Design & Technology

In the Early Years Foundation Stage, Design and Technology forms part of the learning children acquire under the Specific Area of ‘Understanding the world’.  This area includes learning about the following:

The world – children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another.

Technology – children recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools. They select and use technology for particular purposes.

Expressive arts and design also includes learning about Design and Technology and involves the following:

Exploring and using media and materials: children sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them. They safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.

Being imaginative: children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role-play and stories.

Here are some of the typical learning experiences your child will have:

Constructing: Learning to construct with a purpose in mind, some children use scissors, glue, string and a hole punch to make a bag to store travel brochures they collected during a field trip.

Structure and joins:  Following a visit to their local high street, some children make a church tower out of small wooden bricks.

Using a range of tools: Through this, your child will learn about planning and adapting initial ideas to make them better. For example, a child might choose to use scissors, a stapler, elastic bands and glue to join bits together to make a toy vehicle. But they might then modify their initial idea by using masking tape.

Cooking techniques: Some children take turns stirring the mixture for a cake and then watch with fascination as it rises while cooking. They will practise stirring, mixing, pouring and blending ingredients during cookery activities.

Exploration: Children will dismantle things and learn about how everyday objects work. For example, a child might dismantle a pepper grinder and discover how it is put together and the materials different parts are made of.

Discussion: Your child will be given opportunities to discuss reasons that make activities safe or unsafe, for example hygiene, electrical awareness, and appropriate use of senses when tasting different flavourings. They will also learn to record their experiences by, for example, drawing, writing and making a tape or model.

How to help at home

Encourage your child to try out these activities to improve their DT skills:

  • Get your child to sort objects by different criteria. You could do this by getting them to help to set the table or organise shopping items to be put away.
  • When talking to your child, look for opportunities to notice and discuss materials around them – utensils in the kitchen, tree barks on a walk, soft furnishings in the bedroom.
  • While speaking, use the language of designing and making, for example words such as ‘join’, ‘build’ and ‘shape’. And use evaluative and comparative language – ‘longer’, ‘shorter’, ‘lighter’, ‘heavier’ and ‘stronger’.
  • Encourage and support the use of a range of tools, such as scissors, hole punch, stapler, glue spreader, rolling pin, cutter and grater.

  • D&T Autumn Term 2019

    EYFS, Reception

    Our topics for this term is ‘All about me’ and ‘Celebrations’.

    The children made Harvest Vegetable soup.

    Here are some observations of children designing and making;

    ‘The child had set up four poles of two different lengths in some wooden planks. He then got a block to try and fit on top of the poles. He tried several times to get it to fit but it wouldn’t work. He took out the shorter poles and went and found two more poles the same length as the original longer ones and fitted into the planks. It took a few attempts but he eventually got the block to fit on top of the poles. He was really pleased and jumped up and down with excitement. He then got another block and was very happy to be able to fit this on top as well. Well done for persevering to build your model.’

    ‘The child was making something with the mobilo this morning. He carefully fixed several pieces together and showed me, telling me it was a robot. He pointed out the arms and legs and showed me that they could move. I praised Hayden but wondered if his robot might need a head too! He looked in the box and found the pieces he needed to make his robot a head. He then attached a piece to the back on the arms and explained that it was a handle to make the arms move together. He continued to adjust his model and, a little later, showed me that he had added some discs to the handle. I thought it looked a bit like Buzz Lightyear’s jetpack and the child liked this idea! One of the discs kept coming off and he looked closely to work out why. He realised there wasn’t room for both of them and decided to take them both off and attach a different piece as the jet pack. He also added some long blue pieces as “wings” and told me, “now he can fly like Buzz too!”’

    Key Stage One

    Year 1

    The topics for this term are ‘Animal Life’ and ‘Winter Wonderland’.

    The children have made ‘fork’ biscuits.  They weighed the ingredients and took it in turns to mix carefully.  They then used their biscuits to build and make a little Winter Wonderland snowman treat.

    The children also made apple crumble.  They peeled and chopped up the apples, weighed the ingredients and made the topping by rubbing the butter, flour and sugar together.

    In Year 1 the children also designed and made a product for a specific purpose.  They were asked to design a toboggan for a small character doll.  As part of the introduction they were asked questions such as, what is a toboggan and what is it used for? The teachers then shared some toboggan facts. Each child became a designer and they had to think about what they might use to make a toboggan, and what they would need to measure it.  They had to ensure that the doll would fit safely on the toboggan.

    The children were reminded to draw their picture clearly and to write all the materials and equipment they might need.

