In the Early Years Foundation Stage, Design and Technology forms part of the learning children acquire under the Specific Area of ‘Understanding the world’. This area includes learning about the following:
The world – children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another.
Technology – children recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools. They select and use technology for particular purposes.
Expressive arts and design also includes learning about Design and Technology and involves the following:
Exploring and using media and materials: children sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them. They safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.
Being imaginative: children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role-play and stories.
Here are some of the typical learning experiences your child will have:
Constructing: Learning to construct with a purpose in mind, some children use scissors, glue, string and a hole punch to make a bag to store travel brochures they collected during a field trip.
Structure and joins: Following a visit to their local high street, some children make a church tower out of small wooden bricks.
Using a range of tools: Through this, your child will learn about planning and adapting initial ideas to make them better. For example, a child might choose to use scissors, a stapler, elastic bands and glue to join bits together to make a toy vehicle. But they might then modify their initial idea by using masking tape.
Cooking techniques: Some children take turns stirring the mixture for a cake and then watch with fascination as it rises while cooking. They will practise stirring, mixing, pouring and blending ingredients during cookery activities.
Exploration: Children will dismantle things and learn about how everyday objects work. For example, a child might dismantle a pepper grinder and discover how it is put together and the materials different parts are made of.
Discussion: Your child will be given opportunities to discuss reasons that make activities safe or unsafe, for example hygiene, electrical awareness, and appropriate use of senses when tasting different flavourings. They will also learn to record their experiences by, for example, drawing, writing and making a tape or model.
How to help at home
Encourage your child to try out these activities to improve their DT skills:
- Get your child to sort objects by different criteria. You could do this by getting them to help to set the table or organise shopping items to be put away.
- When talking to your child, look for opportunities to notice and discuss materials around them – utensils in the kitchen, tree barks on a walk, soft furnishings in the bedroom.
- While speaking, use the language of designing and making, for example words such as ‘join’, ‘build’ and ‘shape’. And use evaluative and comparative language – ‘longer’, ‘shorter’, ‘lighter’, ‘heavier’ and ‘stronger’.
- Encourage and support the use of a range of tools, such as scissors, hole punch, stapler, glue spreader, rolling pin, cutter and grater.
Spring Term 2019
Our topics for this term are ‘Dinosaurs’, ‘Roots, shoots and muddy boots’.
Here are some observations from Tapestry of children using Design and Technology to develop their learning:
A child came to show me the plane that she had made, I was very impressed. She told me that it was like the plane that she went on a long time ago. When I asked her where she had gone she said, “On holiday, it was hot, I like when it hot. I like swimming.” I agreed that holidays were good fun. I looked at her plane and wondered if anything was missing, she was unsure so we looked at a picture of a plane together. The child noticed the writing on the plane and the windows, I suggested that she add them to her plane. She knew that she needed either a square or a rectangle but was unsure how to draw one, I modelled how and she tried hard to draw them on her plane; she even drew a window for the pilot to look out of.
Our topics for this term are ‘Fantasy’, ‘People who help us’.
Here are some observations from Tapestry of children using Design and Technology to develop their learning:
A child and his friends decided to use the large construction to build themselves a new juice machine. As the machine was taking shape the child realised that it wouldn’t stay standing up. I explained to him that it wasn’t ‘balancing’ and we chatted about what this word meant. We looked at a chair and I pointed out that each of its four legs were in the corners and this helped the chair to be stable. The child noticed his machine had only three legs and two of the were on one side. He worked hard to redesign his machine and we then tested how stable it was by gently bumping into it.
A child came over and showed me that she had made a watch on the making table. I asked her what we use watches for and she told me we use them to tell the time. I asked her if she could remember what we had talked about in maths before about time and she was unsure, so I reminded her that when the big hand points to the 12 we say O’clock at the top. She then remembered and did the action while saying it. I then looked at her watch and realised that she had drawn 2 O’clock as the time and asked her if she knew what time she had drawn. She had a look at and said 2 O’clock! Well done!
