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Design & Technology


Learning Journey & Sequencing Rationale

Design and Technology is both a practical and academic subject. It provides our young people with the opportunity to actively respond to class based projects with creativity and rationality. Design and Technology teaches our children how to make important design decisions and how to become more resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable. Our learners also develop a critical understanding of the impact of design and technology in daily life and the wider world. Design and Technology delivers excellent opportunities for our learners to develop and apply judgements in relation to; aesthetics, economic, moral, social, and of a technological nature in both their own designing and when evaluating the work of others.


There are 6 units covered across the 3 years of Key stage 3, two units in each year as part of a rotation of 7-8 weeks with 3 other subject areas from the school curriculum. Each unit has a practical task to complete either a model or a final prototype.  Year 7s have the opportunity to make a product for themselves to take home.  At the end of each unit learners will complete an assessment test which comprises of a knowledge multiple choice test and a written test, where their knowledge and understanding is secured. 

In Year 7 Design and Technology begins with Problem Solving.  This unit gives the learners an understanding of how a design problem is solved. It demonstrates the use of the iterative design process to develop design ideas from conception to the final product. The second unit, Mechanical systems and movement gives learners an incite to how products work in their everyday lives. They also have an understanding that there is a link between science and mathematics in design and technology. Both units introduce learners to the workshop where they are able to use some of the tools and equipment for the first time. They are also taught the importance of following the health and safety process at this stage.

As the learners move up into Year 8 the focus is on sketching, modelling and iterative design. Learners learn basic drawing skills which enable them sketch ideas from “2D drawings to 3D models. Learners generate a range of ideas through sketching modelling, testing and evaluating.

In Year 9 the focus is improving their designing skills by generating ideas inspired by nature. The first unit ‘Functionality and Aesthetics’ aims to show learners the link between function and form. The second unit in Year 9, ‘Making a prototype’ is a continuation of the first unit. Learners make design choices and create a list of instructions to make final prototype using sustainable materials.



unit overview - term 1

Subject: Mechanical systems and movement


  • To use tools and equipment in the workshop to make a working mechanical/automated toy.
  • To make design choices.
  • Use and identify cams and followers, gears and pulleys to create specific movements


  • Recognise and name the four different forms of movement.
  • Know how levers and linkages work and can make moving a load easier
  • Understand how an input motion can be changed to a different output motion by a mechanism
  • Recognise the differences in different rotary cams and how they interact with different followers
  • Use different cams and followers to design mechanisms
  • Recognise different drive train mechanisms and understand how they transmit motion and change its magnitude and direction
  • Develop an understanding of, and be capable in the selection of different mechanical components to make a working mechanism


This acquired knowledge gives the learner insight of how mechanisms are used to improve the out-put and performance of several products and machinery. The gained knowledge allows learners identify various automated products used in everyday life.

 Practical activities reinforce technical principles throughout the unit, which enables learners introduce mechanisms in their design. They are able to work from basic forms of motion, moving to a more complex ‘design and make’ activity, which will support what kind of levers, rotary and linkages give the right motion and velocity needed for a design.

There are elements of mathematics and science covered in the unit which is accessible and logical allowing calculation and performance of systems be predicated.

unit overview - term 2

Subject: 3D Problem solving


To use the iterative design process to develop design ideas from conception to the final product.

Create a design specification

Using prototypes to present final design ideas.

Identify problems with a design.

Design through prototyping and modelling.


  • List different ways to research a design problem
  • Define the terms: user, client, target market and ergonomics
  • Explain what a product analysis is
  • Create a design specification
  • Identify impairments and empathise with disabled user groups
  • Explain the iterative design process
  • Make changes to design ideas using prototypes
  • Personalise a design idea
  • Test and evaluate and idea individually and as part of a team
  • Identify problems with a design
  • Select and conduct appropriate research methods to investigate a design problem
  • Determine user needs through product analysis
  • Show how a specification is used when designing and testing
  • Differentiate between the terms ‘consumer-’ and ‘focus groups’
  • Create a specification based on the needs of different consumers and focus groups
  • Generate a range of appropriate ideas for and empathise with disabled users
  • Generate creative design solutions for a disability
  • Demonstrate an iterative design process
  • Develop and improve design ideas using prototypes
  • Experiment with materials to create personalised and ergonomic designs
  • Offer constructive criticism, explain and justify potential problems and offer solutions


This unit enables learners to analyse critically, design challenges in products and prototypes. They understand how products are created and come up with solutions that are adaptable and user-friendly. It is set in context that ensures empathy is used to realise that consumers are different and have varying needs and requirements. Learners are able to offer constructive criticism, explain and justify potential problems and offer solutions.  The practical activities allow learners to experience the physical restrictions disabled users face thereby arming them with motivation to design and make innovative prototypes while using the iterative design strategy. Throughout the process of designing and making reflection and critical evaluation takes place.

knowledge OrganiserS

A knowledge organiser is an important document that lists the important facts that learners should know by the end of a unit of work. It is important that learners can recall these facts easily, so that when they are answering challenging questions in their assessments and GCSE and A-Level exams, they are not wasting precious time in exams focusing on remembering simple facts, but making complex arguments, and calculations.

We encourage all pupils to use them by doing the following:

  • Quiz themselves at home, using the read, write, cover, check method.
  • Practise spelling key vocabulary
  • Further researching people, events and processes most relevant to the unit.