Within DT lessons, we use quick feedback quizzes (where appropriate) to aid memory retention and, for each of the projects studied, the work is supplemented by the addition of a knowledge organiser, which provides the students a summary sheets of the knowledge gained over the projects in order to aid revision. This is especially important when the subject is taught on a rotation at KS3.
KS3 Design Technology
Every Key Stage 3 student studies Design and Technology for 2 hours per week as part of the Technology rotation. In Years 7-9, each student will therefore receive approximately 18 hours of DT teaching per year.
Students learn a variety of skills, including traditional practical skills, graphics skills and CAD/CAM skills, using our ICT facilities.
Students complete a number of projects that enhance both their practical skills, and their theoretical understanding of this wide-ranging subject. The projects allow students to build on and develop their previously acquired skills, ensuring that, by the end of Year 9, students are prepared to successfully complete GCSE Design Technology at KS4, should they choose it as one of their “Options” subjects.
In Year 7 the students focus on woodwork, electronics, drawing, marking out and health and safety:
In Year 8 the students focus on plastics, metals, material properties, CAD/CAM, and prototype production:
In Year 9 the students focus on a more open-ended project. Using existing designs as a focus, students learn about manufacturing techniques, quality assurance, finishes, user feedback and testing.
GCSE Design Technology
We follow the AQA Design Technology specification (8552)
The students have five hours contact every two weeks in studying this course. Much of the content is developed from and built on the learning from KS3, but with a greater emphasis on the design process and a focus on developing and producing prototypes of ideas. There is also an increased focus on the application of maths skills, such as costing products, presenting data and interpreting data.
The AQA DT course provides students who are creative, inventive and enjoy ‘hands on’ DT the chance to develop their design and making skills. Students have the opportunity to create products – mostly from wood, metal and plastic – to provide solutions to a range of problems.
Students develop a variety of skills from traditional woodwork skills through to CAD skills and advanced manufacturing skills, using our computer-controlled milling machine, hand routers and lathes. Using drawing and product analysis skills, students learn why we design products the way we do.
Utilising a variety of sources to inspire their designs, students follow the Design Process to produce a range of 3D products, for example a leading-edge design product to store iPads, headphones or smart phones. Students also learn about issues which affect design and manufacture, for example environmental issues and how products are made commercially.
How the course is assessed
There is a Non-Exam Assessment (NEA) for which, pupils produce one piece of assessed coursework (a product and a design folder) which is worth 50% of the grade. This is published on June 1st of Year 10 and we begin working on it shortly afterwards. Previous context titles have included:
- Nature and the environment
- Teenage lifestyle
- Multifunctional living
- A high profile event
- Sustainable future
The remaining 50% is assessed through an exam.