    Year 2

    This term our topics have been ‘Norwich’s Past’ and ‘Night time’.  In Design and Technology the children have designed and made a castle.  They designed the castle individually and thought about the equipment and materials they would need.  They made sure the design had a moving part such as a drawbridge, portcullis or flag pole.  They then worked in small groups and used all of the fantastic ideas together to make a team castle.  Everyone worked really well with their team and we all made sure we listened to each other and communicated our ideas in a fair and polite way.

    After the children made their castles we evaluated the products.  This is a really important part of the Design, Make and Evaluate process as it allows us to think about what worked really well and anything that could be improved next time.

    As part of our Medieval Day all of the children had the chance to make Medievel Pottage. This is a type of soup which was made using lots of vegetables.

    In Year 2 the children also created a lantern by bonding fabrics together.  They designed their lantern first, writing down the equipment and materials they needed.

    The children created their lanterns using materials and their design. Drawing on their knowledge of design as they worked.

    The children had a battery operated tea light between two and they took it in turns to put the light in their lantern with the lights turned off.

    They evaluated their lanterns and thought about what they could improve next time.

Summer Term 2019

EYFS, Nursery

Our topics for this term have been ‘Holidays’ and ‘Animals and choices’.

Here are some observations from Tapestry of children using Design and Technology to develop their learning:

‘A child and her friends were playing in the water with the boats and toys, we talked about the boats floating and what they were made out of. I wondered if she would like to make her own boat, we looked at instructions on the iPad and I supported her to make a paper boat. She quickly noticed that her boat was getting wet and starting to sink and rip, she agreed that boats should not be made out of paper! I brought lots of junk outside for the child and her friends to experiment with, they floated boxes made out of cardboard and made predictions; whether it would sink or float. She told me that the cardboard box didn’t sink as quickly as her paper boat but that after some time it did start to sink. I told her that the cardboard was absorbing the water like a sponge which made the cardboard wet, heavier and then it broke up into pieces. She tried the plastic containers and told me that they floated but if they filled with water they started to sink, we discussed why that happened…’

EYFS, Reception

Our topics for this term have been ‘Once upon a time’ and ‘In the woods’.

Here are some observations from Tapestry of children using Design and Technology to develop their learning:

These children worked together to make a lawnmower from construction. They showed me the parts at the front which they said would have the blades to cut the grass. One child decided to try moving the “blades” so there was one at the front and one at the back but when they tried to move it they were both leaning over the blades. I said it would be a bit dangerous to push a lawnmower like this and he decided to change it back to their original design. They decided to add a switch so they could turn it on and off and then another block which would collect the grass saying “this is where the grass goes.” They tested moving it around and later added a different handle. I told them they were like engineers who are people who design and make things. The next day they made the lawnmower again and modified it by adding some more blocks.

‘A child was at the play dough table with some friends, he told me he was making cakes. I asked if he knew what ingredients he needed for his cakes. He told me flour. I showed him a recipe of what he needed for the cakes and explained that if we didn’t know how to cook something we would follow a recipe. He continued to play and add candles to his cake, I asked him if he could remember what he needed for his cakes. He remembered sugar and eggs.’

‘A child called me over to have a look at the fire engine he had created using the bricks. He told me that he had made a fire hose using a tube and a cone to put the fires out and he had a put a ladder on top if he needed to climb up high. I asked him what goes on top of a fire engine so that people know it’s coming and he was unsure, so I reminded him that it was called a siren. He remembered what it was and starting pretending that his fire engine was making the siren sound…’

Key Stage One

Year 1 and Year 2

The Year 1 topics this term our topics have been ‘Our planet and beyond’ and ‘Step back in time’. The Year 2 topics this term were ‘Art around the world’ and ‘Habitats and Environments’.

During Family Enrichment week the children made clay sculptures of natural things.  They also made clay tiles which were decorated using natural resources. We were glad to welcome many grown ups into school to share the experience of making our tiles.

Spring Term 2019



Our topics for this term are ‘Dinosaurs’, ‘Roots, shoots and muddy boots’.

Here are some observations from Tapestry of children using Design and Technology to develop their learning:

A child came to show me the plane that she had made, I was very impressed. She told me that it was like the plane that she went on a long time ago. When I asked her where she had gone she said, “On holiday, it was hot, I like when it hot. I like swimming.” I agreed that holidays were good fun. I looked at her plane and wondered if anything was missing, she was unsure so we looked at a picture of a plane together. The child noticed the writing on the plane and the windows, I suggested that she add them to her plane. She knew that she needed either a square or a rectangle but was unsure how to draw one, I modelled how and she tried hard to draw them on her plane; she even drew a window for the pilot to look out of.


Our topics for this term are ‘Fantasy’, ‘People who help us’.

