Powerful Knowledge in Technology

Powerful knowledge in Design and Technology represents the core concepts and principles that equip students with a deep understanding of this important subject. It goes beyond learning facts and encourages critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and embraces the methodology of ‘design thinking.’ This knowledge covers essential aspects like materials, sustainability, design principles, and manufacturing processes, enabling students to not only design and create innovative solutions but also to appreciate the broader societal and environmental impacts of their work. Powerful knowledge in Design and Technology empowers students to become informed, responsible, and forward-thinking designers and technologists.

In Key Stage 3 Design and Technology, students delve into a comprehensive curriculum encompassing a wide array of key knowledge areas. They explore the properties of materials and their sustainability, grasp essential product design principles, and study ergonomic considerations. Students learn and use manufacturing processes, understand health and safety and gain proficiency in Computer-Aided Design (CAD). They also engage with electronics and mechanical systems. Furthermore, they study graphic communication, quality control during manufacture and the historical and cultural influences on design, including Great British designs. Ethical considerations, market research, and consumer needs and wants are integral components, as are prototyping and model making. Students explore systems, problem-solving, architecture, creativity, and design thinking, all while improving products and designs through sketching. This equips them with essential knowledge for success in KS3 Design and Technology and prepares them for KS4.

Curriculum Features

Our curriculum is built around units of learning that includes the methodologies of designing without making, mainly making, designing and making, problem solving and core design theory. Students learn that the ‘design’ part involves the creative process of conceiving and planning the creation of products, systems, or solutions to address specific needs or problems. They learn the “technology” part encompasses the practical application of knowledge and skills to construct, manufacture, or implement designed solutions, using tools, materials, and techniques including computer aided design and manufacture to bring ideas into reality.

In Year 7, students are introduced to the core concepts of design, which include principles of iterative design, form, function, aesthetics, technological innovation, and the application of future technologies to address environmental issues. They are also introduced to key core concepts in design communication, such as sketching and technical drawing techniques. Furthermore, students engage in hands-on activities, working with polymers and utilising planning tools to manufacture personal safety lighting products. Additionally, they investigate graphic design and communication principles through a packaging design project that aligns with a local context design brief. Lastly, students gain experience working with fabrics, employing handy craft skills to design and create soft toys for the fictional company ‘Make a Monster’.

In Year 8, students spend each half-term engaging with a new context to further advance their comprehension of design and technology. They start by investigating and deepening their understanding of core concepts within D&T. These skills and knowledge empower them to excel in a range of diverse and units of work, including systems control and electronics. They manufacture audio enclosures and refine their practical skills, particularly in soldering simple circuits. Building on the knowledge acquired in Year 7, students employ these insights to explore relevant and engaging engineering challenges, as outlined in the design brief ‘Cities in the Ocean,’ provided by the James Dyson Foundation. Lastly, students embark on a home decor design and production unit, where they modify the appearance fabrics to design and make a scatter cushion.

In Year 9, students continue their educational journey by advancing their essential visual communication skills. They learn about graphic projection techniques, including parallel projections and perspective drawing, enabling them to construct 3D drawings of products. Their understanding of enhancement techniques such as line weight and shading deepens, and they produce 3rd angle orthographic drawings following the BS 8888 drawing standards. Moreover, students undertake a design brief with a sustainability focus, where they explore up-cycling materials and fabrics to reimagine the use every day clothing items, altering and manufacturing new creative products. Within the Computer-Aided Design unit of work, students produce 3D engineering drawings using cutting-edge CAD platforms to create plans for manufacturing a fragrance bottle. These virtual 3D assets are subsequently rendered using the latest Adobe visualisation software to craft glossy magazine advertisements for perfumes and aftershaves. Throughout this journey, students also gain insights into graphic communication techniques that empower designers to effectively reach their target consumer market. Finally, they study additional core concepts of D&T that build upon their learning in the earlier key stages, offering a further opportunity to expand their knowledge of Design and Technology.

Food and cooking

All students in KS3 prepare a variety of savoury dishes during the cooking and nutrition units of work spanning Year 7, 8, and 9. They receive instruction on working safely and maintaining hygiene standards in the catering room. Expanding upon this foundation, students also modify recipes for dietary needs, nutritional awareness, cultural cuisine, presentation skills, sustainability, menu planning, culinary techniques including chopping, mixing, combining, and using equipment safely. Students study food safety regulations, food trends, and teamwork. These areas contribute to a comprehensive culinary education, building on their foundational cooking and nutrition skills.

Co-curriculum Enhancement

Current opportunities:

  • Online Learning Platforms: Accessing online courses or tutorials to explore advanced topics and tools in design and technology, such on-shape e-learning platform or adobe creative cloud tutorials and events.
  • Design Journals or Blogs: Encouraging students to read journals or blogs to develop their design knowledge of current trends and design language.
  • Participation in the great British bake-off club.
  • Collaborative Projects: Encouraging students to work on cross-disciplinary projects with peers from other subjects. Such as science, art or computing.

Future opportunities

  • STEM Clubs: Joining STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) clubs to explore interdisciplinary projects.
  • Workshops and Guest Speakers: Professionals from various design and technology fields for workshops or talks.
  • Field Trips: Visiting manufacturing facilities, or museums related to technology and design.
  • Design Competitions: Participating in local or national design competitions to showcase their creativity and problem-solving skills.
  • Design Exhibitions: attending exhibitions to see innovative designs and technologies in action.

These opportunities will enhance students’ learning experiences and provide them with practical exposure to the world of design and technology.