‘Design and Technology should be the subject where mathematical brainboxes and science whizzkids turn their bright ideas into useful products.’
- James Dyson
Design and technology is, at its heart, a cross-curricular subject. It invites children to bring their mathematical skills, their scientific knowledge and their artistic flair and apply them to new, real-world applications. It requires that children investigate the needs of consumers, work collaboratively with others to solve problems, clearly explain and persuasively justify their ideas and critically evaluate and analyse the work of both themselves and others. Design and technology offers the opportunity for children to utilise a breadth of skills and knowledge from other areas of the curriculum and, if planned well, a Design and Technology scheme of work does not take time from other subjects, but provides context, opportunity and engagement, enriching pupils’ understanding and giving them ample opportunities to apply that which they have already learnt.
Medway Community Primary School’s Design and Technology curriculum aims to utilise Design and Technology as a subject for the power it has to engage and motivate children and teachers alike and to provide children with an answer to the eternal question, ‘But why do I need to know this?’ Design and Technology is, by its nature, grounded in the real world and in real people; it is about meeting the needs of others and ourselves. As such, it is the ideal vehicle with which to exemplify to children the real-world utility of all they are learning at school. At Medway, children encounter real-life problems through contexts rooted in the wider curriculum and use the range of knowledge and skills at their disposal to creatively solve these problems, supported by quality resources and enthusiastic teachers. Our Design and Technology curriculum follows the principle of ‘design/make/evaluate’ and we make the most of the cross-curricular opportunities that present themselves at each stage of this process to ensure that Design and Technology is not just a box to tick, but is utilised as the rich resource for cross-curricular learning it is.
Medway looks to support children to use computer-aided design at all levels and our 3D printer is utilised to impressive effect in upper key stage 2. There are strong links between Computing and Design and Technology, with a variety of links being made between other subjects, both foundation and core. Making these links more explicit and taking advantage of them to their fullest extent will be an important focus point over the coming academic year. Children make good progress as they journey through the school, following the National Curriculum, and are particularly well-versed in evaluating their attempts at design. Going forward, we as a school will work towards improving our coverage of technical knowledge elements of the curriculum through use of increasingly ambitious and interesting practical design projects. There will also be a specific focus on improving provision of food and cooking projects, in order to equip children with a range of basic food preparation skills that will serve them well in later life.
Our KS2 design club meets on Wednesday lunchtimes to get involved in various Design and Technology challenges. Our exploits so far this year are documented below.