Key Stage One
This term our topics have been ‘Weather Experts’ and ‘Our Planet and beyond’.
The children discussed traveling around on the moon in a moon buggy. They looked at some photos of moon buggies and talked about what features a moon buggy would need such as
wheels and a steering wheel. The children then worked hard as they designed and made their own moon buggies and tested them in motion.
This term our topics have been ‘Air, Land and Sea’ and ‘Art around the world’.
During the topic ‘Air, Land and Sea’ the children made Ham pasta bake and enjoyed eating this in school. It was delicious!
The children also talked about how people travel on water and discussed what is special about modes of water transport and who might travel on water and why. The children then designed their own boats to travel on water. They thought about what materials would be best to use and how to ensure their boat was going to float. The children chose their own materials to make their boats and tested them in a tray of water to see if their design and build had been successful. They then evaluated their boats and thought about what they would do differently next time.
As part of our ‘Art around the world’ topic the children have been learning about different countries. They made and tasted a vegetable curry and this was new to many of the children but most said they enjoyed eating it and some said they would like to have it again.
Autumn Term 2018
Our topics for this half term will be colours and harvest. We will be investigating colours through a variety of activities including colour mixing. Our colour mixing is on display for everyone to see.
Our topics for this term is ‘All About Me’ and ‘Celebrations’. We have been spending time in the cookery room making healthy fruit salads and sandwiches. We have been completing self-portraits, and drawings of our families. The children have had access to creative resources in the making area and messy activities such as using dough, plasticine and finger painting. We have been creating firework and bonfire pictures, making Diva lamps, winter pictures and Christmas cards.
Here are some observations of children designing and making;
A child was busy filling and mixing in the sand when I asked her what she was doing. She told me that she was making a Diwali cake. I asked her what she was going to put in her Diwali cake and she told me lots of colours and some flowers.
A child was playing in the sand pit and told me she was making apple crumble. I said I really liked apple crumble and asked if she liked it too. She said she did and that she had made it with her Grandma. I asked her what ingredients she had used and explained that ingredients were all the different foods you put together to make something. She said flour, sugar, butter and eggs. I said that you don’t usually use eggs for a crumble and asked if she would like to look at a recipe. We found one on the iPad and found out the ingredients were flour, sugar, butter and fruit. I said that the method in a recipe would tell you how to make the crumble. We found a dish and pretended to put the apple in the bottom. She was stirring her crumble and I explained that you need to rub the butter into the flour and sugar and modelled how this would be done using the sand. She then had a try and topped her apple with the crumble.
Key Stage One
During our ‘Winter Wonderland’ topic we made snowman biscuits. The children made a melted snowman biscuit by following a recipe. When they had finished they tasted and evaluated it.
The children discussed as a class whether they liked their biscuit or not and gave reasons why. They then recapped the steps for making their biscuit.
This term our topics have been ‘Medieval Norwich’ and ‘Night time’. In Design and Technology we have designed and made a medieval shield.
We then painted our shields using the design and these are displayed proudly in our Year 2 corridor.
The children worked in teams to build a throne.
Design and Technology – Summer 2018
The children in reception have been learning new skills and have practised these skills in their free flow learning. All children in the EYFS have continued to enjoy daily access to creative resources and have been encouraged to develop their ideas and adapt their creations when necessary. Their work has included designing and making their own clothes for dolls this half term.
During STEM day the reception children read the book ‘Dinosaur Police’ by Sarah McIntyre. This story is about a T-Rex who ate pizza from a pizza factory that was meant to be for a town fair. The children then investigated the ‘crime’ and saw dinosaur footprints that had been left in their classrooms. They also decided to make some pizza for the town fair because the T-Rex had eaten it all up!
As part of their ‘Our Planet and Beyond’ topic, year 1 enjoyed designing and making their own Moon Buggies and vehicles. The children used junk modelling resources to bring their designs to life and used dowels and wheels to make their moon buggies move.
