s toys from a previous age (typically Victorian) to those of today. This links to the history work children undertake in Year 1 regarding methods of communication and how the telephone has developed over the years. Children will have the opportunity to touch, examine and play with, toys from a previous age. They will decide on the pros and cons of such toys, ranging from the simplicity of a spinning top (for example) to evaluating its adaptability (it can be used to “walk” or do somersaults etc) to the durability of the material it is made out of (for example wooden toys can last for hundreds of years). By comparing such toys to modern ones, which tend to be plastic but more versatile, the children can evaluate the toys against a wide range of criteria of their choosing.
In Year 4 the concept of a balanced diet is developed even further. Food types are researched and explored to identify those foods which contain carbohydrates and proteins.
Using these skills menus are identified and recipes adapted to suit, with ingredients measured to the nearest gramme.
A familiarisation of more advanced cooking techniques will be introduced, such as controlling the temperature of an oven or hob to prepare food and kill off any bacteria which may be harmful to humans. This can be modelled by the teacher, or a responsible adult, using a suitable cooking appliance.
When constructing these children will be expected to mark and measure materials to the nearest mm, and to apply appropriate cutting and shaping techniques. This may include cutting materials other than using straight lines, such as slots and cut outs, where awareness of the perimeter and accurate measuring is essential.
Again, Year 4 need to apply their learning to a given design project. Electrical items, such as lights and buzzers, can be added to make illuminated boxes. Whilst researching how billboards work, with illuminated lettering, the children will be allowed to use their imagination to create their own illuminated boxes. Using recycled boxes from home, the children will plan and make electrical light circuits inside cardboard boxes, whereby the light shines out either through translucent letters, or around them (dependant on the children’s own design).
Using textiles, the children will become more aware of the importance of decoration within product design. This might take the form of applying and sewing sequins to a purse (of their own design and making) in order to make it more appealing to potential purchasers. Fabric stitching can also have a dual purpose, for example a different colour thread can provide both strength and an aesthetic quality to a finished product.
The use of a range of appropriate stitching techniques will therefore be applied to this year group, including using poppers, buttons and Velcro as additional (or alternative) forms of fastening. They use this to make a purse/wallet. They then assess their finished product against the success criteria they were given. If this activity takes place in the season of Advent, the children could design and make their own Christmas stocking.
With an increased awareness of microbes, Year 5 children will be expected to understand the importance of storage and handling of food. We will focus on Great British Food. Looking at some traditional British foods will give the opportunity to delve into changes to our palate over the last 70 years or so. By making and tasting a range of foods from around the world (India, Italy etc) the children will begin to appreciate the concept of “Fusion Cuisine”, and its place in providing a balanced diet to modern Britons. The concept of “air miles” will be considered, especially for foods which are imported into Britain, but which could be substituted for locally sourced produce.
To develop this theme, children will design their own biscuits, using ingredients from all over the world. The children will learn to devise, and adapt, their own recipes to suit not only their palate, but that of their friends as well. Is it possible to create edible biscuits using Asian style spices?
When constructing the emphasis is not only on cutting to size, but with an eye to the finish of the final product. This will require a greater range of techniques to be applied, such as using sanding blocks to both reduce size, and to improve the finish. Drilling, screwing and nailing techniques should all be introduced as methods of construction for this year group. Using these skills, the children will design, make and evaluate a movable toy (thinking back to the work they did on looking at toys in Year 3). Using recycled boxes each child will design a toy for a younger year group to play with (for example Year 1). They will learn that a cam mechanism is a linkage system which has a follower to convert rotary movement to linear movement, and explore different examples of these in existing, commercial moving toys.
Closely linked to this will be an investigation to explore which materials provide both the best finish, but which are also strong and comfortable (for example the children could decide to add extra supports to keep cams moving in a linear motion, but only through empirical knowledge of creating their own cam toys.) This project will be evaluated by their target audience (e.g Year 1).
Designing soft furnishings of their choice (“Funky Furnishings”), examples being a cushion or pillow, will encourage the children to set their final product against a wide range of criteria. In previous years the children will have gained an appreciation of how to join materials together, now they can experiment with the suitability of materials against the design. For example, it is important to select the appropriate filling for a cushion, softer for young children and slightly firmer for adults. Experimenting with a range of fillings (some of which might be commercially available products) and realising that the amount of filling you put inside a cushion, can determine the comfort to the end user.
