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Earlsfield Primary School

Design & Technology

In Design and Technology (DT) we encourage  children to think creatively, but also practically. Children work in a range of contexts to develop key skills in designing and making. As well as technical knowledge, we also impart in children the importance of evaluating their projects and reflecting on how they could be improved. This helps our pupils become better learners in the future by learning from their past experiences.

At Earlsfield we ensure that every year group has in-depth coverage of the four key areas outlined in the National Curriculum, these are: designing, making, evaluating and technical knowledge. These key areas are covered in DT practical projects and also in cooking and nutrition. Cooking and nutrition is an invaluable life skill. Children are taught how to live a healthy lifestyle, as well as how to make a variety of healthy dishes.

How is Design Technology taught?

DT is taught throughout the school from Nursery up to Year 6. Our Early Years provision gives children the opportunity to develop their key skills through exploration and some more focused activities. For example, Reception children have free access to outdoor big block play every day. They also have an extensive range of construction toys (indoor and outdoor) which are put out on rotation. These include connecting bricks, wooden blocks, 2D connecting and Mobilo, which allows children to experiment with wheels, axels and moving parts as well as basic construction. Children also have free access to junk modelling and art areas.

During focused activities, pupils are set challenges which make them think and practice key DT skills. For example, children design and make their own Supertato/ Super Vegetable (based on the bestselling book series), they create a design, select which materials they need and then create their product.

In Key Stage 1 and 2 DT is taught as a part of Topic. A central Topic planning document details Geography, History, DT, PSHE and Computing all in one place, making it easy to highlight the links between different subject areas.

Each DT topic at Earlsfield Primary School is taught following the TASC wheel. The children follow the stages through the TASC wheel to achieve their final outcome. The stages are:

  • Gather/organise: What do I know about this?

  • Identify: What is the task?

  • Generate: How many ideas can I think of?

  • Decide: Which is the best idea?

  • Implement: Let’s do it!

  • Evaluate: How well did I do?

  • Communicate: Let’s tell someone!

  • Learn from Experience: What have I learned?

Even though every year group follows the same process, the skills being taught and the implementation of each stage are progressively more challenging depending on the age of the children (please see ‘example of skills progression’ below).

Although teachers formatively assess DT project outcomes during and after each lesson, a key part of the TASC wheel process is the pupils assessing their own project. Time is given for each pupil to evaluate their project and consider what went well and what they could have improved upon. Pupils will compare their completed work to their design brief, assess its aesthetic qualities and where appropriate, will use a testing process to evaluate the practicality and usability of their product. For example, if pupils are making a waterproof structure, they will test it with water to see how successful they have been. Sometimes pupils can complete the reflection process twice: once after creating a prototype and then again after their final product.

During Cooking and Nutrition lessons, pupils are taught how to cook and apply the principles of nutrition and healthy eating. During their time at Earlsfield, pupils will have an opportunity to follow recipes, create their own recipes, cook for others, cook food from different cultures and cook with ingredients that they have grown on site! Learning how to cook is a crucial life skill that enables pupils to feed themselves and others affordably and well, now and in later life.

What would you expect to see in a Design and Technology lesson at Earlsfield?

    • Key skills being developed.
    • Children actively engaged in their learning.
    • Opportunities for trial and error, experimentation and development.
    • Opportunities for children to show their creativity.
    • Lessons being planning to the TASC wheel, e.g. to include multi-step processes such as: planning, making and evaluating. For older year groups, research and prototype phases may also be included.
  • The DT TASC wheel evident in books/on work and for older children to be able to talk through what it is and which part of the process they are currently working on.
  • Time to evaluate and reflect on their work and suggest ways to improve upon it.
  • [In cooking and nutrition lessons] children being able to talk about how and why it is so important to eat a balanced diet.

What do pupils tell us about Design and Technology?

What DT projects have you done in Earlsfield and what was your favourite?

Yr 4 pupil: “I made houses in Year 2, we made a petrol station in Year 3 and now we are making a Viking long ship. My favourite was the petrol station because it included painting and I love arts and crafts, and we had to use our designing skills.”

Yr 4 pupil:  “My favourite project was making rockets in Year 1 because we really used our imagination so it came out in our build. It was challenging but fun.”

What is the DT TASC wheel used for?

Yr 5 pupil: “The TASC wheel helps you understand what part of a project you’re at.”What skills do you use most in DT?

Yr 3 pupil: “I use my imagination and my cutting skills a lot but the skill I use most in DT is mindfulness.”