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.
In Reception, the children have continued developing their creative skills and designing abilities. The children have been taking time over their thought processes of what they are making and deciding what the best way to achieve something has been. Through their independent junk modelling and play, the children have expored the best resources to use to have the desired outcome. The children have also began to follow more complex instructions when designing and building, and have had lots of fun making paper aeroplanes to race!
In Year 1 the children have used their design and creating skills in RE to create stain glass cross. The children experimented with seeing what colours they enjoyed most held up to the light and made their decisions with that in mind. In Year 2 the children have explored different mediums of creating a designed piece. They have explored collage to create a flag, during which they discussed and thought about the different texture of material that they wanted to use to help create their work. They have make junk model pictures of the ocean in SAW week, designing their picture first and then creating. They then evaluated their pictures and thought about what they would do differently next time. The children in year 2 also had the chance to explore the medium of clay and make sculptures of their hands, which they then painted.
Whilst learning at home and at school this term, there has still been the chance for the children to design and create.
In Reception, the children have continued developing their creative skills and fine motor abilities. They have been able to explore using different materials to build and create with, linking to their fantasy and animals topic. Children have designed with a purpose and enjoyed sharing their creations online with everyone to receive compliments and ask questions. This is the start of how Reception children begin to evaluate what themselves and others have done, and we were able to continue this virtually this term.
In Year 1 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.
In Year 2 the children talked about different ways of travel. The children learnt about parachutes and designed their own. They thought about what materials would be best to use and how to ensure their parachute would fly and support a toy. The children chose their own materials to make their parachutes and tested them to see if their design and build had been successful. They then evaluated their parachutes and thought about what they would do differently next time.
The children have been developing their creative skills and fine motor ability to use different equipment. All the children have had the opportunity to learn how to cut and thread and the children have been able to use their imaginations with various materials to make and create. The children will continue to develop their designing and making skills as the year goes on through more making!
In Year 1 the children designed and made a product for a specific purpose. The children needed 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.
In Design and Technology the children have designed and made a medieval shield to link to their topic. They designed the shield individually and thought about the equipment and materials they would need. They were all taught about the skill of printing and this is what they would use to add decoration to their shield. They also designed and made clay baubles. The children thought carefully about what they wanted to include in their designs and evaluated them after. 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.
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.
Year 6 DT write up Autumn 2020
This half term Year 6 have enjoyed designing and creating their own Greek labyrinths.
The children studied the Ancient Greeks as part of their history learning. Before we started thinking about our own designs, we enjoyed finding out about the history of mazes and labyrinths and exploring images of famous mazes around the world. We spent some time thinking about our designs to ensure that they were fit for purpose. We had to be very careful when measuring to ensure that our dimensions were accurate and precise – this involved some maths skills too. When marking out our mazes, different sketching techniques were used to show lighter and darker areas. We had to make sure that we had one entrance and one exit. The children enjoyed adding in extra paths that led to nowhere!
To create our labyrinth we used cardboard for the base and art straws to represent the walls of the maze. We had to cut the straws to size, measuring each wall accurately from our plans. The children used glue to secure their walls. Over time, we found that we needed to refine some of our designs and make improvements so that the product was fit for purpose. After the labyrinths were complete, the children evaluated their product to identify what went well and what could have been made even better. Creating the labyrinths definitely reinforced the importance of measuring carefully and precisely.
Year 5 DT write up Autumn 2020
This term, year 5 have been busy making Viking longboats which include a pneumatic system.
First we looked at the design, materials and build of the real longboats and concluded that the Vikings had incredible DT skills of their own.
We carefully traced around a template of the hull, onto a cereal box, and cut it carefully using a craft knife and craft mat. We made accurate measurements of square doweling to find midway points to drill a hole, using a hand drill. We measured the round doweling to find 1/3 of the length to make the mast, which we then cut with a hacksaw. There was a lot of problem solving involved, where we had to sharpen the round doweling to fit snugly into the hole, before securing with a glue gun. As we used cereal boxes, we sometimes found the folds were weak spots in the hull, so we reinforced these areas with patches of card.
We had to talk a lot about using the tools safely and so we used blu-tac to poke holes in the card safely for the shields to be attached with split pins.
The boats also have to look good as a finished product, so we used a technique called decoupage, to strengthen and join the structure, and to make the boats look wooden.
Sails were attached with glue guns and a pneumatic system attached to make the sail “blow“ in the wind.
Time was also given to evaluate our finished products and think of alternate ways to make use of the pneumatic system i.e blowing a shield off the boat!
Year 4 DT Autumn 2020
In the Autumn term, the children in Year 4 worked on a combined Art and D.T project. The task combined making a cake stand and decorating the top with a Roman mosaic. The children learned how to make the card stronger by folding and gluing together layers; a process called laminating. The more tricky part was constructing the legs and ensuring the cake stand was stable and level. At the end of the project, the children evaluated their cake stands by identifying what had worked well and the skills they could try to improve next time. The children really enjoyed the project and produced some amazing cake stands; it was fantastic to see some children had even baked some cakes and made use of their cake stand at home!
Year 3 DT Autumn 2020
This half term, the year 3 children learned about the fascinating Egyptian civilisation and some of the famous artefacts uncovered.
During their Egyptian themed day, the children had the opportunity to investigate some of the artefacts and how they might have been made in ancient times. The children chose their own tools to carve varying lines and create different effects on scarab beetle amulets made out of soap. They also did this to engrave their names in hieroglyphs onto their own cartouche made from clay, after moulding, joining and smoothing their product. The children finished by glazing their dried cartouches with colours chosen to match their symbolic meaning.
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
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!
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.