11-14 - Key Stage 3 Curriculum Planning
The D&T curriculum at 11-14 years
This section is being updated.
The Resource Vault (Members only) contains examples of planning, lesson activities, and example of projects for 11-14 year olds.
You may wish to refer to your national curriculum agency for the latest developments at 11-14 (KS3).
England (D&T) http://curriculum.qca.org.uk/ and http://curriculum.qca.org.uk/subjects/design-and-technology/
England (Licence to Cook) www.schoolsnetwork.org.uk/cooking and the briefing paper in the Resource Vault.
Northern Ireland http://www.nicurriculum.org.uk/key_stage_3/index.asp
Wales http://old.accac.org.uk/eng/content.php?mID=206 and http://old.accac.org.uk/eng/content.php?mID=704
- prepare young people to cope in a rapidly changing technological world
- enable them to think and intervene creatively to improve that world
- develops skills required to participate responsibly in home, school and community life (citizenship)
- help students to become discriminating consumers and users of products
- help students to become autonomous, creative problem-solvers
- support students working as individuals and with others
- equip students with the knowledge, skills and understanding about materials, tools and processes (technical know-how)
- develop practical capability - being able to apply knowledge, skills and understanding when designing and making
- encourage the ability to consider critically the uses, effects and values dimension of design and technology (technological awareness or literacy)
There is a need for a balance of teaching and learning activities:
- D&T capability (at any key stage) develops best through a planned programme of appropriately focused learning activities which develop students' designing and making skills at the same time as their knowledge and understanding.
- The priority is for students to build up a resource bank from which they can operate to develop ideas, i.e. not just to acquire knowledge and skills in their own right, but in order that they may be put to practical use and transferred effectively when different contexts present themselves.
- However, this should not mean that the whole of the curriculum is taken up with designing and making products, rather students should be challenged to design and make every now and then within their programme of study or course.
The D&T curriculum should provide students with a range of types of activity, including:
- investigative and experimental work
- individual and group activities
- problem-solving tasks
- creative responses
- evaluation of existing products and systems
- development of systems thinking and application of control concepts
- taught inputs/demonstrations, e.g. to teach techniques
- discussion, e.g. of technological issues and value judgements
As a result of their experiences in D&T, young people should:
- develop technological literacy in relation to a range of contexts, i.e. become technological thinkers
- develop practical skills and technical know-how (design & technology capability)
- apply each purposefully to the other
It is the above context from which young people learn about materials and resources (or any other D&T focus area), including the underlying science, design, and technological knowledge, skills and understanding.
When young people design and make products they should do so with knowledge and understanding, rather than without it.
Why this approach is appropriate
Technology only exists because people design with it and employ materials, tools and equipment to meet their varied needs, solve problems and create solutions.
- We create and we innovate - it is part of the human condition.
- On a daily basis we interact with, use, apply and adapt technology.
- Specifically - we make decisions on a daily basis about materials, resources, products, processes and systems.
- We face everyday challenges requiring design and technological solutions, i.e. thought through and worked out, using knowledge and skills acquired.
- Success in life depends on being able to handle and work with ideas and materials
- D&T capability requires both and gives students practice in doing this for real
Material resources are an important part of the make-up of societies, economies and cultures on a global basis and D&T provides a good preparation for the world of work D&T should be taught with reference to industrial and commercial practices to ensure that students are learning about and through "real world" contexts, rather than this being limited to school technology.
Progression and continuity
A team approach to teaching D&T - The recommended emphasis (supported by the Design and Technology Association, DfE and Ofsted) is a team approach to teaching and managing D&T, whereby departments together and under the leadership of the subject leader, decide how they can best provide a balanced and coherent learning experience for students over time.
This might involve such decisions as:
- Which teachers are best equipped to teach which aspects of the programmes of study?
- Which teachers will take responsibility for which aspects the teaching of core designing and making skills (i.e. those common to all areas of D&T such as evaluation, analysis, communication, planning and organisation)?
- Which teachers will take responsibility for reinforcing this teaching and helping students to apply what they have learnt elsewhere?
- Looking across the whole key stage, which units of work lend themselves particularly well to the introduction and continued development of a range of designing and making techniques and strategies (progression and continuity)?
- Does each unit of work have planned learning objectives and criteria for assessment?
- Are there areas of the programme of study that have not been fully addressed and what can be done about that?
- Are there areas of unnecessary repetition which can be reduced?
- Is the overall experience of students in D&T coherent?
It is also important to plan for appropriate use of ICT and links to any other curriculum areas, e.g. science, other aspects of D&T, graphics skills, industrial practices teaching, literacy, numeracy, key skills, citizenship. It is also vital to consider the requirements and framework of the KS3 National Strategy
Once these team-based decisions have been made, team members can more confidently get on with their own teaching (in their own style) because they are doing so in the full knowledge that they are working to an agreed framework. They know what their role is and they know what others are doing. This also means that each team member is released of the pressure to cover everything themselves. This should result in a more coherent key stage experience for students and one which is planned logically to promote progression and continuity.