Here are some observations from Tapestry of children using Design and Technology to develop their learning:

A child and his friends decided to use the large construction to build themselves a new juice machine. As the machine was taking shape the child realised that it wouldn’t stay standing up. I explained to him that it wasn’t ‘balancing’ and we chatted about what this word meant. We looked at a chair and I pointed out that each of its four legs were in the corners and this helped the chair to be stable. The child noticed his machine had only three legs and two of the were on one side. He worked hard to redesign his machine and we then tested how stable it was by gently bumping into it.

A child came over and showed me that she had made a watch on the making table. I asked her what we use watches for and she told me we use them to tell the time. I asked her if she could remember what we had talked about in maths before about time and she was unsure, so I reminded her that when the big hand points to the 12 we say O’clock at the top. She then remembered and did the action while saying it. I then looked at her watch and realised that she had drawn 2 O’clock as the time and asked her if she knew what time she had drawn. She had a look at and said 2 O’clock! Well done!

Key Stage One

Year 1

This term our topics have been ‘Weather Experts’ and ‘Our Planet and beyond’.

The children discussed traveling around on the moon in a moon buggy. They looked at some photos of moon buggies and talked about what features a moon buggy would need such as
wheels and a steering wheel.  The children then worked hard as they designed and made their own moon buggies and tested them in motion.

Year 2

This term our topics have been ‘Air, Land and Sea’ and ‘Art around the world’.

During the topic ‘Air, Land and Sea’ the children made Ham pasta bake and enjoyed eating this in school. It was delicious!

The children also talked about how people travel on water and discussed what is special about modes of water transport and who might travel on water and why. The children then designed their own boats to travel on water. They thought about what materials would be best to use and how to ensure their boat was going to float. The children chose their own materials to make their boats and tested them in a tray of water to see if their design and build had been successful. They then evaluated their boats and thought about what they would do differently next time.

As part of our ‘Art around the world’ topic the children have been learning about different countries.  They made and tasted a vegetable curry and this was new to many of the children but most said they enjoyed eating it and some said they would like to have it again.

Within our federation, we provide opportunities for each child to design, create and use their own ideas and experiences to further their learning in Design and Technology. Concepts of design form part of the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, and Design and Technology continues to be a foundation subject within the National Curriculum for Key Stage One and Two (Year 1 to Year 6).

As children progress through the federation, they develop increasing independence and broaden their thinking about the design processes, including creating and refining their own ideas. There is a particular focus on researching, planning, designing and evaluating their idea and product, with an opportunity to improve it based on their evaluation. These skills are transferable to other subjects.

Design and Technology is taught through cross-curricular links relating to the topics taught throughout the year. There is a clear focus on raising standards in Design & Technology skills in line with the new curriculum. Children are encouraged to work independently and can select a range of equipment and tools to use. They are supported to test their ideas and persevere when things become more challenging.

To enable a wide range of experiences in line with requirements, cooking facilities have been developed to ensure all children access high quality food technology facilities on a regular basis. The school provides a budget to give children a wide variety of culinary experiences and allow them to learn the principles of a healthy and varied diet.

  • D and T Autumn 2019

    Throughout the Autumn term, Year 3 have had several opportunities to cook things in order to practise the skills of following instructions, joining and combining a range of ingredients and working safely and hygienically. During each cooking opportunity, the children worked in groups to measure and weigh food items. Their first opportunity to combine ingredients required no baking – the children make a bruschetta snack as part of their cultural understanding day. They chopped and sliced basil leaves, tomatoes, onion, crushed garlic and poured balsamic vinegar and olive oil before spooning it onto slices of baguette. We discussed different components of a balanced diet and then revisited this as part of a STEM Day challenge; the children had to design, make and evaluate a street food based around a British-grown pepper. We stuffed the peppers with healthy options that would make us feel full. There were lots of fabulous alternative designs and we discussed how well they each contributed to a healthy and varied diet.

    Their latest cooking challenge was to bake Egyptian-style flat bread to understand a cultural difference in an everyday food and to see how it was cooked differently using oil. The children were very surprised at its size and taste compared to traditional British bread!

    After learning about the key processes of Ancient Egyptian life in History lessons, Year 3 learnt about key artefacts, including the cartouche that recorded a person’s name. As a class, we watched a tutorial on how to shape and mould separate pieces to layer the structure to ensure it looked authentic and how to join the pieces of clay effectively to ensure that, once dry, they would stay stuck together. We discussed and planned, as a class, the tools that may be most effective and useful for each stage of the product and how to be safe whilst using them in the classroom. We trialled and tested the proportions of clay that were needed for the base, the outer edge and the bar to ensure accurate assembling and the children assessed this as they went, remodelling where necessary. Once it was dry, we finished off the product by glazing it using paints to make it look more decorative to suit it’s purpose and seal the clay. The children chose colours that they thought the Egyptians would have had access to and use to show wealth.