During Family Learning Week, the children in year 1 also made their own piers after learning about the Norfolk coast. They followed criteria that their piers had to meet during their work. One of the criteria was the pier being as long as a ruler and able to hold 10 counting people.
As part of their ‘Habitats and Environments’ topic, the year 2 children designed and created minibeasts with a learning partner. They used their knowledge of invertebrates to combine features they felt would make a ‘super minibeast’.
During our ‘Norfolk’ themed Family Learning Week, year 2 also enjoyed learning about famous houses in Norfolk, including Sandringham House and Blickling Hall. The children got the opportunity to design their own stately homes using features that they had seen during their work and research. They then created their designs whilst working in groups and using junk modelling resources. Everyone worked hard to think about how to join their materials together before sharing their work with their the rest of their classmates.
The Nursery children visted the Resources Room for the first time. The children really enjoyed making gingerbread men together, which was part of a class reward. The children followed a recipe and got the opportunity to add ingredients and decorate their own!
Children in Reception classes have continued to have access to a variety of modelling resources and have been developing their ideas based on their own interests. Some of their work has inlcuded building sledges during the snowy weather and a fire station, linking to their topic ‘People who help us.’
The Reception children have also made chocolate crispy cakes. They carefully used the scales to weigh the correct amount of each ingredient and practised stirring their mixture before putting it into the cake cases.
During Book Week, Year 1 enjoyed making vegetable Gruffalo Crumble alongside their Julia Donaldson learning. This recipe used lots of healthy ingredients and made the whole corridor smell amazing. The children enjoyed chopping the vegetables themselves and measuring the correct amount of each ingredient before tasting the finished product. Lots of the children really enjoyed this dish!
During their Air, Land and Sea topic work, Year 2 have been learning about the importance of eating healthily. They have explored the main food groups of carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables, protein, dairy and fats and have designed their own healthy sandwiches. The children tried to include as many of the different food groups as they could when completing this task.
At the end of this piece of work, the children made and tested the sandwich they had designed. Some of the children discovered some very interesting sandwich combinations!
Year 2 have also used junk modelling resources to create their own baskets. They did this having to meet two criteria: all designs had to have a handle and they needed to hold tomatoes. The finished baskets had to transport tomatoes without the fruit being squashed. The children really enjoyed testing their creations. After the testing, the children discussed what went well and what could be done next time to make the baskets even better.
Reception watched the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and talked about healthy and unhealthy food. They talked about the importance of staying healthy, and how the caterpillar needed to eat lots of healthy food to help him grow big and strong to turn into a butterfly. All the children made their own fruit salad; they were asked to cut up their own fruit carefully with a knife, and add it to their cup. They were very good at trying new things just like The Very Hungry Caterpillar!
During Harvest open afternoon, the year one children enjoyed making their very own apple crumble. Learning to cook is an important skill and the children would be able to replicate this recipe at home. They were extremely proud of what they had made. It smelt amazing and we’re sure it tasted just as good!
During year 2’s ‘Medieval Norwich’ topic they have designed and made a drawbridge suitable for a castle. They all had the same materials to use for their designs and had to discuss each design in their teams before they started to make their bridge. We tested out their bridges using weights and discussed why some people’s designs were stronger than others and what they would change about their design if they were to do it again.
Within our federation, we provide opportunities for each child to design, create and use their own ideas and experiences to further their learning in Design and Technology. Concepts of design form part of the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, and Design and Technology continues to be a foundation subject within the National Curriculum for Key Stage One and Two (Year 1 to Year 6).
As children progress through the federation, they develop increasing independence and broaden their thinking about the design processes, including creating and refining their own ideas. There is a particular focus on researching, planning, designing and evaluating their idea and product, with an opportunity to improve it based on their evaluation. These skills are transferable to other subjects.
