D&T in Primary Education

From DT Online

Aims and Objectives

Design and Technology is a practical and creative activity that provides for young children opportunities to:

  • explore the widest range of materials and processes to make things of quality that work;
  • understand the importance of precision and working carefully;
  • develop their knowledge and understanding of all subjects of the curriculum and, in particular, maths, science, ICT and art;
  • develop skills and confidence in talking to others and writing about what they have done;
  • make sense of the 'made world' that surrounds them;
  • work individually and in teams;
  • work safely;
  • enjoy a motivating learning experience . . . . . and have fun!

In addition to specific D&T skills, D&T can contribute to the Early Years curriculum by:

  • Providing a real purpose for naming and labelling;
  • Encouraging children to talk about what they have made;
  • Encouraging sorting and counting skills;
  • Requiring routines to be followed correctly;
  • Giving opportunity to help each other and work in pairs and groups;
  • Developing persistence and the ability concentrate;
  • Developing fine motor skills;
  • Providing a creative medium;
  • Prompting questioning and investigation;
  • Using ICT to produce images and text to help with their designing and making.

Children Working
  • At Key Stage 1 children will work through teacher set activities often supported by non-teaching assistants.
    • D&T activities will draw upon their pre-school experience of interaction with toys and their immediate environment. D&T work will be integrated with their other learning activities and will take place within their classrooms, perhaps a group at a time in a corner of the room set aside for this work. Through discussion they will be encouraged to make choices and say why they do things in a particular way.
    • Most D&T tasks will be based around a teacher guided concept for which appropriate resources have been provided. Children will be enabled to make their own individual variation by choosing from suggested options

  • At Key Stage 2 children will work more often as a whole class and, increasingly, will receive some separate subject teaching in addition to their general topic based work.
    • D&T activities will form part of general topic work in which children use and extend their D&T capability or may be the subject of a whole class taught input to introduce a new skill or concept in the form of a focused task. In most schools, children will work on their D&T tasks a group at a time in part of the room set aside for this work although in some schools there may be a central resource area equipped for practical activities.
    • Often, D&T work will be stimulated by a whole class discussion of related commercial products and processes. Increasingly, children will be encouraged to model parts of their design ideas using sketches and drawings before they start to make the finished product. This will be especially relevant where certain parts have to be made to a particular shape, size or scale.
    • Most D&T tasks will be based around a teacher initiated concept which children will further develop through discussion. Appropriate resources will be provided and children may add to these to suit a particular variation on the set theme. The completed work may result in an individual product but often will be part of a group activity contributing to a whole class project.

Progression in D&T

At the early stages of developing capability, children should be able to:

  • generate and develop ideas through talking about what their design has to do, handling materials and, where appropriate, drawing;
  • increasingly take account of people’s needs and wants;
  • reflect more on their ideas;
  • draw what they have made;
  • recognise and begin to select suitable tools and materials;
  • apply their previous knowledge and experience;
  • suggest achievable ways forward and begin to suggest improvements to their own models.

As children make progress, they should:

  • become more involved in finding out information useful to their designing and use their experience of products and applications as the stimulus for ideas;
  • use 2D and 3D models to try out and develop ideas as they become more reflective about their designs;
  • suggest an increasing number of achievable ways forward and develop simple plans which take into account the resources available;
  • start combining and shaping materials to create products which meet their intentions;
  • use tools safely and with increasing accuracy.

As children make further progress, they should:

  • use a variety of information sources for their research, and set criteria for their designs, which increasingly take account of the views and preferences of the intended user;
  • become more familiar with techniques (e.g. brainstorming and product analysis) to generate ideas, and have a clearer sense of priorities in their design proposals;
  • use a range of modelling techniques and be able to justify the decisions they make;
  • plan and evaluate in a more considered manner, and show a greater awareness of constraints and the implications of their designs;
  • draw upon a greater range of techniques and skills to create quality products for identified purposes;
  • become increasingly competent at matching how they work to the materials and the task.