The intent of our Meadowside Design and Technology curriculum is to inspire children to be imaginative and creative in their approach to the design and creation of products. We want children to be able to make meaningful links between different areas of the curriculum (such as mathematics, science, technology etc.) when approaching a new challenge to solve. We want children to recognise the value of evaluating our own work as well as the work of others in order to help us better understand how we can make improvements.
For each subject, we use an aspirational Golden Thread statement that is important to our school vision and values at Meadowside. We have considered how each subject can help the children in their journey to secondary school and beyond.
Our Meadowside Golden Thread for Design Technology is :
To be able to design and make products to solve real and relevant problems.
At Meadowside Primary School, we teach design and technology as part of our individual year group topics. Objectives are taken from the National Curriculum and meaningful links are made to suit the topic being studied at that time. Some lessons will be planning lessons where children may have the opportunity to test out and evaluate existing products prior to designing their own. Other lessons will be practical where children are given the opportunity to bring their products to life through the utilisation of skills and knowledge they have been given. Children are encouraged to evaluate and re-plan as they go, finding solutions to any problems they encounter along the way. We have a range of tools and materials available to children and have close links with local secondary schools which give us access to a wider supply of tools when needed. Children are also given time to evaluate their products after they have been made to access how successful they were, consider what they might alter if they were to make a similar product in the future and, of course, to celebrate their successes. Lessons are carefully planned and delivered to allow children to build on the skills they already have as they move through their primary school years. They are given a wide range of products and areas of design to explore throughout their time at Meadowside so they can have a rounded picture of what design and technology actually entails.
Part of the design and technology curriculum focuses on cooking and nutrition. At Meadowside, children are taught the principles of basic food nutrition and how our bodies need a range of foods in order to support our growth and development. Children will also have the opportunity to develop basic food preparation skills such as hygiene, knife skills and reading a recipe. These skills will support them in the creation and assembly of simple food products in Key Stage 1 (such as sandwiches and pizzas) and build up to more complex, full recipes in Key Stage 2 (such as chilli).
The children are assessed throughout the year by their class teacher, based on the work being produced in class. Three times a year, the Design and Technology subject leader will hold a pupil voice session to moderate the assessment judgements made by the class teacher. This gives our subject leader the chance to see strengths and areas for development in the teaching and learning of Design and Technology at Meadowside.
How can I support my child with Design and Technology?
Design and Technology has so many areas to it that everyone can find something they enjoy. One of the best ways to spark your child’s creativity and passion is to let them be bored! Challenge them to come up with something to stop them from being bored. Don’t want to play with any of their toys? – create a new one! Not in the mood to play one of their games? – invent your own! Not sure what to have for tea? – learn a new recipe and cook it together! Children are far more creative than adults and come up with so many inventive ideas and solutions to things. Allowing them to explore these and also allowing them to “fail” help to boost their creativity and problem-solving skills. It can be so tempting to step in and “fix” a mistake that you, as an adult, can already see coming but instead, stand back and let them work this out for themselves. Not only does this build their design and technology skill set but also their resilience and perseverance too.
Encourage children to be curious and ask questions about the world around them. Allow them the time to consider how things work, how things are made and whether they can think of ways to improve already existing products. If your child regularly encounters a problem (this can be a really small thing, like never knowing where the remote control is!), can they come up with something to help fix this problem?
It can sometimes be a bit dauting to allow children to have access to tools for creating. Often parents think their child is too young to be doing certain activities. However, many of the tools and skills children learn through design and technology are key skills for life. Skills such as cutting, gluing, sewing, knife skills, using a cooker or an oven, hammering, sawing etc. are all skills that children in Meadowside have access to. Of course, it is important that children use these tools safely, but with guidance and observation, they are able to utilise these independently.
Design and Technology is closely linked with other subjects, most commonly you may see it referred to as a STEM subject (science, technology, engineering and maths). These means you can often find “hidden” learning in many everyday experiences. There are lots of things you could do at home to encourage a love of design and technology learning including:
· Find a recipe for a savoury dish that nobody at home has tried before. Plan the ingredients you will need and get your child involved in the preparation and cooking. (You never know, you might even be able to get more cautious eaters to try new foods if they have spent time preparing the dish!)
· Create your own sweet dish. Think about all the things you like to have for pudding, design a combination of these and if you’re feeling brave enough, make it and try it! Did you combination work? Is there anything you would change to improve it further?
· Take something apart, explore the different components and see if you can put it back together again! This could be anything from an old electronic, a toy, or even deconstructing a food product and trying to work out what the ingredients might be!
· Design a new invention. You do not have to make it but allow your child’s mind to be as free and creative as they like. What would they make if there were no limits?
· Find out more about how things work – YouTube has some wonderful videos for children about this very thing. You can find just a small selection here.
· Find out how things are made, again YouTube has a wealth of resources, there is an entire TV series about how things are made or you can visit a library and look for more specific things in books.
· Try tackling a STEM challenge. The Institute of Imagination in London has a wealth of things you might like to try from experiments, to builds, to computing activities. You can find these here.
· Find out about pioneering designers who have changed the world – these could be people like Isambard Kingdom Brunel who changed the face of travel or James Dyson who has created many everyday objects children have probably seen without thinking too much about how they came to be!
STEM Learning is the home of STEM