Design and Technology is taught through cross-curricular links relating to the topics taught throughout the year. There is a clear focus on raising standards in Design & Technology skills in line with the new curriculum. Children are encouraged to work independently and can select a range of equipment and tools to use. They are supported to test their ideas and persevere when things become more challenging.
To enable a wide range of experiences in line with requirements, cooking facilities have been developed to ensure all children access high quality food technology facilities on a regular basis. The school provides a budget to give children a wide variety of culinary experiences and allow them to learn the principles of a healthy and varied diet.
Spring Term 2019
In the spring term, we practised different styles of stitching and learnt about seam allowance. We tested different materials using weights to source the most durable fabric from our selection before designing, and then creating, a prototype of a small seed bag. Some children even managed to affix decorations out of felt.
During Science week we learnt how to make samosas and tracked the journey of the ingredients required, to combine our cooking learning with Science and Geography! Later in the term we then designed and created model-size Stone Age inspired houses. This activity highlighted how a design can be a working product and change as we experiment with different material types.
In the Spring Term, we designed and constructed an educational game about the mountains of Europe – using our understanding of insulators and conductors. We also produced a vegetarian lasagne, making our own pasta and cooking the very tasty filling, before layering it into a delicious meal, which we took home to enjoy with our families.
In year 5, children have been working on their paper-mache skills. We have been creating 3D Mayan masks, using lots of layering and sticking techniques. We have decorated our masks to look scary or like animals. Lots of children have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to develop their ideas from design to reality and have evaluated the masks for authenticity.
In Year 6, as well our cooking sessions in the autumn term, we also attended Neatherd High School this term to make some cheese scones. We really enjoyed working together and practicing our cooking skills. As part of British Science Week, we researched and sourced the ingredients to make bread rolls.
Autumn Term 2018
In the autumn term, Year 3 experienced their first Junior STEM day. They were sent an email from Christopher Columbus, who requested an operational boat to be designed, created and tested that could move without being touched. The children designed their boats, chose from a range of materials following a survey to investigate what people voted would be the most effective materials and then tested them in trays of water.
Later in the term, as part of their Ancient Egypt topic, the children baked Egyptian flat bread and saw how it was cooked in oil. The children were very surprised at its taste!
In the autumn term, Year 4 designed, created and evaluated a laminated cake stand to place their authentic Roman honey cakes on. Their evaluation was based upon whether the cake stand could hold their cakes.
As part of their Viking topic, Year 5 designed and created Viking long boats with moving parts. This required lots of precision cutting and joining of materials. They also experienced how to bake a Viking style flapjack.
As part of Year 6’s History topic, the Ancient Greeks, they designed, created and evaluated their own ‘mini Parthenon’s’. They were able to use a variety of different materials such as cardboard, paper and plastic. They decorated their Parthenons to replicate the original designs. Alongside this, they designed and produced their own Greek pottery made from clay. They had to plan their designs before they created them so that they knew what their finished product should look like. They enjoyed painting them once they had dried with orange and black colours. Year 6 had the opportunity to attend some cooking sessions at Neatherd High School where they made some very tasty flapjacks.
Before Easter, Year 4 cooked African food as part of their topic. They needed to follow detailed instructions independently and use a range of kitchen tools such as graters, knives and measuring equipment. The ‘red red stew’ was a traditional Ghanaian dish and could form part of a varied and nutritious diet.
Year 5 researched the history of the Mayan mask and then as part of D&T, created their own. The masks were made using recycled materials such as milk bottles and straws, which were then strengthened by papier-mâché and decorated with feathers and beads. The children used their own designs to create some imaginative pieces and evaluated their finished products.
As part of their residential trip to Holt Hall, Year 6 learned to gather forest resources to build their own campfire, as well as cook on it. After lighting their fire using traditional camping methods, children first chopped up and baked apples on their fires before learning how to gut and prepare fish – which many children did independently. Year 6 also designed their own tea using ingredients from Holt Hall’s herb garden and evaluated their creations.