GCSE Key Resources: Teaching for the Contextual Challenge

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D&T GCSE Resources
Teaching for the Contextual Challenge
Enabling you to prepare your students to engage in user-centred iterative designing

Ages 14-16
First published 2016
Updated 2018

This resource is aimed at supporting teachers to develop their subject knowledge in the area of context centred designing, in readiness for delivering the GCSE in Design and Technology. It forms part of a set of CPD resources aimed at modernising your design and technology curriculum at a time when there is a clear need for modernisation in the subject to develop students’ skills and knowledge and to help furnish the needs of industry.

The resource consists of:

PowerPoint (12 slides) covering:
       •  The nature of a contextual challenge
       •  The contextual challenge three phases
          -  Phase 1 exploring to identify needs and wants
          -  Phase 2 Meeting the identified needs and wants
          -  Phase 3 Evaluating the outcomes
       •  The departmental approach
Accompanying notes.

GCSE D&T subject content covered

  • Context dependent D&T activities and outcomes
  • Challenges that provide an external stimulus
  • Students explore and clarify design problems and opportunities
  • Design briefs which will inform and direct their designing and making
  • Assessment based on students’ ability to analyse and respond to contexts.

Also included:
Designing in Contexts classroom teaching resource
Also included is the bonus classroom teaching resource: Designing in Contexts.

Ages 14-16
First published 2017

This D&T GCSE Key Resource is based on five separate classroom activities that can be delivered consecutively or as separate lessons, where appropriate. The topics for each activity are:

  • Designing in context
  • Exploring the situation
  • Identify the needs and wants of people 1 & 2
  • Develop design ideas to meet users’ needs and wants
  • Evaluate existing products

It includes a PowerPoint presentation that can be adapted to suit your needs and includes worksheets and accompanying teacher notes outlining the different aspects. The presentation outlines several contexts as the starting point for design and links to the GCSE specification.


This resource is one of a number supporting the GCSE in Design and Technology and is available as part of a D&T GCSE pack including:

  • Teacher guide: Preparing a Scheme of Work
  • Understanding and choosing materials
  • Systems and control
  • Teaching for the contextual challenge
  • New and emerging technologies, and
  • Generating design ideas.


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