Design & Technology
At St Peter’s, we believe that Design Technology exposes children to an attitude, knowledge and skills which will serve them in productive lives, whether that be in typical STEM fields or not. Our Design Technology curriculum provides children with real life challenges which provoke questions and require creative, but measured, responses. The attitude has been exemplified by one of the innovative and adaptive responses to the Coronavirus Crisis: the collaboration between University College London engineers, clinicians at UCLH and Mercedes Formula One to design Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices within a week to meet a very real social need. We wish to inspire children with a solution-finding attitude, embracing an iterative design process. They will recognise their capability to make changes and improvements to what already exists. Design Technology dovetails effectively with the school’s BLP focus; children need strong learning muscles to help them to step with relish into the learning pit, accept and respond to inevitable discomfort, and find the tools and methods to climb out.
Our curriculum gives pupils the technical knowledge and practical skills to design, make, adapt and evaluate products which meet a given design brief. For a quarter of the projects experienced during KS2, children will respond to a challenge which is food technology-based, with the aim of providing real life skills and an understanding of the role nutrition plays in living healthy lives. Across the four years of study, there are opportunities to draw upon learning from other subjects, including the use of technology to meaningfully apply their learning from the computing curriculum. Where possible, we believe in providing a real life audience to children's design, hence the inclusion of Enterprise activities during their time at St Peter’s.
Our learning in year 3 builds on pupils’ knowledge and experience of the design, make and evaluate model from KS1. Food technology is introduced to the children in a guided way through a project related to their India topic. Year 4 offers the opportunity to taste and adapt recipes inspired by Italian cuisine. Year 6 children examine the cultural importance of bread before developing and making their own recipes. The project dovetails with their learning about micro-organisms in Science. There are textile projects in Years 3 and 5, the latter extending the complexity of designs and the range of joinings/decorations. A range of mechanical systems are applied to children’s designs: Year 3 - pneumatics; Year 4 - levers and linkages; Year 5 - cams; Year 6 - gears and motors. Throughout the Key Stage, methods are explored for manipulating 2D materials to form 3D shell or frame structures, or to create aesthetic effects.
Where appropriate, across the Key Stage, children’s learning will follow a regular pattern, based upon the Design and Technology Association’s structure. They begin with Investigative and Evaluative Activities, exploring products which are already available. Focused Practical Tasks follow this stage, providing children with the technical knowledge required to design their own product. Children then engage in Design, Make and Evaluate Activities. An iterative approach is encouraged throughout a topic, encouraging children to recognise the need to adapt and refine initial ideas as they progress in their projects.