“Good buildings come from good people, and all problems are solved by good design.” Stephen Gardiner
At the Grove, design and technology has a key part to play in our curriculum and utilises knowledge and skills from other subject areas such as science, computing, maths, art and engineering. Design and technology is taught throughout the year and children will leave the Grove being able to inventively think outside the box and use their ingenuity to creatively solve real world problems.
Design and technology is often brought to life through taking part in national competitions. The children love a challenge. Designing, making, testing, evaluating and improving their products for a real competition or situation results in some fantastic creations.
Children’s skills are developed through creativity where they design, make and evaluate products to solve real and relevant problems. They have to take the context into consideration as well as the wants and needs of themselves and others, often drawing on inspiration from famous inventors. Children explore a variety of techniques and skills, from making structures stronger to using mechanisms, such as levers and sliders. They investigate and analyse existing products to make prototypes and then consider improvements to their designs before making their own final creations.
Cooking and nutrition is also an important part of design and technology. The children learn about a balanced diet and making healthy lifestyle choices, resulting in strong cross-curricular links with PE. Children are taught key food technology skills, from putting together fruit kebabs to making bread, building up life skills ready for when they leave the Grove and later on in life.
Many aspects of design technology can be found in the Mini and Junior Duke Awards which the children at the Grove participate in. The children complete challenges to build independence and life skills preparing them for life after school.
Our curriculum is built around deep thinking and encourages learners to use a question as the starting point, considering different avenues for further research. They do this through exploring, talking about, testing and developing ideas about everyday phenomena and the relationships between living things and familiar environments, and by beginning to develop their ideas about functions, relationships and interactions. They ask their own questions about what they observe and make some decisions about which types of scientific enquiry are likely to be the best ways of answering them, including observing changes over time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out simple comparative and fair tests and finding things out using secondary sources of information. They draw simple conclusions and use scientific language to talk and write about what they have found out.
Each knowledge topic is planned to retrieve knowledge previously covered and then follow our 4 stage sequence of teaching; ignite and inspire, deep practice, mastery and showcase. KS1 cover: textiles, mechanical systems, structures and food and nutrition. KS2 cover: textiles, mechanical systems, structures, food and nutrition, electrical systems and programming, monitoring and control. We ensure that learning is progressive and continuous.
Each DT topic begins with a design brief/hook to inspire a sense of excitement and curiosity for children – ignite and inspire. Teachers check on what children already know and then invite children to think of their own questions. During deep practice, the children begin by exploring existing products to support their initial designs before making their own product to match agreed success criteria. Completed products are evaluated by the design criteria and children consider how improvements could be made. Across both key stages, technical knowledge is embedded throughout the Design, Make and Evaluate process. Children will be supported through the mastery stage of the teaching sequence. Children will then have the opportunity to showcase their learning. This stage provides children with an opportunity to share their learning more widely with other children and parents through a variety of means e.g. learning presentations, talks, report writing etc.
Memorable knowledge and skills have been identified for each of the units to provide progressive acquisition of knowledge. This is supported by the use of ‘sticky vocabulary and sticky knowledge’ which are displayed on subject specific knowledge organisers. Teachers regularly refer to this knowledge and key vocabulary with meanings so that it ‘sticks’. This enables children to readily apply knowledge and vocabulary.
DT learning is loved by teachers and children across school. The successful approach to the teaching of DT at The Grove School will result in a fun, engaging, high quality science education, that provides children with the foundations for understanding the world that they can take with them once they complete their primary education.
Assessment at The Grove School uses informal strategies (verbal/written outcomes, reflection tasks/presentations, retrieval practice games and activities).
Formative assessment is used as the main tool for assessing the impact of DT at The Grove School as it allows for misconceptions and gaps to be addressed more immediately rather than building on insecure foundations.
Children at The Grove School will:
- demonstrate a love of DT and an interest in further study and work in this field.
- retain knowledge that is pertinent to DT with a real life context.
- be able to question ideas and reflect on knowledge.
- be able to articulate their understanding of DT and discuss products using rich technical knowledge when describing the Design, Make and Evaluate process.
- work collaboratively and practical to create a product against design criteria.
- demonstrate their love of DT and the development of their skills through their final products.
- achieve age related expectations in DT at the end of their cohort year.