Similarly, a well-used product (such as a cushion) might require a range of seams and seam allowances to be sewn, using new techniques, such as back stitch for seams and running stitch to attach decoration.
A more sophisticated approach to food preparation will be introduced into Year 6. Recipes can be measured and adapted, using ratios of ingredients to scale up or down from the recipe, depending on how many people the food is being prepared for. Linked to this will be an understanding of how to refine recipes, for example to suit different tastes. At the beginning of the topic the children could investigate which foods their peers prefer, and how to incorporate these into a recipe for one food type. This could include an evaluation of how to vary the cooking method (hob or oven) and the cooking times.
Extra categorisation of foods into groups will enhance the concept of a balanced/healthy lifestyle. In Year 3 the children began to explore which foods contained proteins or carbohydrates, at this stage of their development the children will explore the importance of other elements in food which will enhance a healthy lifestyle. For example, children might look at increasing the amount of fibre to their recipes (using grains and pulse), and how vitamin c can be improved by the addition of certain types of fruit and vegetables.
Food types will continue to be used to link the more scientific principles, for example how dehydrated food tends to last longer than hydrated food. Why some foods decompose quicker than others can be explored, and how to make containers as air-tight as possible. This could include using a range of closure techniques (zip, clip etc) in order to keep bacteria away from the food. The children will be able to judge a product based on a design brief, and to make suggestions as to how it can be improved practically.
In construction a greater understanding of how a range of materials can be assembled will be encouraged. For example, in Year 1 the children will have used cardboard (which is easy to cut and is malleable), but what happens when wood is used? Wood has to measured accurately and an appreciation gained of which tool to use to reduce it in size (to the nearest mm, and cut using an appropriate saw). The children will be given the task of creating a Roving Vehicle. This will build on the work they did creating vehicles in Year 2. Whilst given a simple outline of what it should entail, Year 6 children will think about how to make their vehicle as efficient as possible. Learning through experience, they will be allowed to explore the relationship between weight and friction, using the lightest construction materials will be key to this one. An element of electricity can be added to this unit, using bulbs to light up inside the chassis, and most of all using a motor to power the vehicle (which is very challenging). Some children might attempt to use other methods of propulsion (for example wound rubber bands).
Using textiles Year 6 children will become more aware of how cloth can be both visually aesthetic, and tactile. In Year 4 the children began to look at applying simple techniques to improve the aesthetics of a product. In Year 6 the children will begin to decide whether this aesthetic is appropriate for a potential consumer. A slipper which is pink is more likely to appear to one gender than another, but is this truly the case? A survey of their peers might elicit a suitable answer to this question. Looking at existing products they will be able to evaluate it against a wider range of criteria. For example when looking at a slipper they can ascertain how comfortable it is, will it have insulation properties (dismantle it to feel the wadding), its strength (seems) and how practical it is for a range of people (for example, does it have a velcro strap so that it can be fastened to the foot of large or small person?) The heat retention properties of fabrics can be evaluated by developing the children’s understanding of insulation. They will be encouraged to look for materials which best fit their own design criteria for a product (for example using bubble wrap has the advantaged of providing protection and insulation, whereas wadding may be as useful, but also more flexible and easier to apply).
Once they have established their new criteria, the children can set about designing, and producing, a product of their own which improves on the original. Creating their own slipper design requires a range of skills: measuring of feet (including width) to the nearest mm, creating templates, deciding on suitable materials, which type of stitches to use, and how to apply aesthetics to the final product.
Using scientific knowledge gained in Year 3, where the children compared the relative properties of wood and cardboard, children in Year 6 will look at materials against a wider set of criteria: comfort, strength, durability etc. As they work on their slippers the children will almost certainly have to amend their design as they go along, reworking it as required. Of course, evaluation will come when the children wear their own slippers in school and monitor their durability. At the end of the task other children will be encouraged to evaluate it for its success against the whole design brief (insulation, comfort, strength etc).
The Year 6 children will also investigate how science, and scientists, have made our world what it is today. This year group can look further afield than Britain, this time with a focus on China. Researching about Chinese inventions is intended to stimulate in the children an interest in technology as a product from all over the world. They will learn, using their own research, how many everyday objects were invented, not in Europe, but in China (paper, printing, gunpowder etc).