    Year 4 D and T Autumn

    Year 4 have been learning about the design and technology skill of lamination. We designed and made a cake stand in the Roman style, with a roman mosaic on the top.

    Children learned that if we layer materials, it makes it sturdy and strong. They were able to discuss what was good about their products and what they could do to make them better.

    To finish off, we made some authentic honey cakes to adorn our cake stands. Well done to year four for putting in lots of effort for whisking their eggs in the Roman way!

    Year 5 D&T – Autumn 2019

    Moving Monsters and pneumatics has been our autumn term topic for D&T. We have looked at different objects that use pneumatics, how they work and how compressed air can be used to move things. We connected tubes to different kinds of pumps to see which were more effective and then began to think about how we could make a pneumatic ‘Moving Monster.’ We are now designing our monsters and will soon be connecting them to a pneumatic system to make them move.

    Year 6 D and T Autumn

    This term in Year 6 we have been learning about the Ancient Greeks. As part of this topic we have looked at Greek gods and architecture and then used this to plan and make our own version of the Parthenon. The audience for our models was to be another child to help them to understand more about Greek architecture.

    First, the children used their computing research skills to find out as much as they could about the architecture, structure and use of temples in order to use a range of information to inform their design. They then did some investigative work to find out: the strongest type of columns; how to create a net for a triangular pyramid (which would be used to make the roof) and making a base with steps which would support our temple.

    After discussing the children’s findings, it was then time to plan their temples using their DT skills; considering the culture and society of ancient Greece in their designs. We discussed the need for accurate measuring in order to ensure precision for their final model and the importance of making sure that their product was strong and “fit for purpose”.

    Once the model temples were completed, the children used their evaluative skills to:

    • Refine and further improve their product.
    • Identify how it could be improved it,
    • Asked if different resources would have improved their product.
    • Finally, they posed the question “does our product meet all the design criteria?”

    The children worked very hard and thoroughly enjoyed the activity, demonstrating great team work and communication too.

Summer Term 2019

Year 3

In the summer term, Year 3 built on the sewing skills learnt in the spring term by creating a net and using running, overcast and back stitch in the creation of a canvas “bag for life”. They had to consider their purpose and came up with a list of criteria the bag had to meet, and then thought about what the audience would want it to look like.

During their design phase, the children came up with alternative purposes for the bag including a boot bag, swimming kit bag, shopping bag and many more! Once the bags were complete, the children recorded what went well and what they might try next time to improve, although many altered their product this term based on evaluations made following the construction of their seed bags last term!

Year 4

This summer, Year 4 created an African Kente cloth by weaving pieces of brightly coloured paper and then drawing a symetric design on.  We used the enrichment week to work with parents to create our “cloth”.  Also during this week we created an African drum using paper and recycled goods.

Year 5

In the summer term, year 5 completed a textiles project with a ‘save the world’ theme. They designed and made a sea creature, learning how to apply running and blanket stitch. Finally, they evaluated their piece of work, thinking carefully about how they would improve next time.

Year 6

Year 6 designed and created their own cushions and small carry cases. We began by studying the history and function of cushions in order to design a product based on their functional and aesthetic features and the needs of the audience. After selecting some bright, patterned fabric of our choice, we joined two pieces of material together by using a variety of hidden and visible stitches. These included running stitch, backstitch, overstitch, zigzag stitch and blanket stitch. Once we had finished joining our fabrics, we decorated our products using appliqué and buttons.

Spring Term 2019

Year 3

In the spring term, we practised different styles of stitching and learnt about seam allowance. We tested different materials using weights to source the most durable fabric from our selection before designing, and then creating, a prototype of a small seed bag. Some children even managed to affix decorations out of felt.

During Science week we learnt how to make samosas and tracked the journey of the ingredients required, to combine our cooking learning with Science and Geography! Later in the term we then designed and created model-size Stone Age inspired houses. This activity highlighted how a design can be a working product and change as we experiment with different material types.

Year 4

In the Spring Term, we designed and constructed an educational game about the mountains of Europe – using our understanding of insulators and conductors.  We also produced a vegetarian lasagne, making our own pasta and cooking the very tasty filling, before layering it into a delicious meal, which we took home to enjoy with our families.

Year 5

In year 5, children have been working on their paper-mache skills. We have been creating 3D Mayan masks, using lots of layering and sticking techniques. We have decorated our masks to look scary or like animals. Lots of children have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to develop their ideas from design to reality and have evaluated the masks for authenticity.


Year 6

In Year 6, as well our cooking sessions in the autumn term, we also attended Neatherd High School this term to make some cheese scones. We really enjoyed working together and practicing our cooking skills. As part of British Science Week, we researched and sourced the ingredients to make bread rolls.