Design Technology Intent and Rationale

Design Technology Intent

Design Technology at Marlborough aims to encourage children’s creative, technical and practical expertise to allow problem solving and the creation of purposeful, cross curricular products. We aim to inspire children through a broad range of practical experiences to create innovative designs which solve real and relevant problems within a variety of different contexts. Through hands on and inquiry based research, children will be encouraged to identify real and relevant problems, critically evaluate existing products and then take risks and innovate when designing and creating solutions to the problem in order to create quality products that can be applied to the real world. As part of the interactive process, time is built in to reflect, evaluate and improve on prototypes using design criteria throughout to support this process.

In Key Stage 2, opportunities are provided for children to research key events and individuals who have helped shape the world, showing the real impact of design and technology on the wider environment and helping to inspire children to become the next generation of innovators.

Throughout their time at Marlborough, children’s practical skills and knowledge will progress sequentially, building upon prior learning, in order to promote and embed independence which will be carried with them throughout their school journey and adult life.


Design Technology Rationale



Design Technology within the Foundation Stage at Marlborough begins with children exploring a wide range of materials and tools through child initiated learning in both the indoor and outdoor classroom.  Resources are set up to allow children to develop their skills and build upon prior learning and knowledge from nursery or pre-school.  Teachers observe children and build in experiences to move learning forward and add challenge to activities. Some adult led learning is planned for throughout the year where children are able to make links with other subjects and use what they have learnt across the whole curriculum.

The children have a focus on developing fine and gross motor skills during the autumn term. Playdough is available continuously where tools are provided to encourage the exploration of rolling and shaping with their hands. Rolling pins and shape cutters are also on hand, to allow for the independent use of tools which will be revisited and developed during baking in Year 3 and Year 5. Links are made through Art in the summer term, where children create salt dough sculptures and use rolling, pinching and flattening techniques.

Threading is also experienced during the children’s first year in school. This starts with the threading of beads on to a string and develops into threading around a shape with simple in and out pattern to help develop the hand eye co-ordination needed when the children go on to learn sewing techniques in Year 2.

Through the provision of junk modelling and the making area, children are able to explore and experiment with folding, tearing, using a punch, cutting, snipping and attaching two or more objects together. The children are encouraged to use their imaginations to design, create and make objects which link with topics that are being studied. Round ended scissors are provided so cutting and snipping can also be carried out. These skills are also all taught through guided activities throughout the year, where adults correctly model the techniques and the children are then asked to put them in to practise through a focused task which may include making fireworks, buildings or vehicles. An introduction to designing will be made, where children are required to draw a picture of their design and later in the year labelling and listing resources and materials that will be used. Drawing upon the Characteristics of Effective Learning, staff will discuss the process and finished model with the children and they will be asked to explain what has worked well and areas for improvement.

In Geography, the children enjoy a ‘Welly Week’ and explore the Forest School and local woodland.  Making links to Design Technology, they are shown how to build dens using large bricks, tyres, planks, material, tarpaulin, string, crates and large pegs-an introduction to large structures which are revisited in more detail in Year 5. They also learn how to thread rope, tie knots and make the structures safe and secure.

Looking at seasons in the EYFS lends itself to a wealth of learning in DT. We explore where seasonal fruit and vegetables are grown and during the winter and create soup. The children have the opportunity to cut and chop the vegetables before observing the smell, look and taste of it cooking.   The children explore different types of food and categorise these in to being healthy and unhealthy. They also begin to find out about the NHS ‘5 a Day’ advice and learn about the importance of eating a healthy diet. Using senses to explore a variety of the fruits the children start to build a vocabulary to describe the smell, texture and taste, which gives an early understanding to the more detailed scientific work carried out in Year 1. They also have the opportunity to bake in school three times a year. Parent helpers volunteer to work with small groups of children, who together look at a recipe, carry out instructions one at a time, experience weighing ingredients and use a spoon to stir and mix.  With close supervision, the oven is used and the children are introduced to the basic safety and hygiene rules involved in using the school baking area.


Year 1

Building on the skills gained from junk modelling in FS, year 1 children will begin to investigate how to create free standing structures. They will explore the local area and identify natural and man-made structures, which will link to Geography where the children will be studying human and physical features.  The children will learn about different methods of enabling structures to remain stable and investigate which materials are the best for making and joining a whole class model. Paper and card will be used and techniques investigated, such as taping and gluing, to allow the children to join materials together. These skills will be drawn upon and used during summer term Art lessons when creating a whole class piece of art. The children will begin to find out about the characteristics and functional properties of materials and make choices relating to what they are making. In FS the children will have had the opportunity to use scissors, join materials and fold paper. In Year one, the skills will be progressing with templates being used and the expectation of scissor control to be more accurate. Cutting skills from the foundation stage will be built upon, and the children will be encouraged to cut along straight and curved lines with increasing accuracy.

This will progress and develop during the mechanisms unit in the spring term, where levers and sliders will be studied. Slots will be cut for a slider and a paper fastener used to create a simple lever. The children will learn about different types of movement and be able to explain that levers move in a curve and sliders move in a straight line. This will be extended in Year 3 where the range of movement will be explored.

During the summer term the children will continue develop their knowledge of seasonal foods, building upon experiences of winter vegetables in Foundation Stage. Links will be made to Geography and the children will find out about fruits that are grown on farms in Britain, during the summer. The children will expand their skills by learning how to use a juicer cut low resistance foods with a table knife and use a fork to secure the item they are cutting.

Year 2

In year 2 the children will broaden their year 1 knowledge of mechanisms by learning about wheels and axels.  This will link to their in-depth study in History. The children will be given a design brief and asked to design and make a fire engine. Moving on from using Duplo and Lego freely in FS, the children will now build with a purpose in mind. Initially using a construction kit to explore ideas, they will learn new skills, using a junior hacksaw and bench hook, after being shown how to do so safely. Finishing techniques, such as using sand paper to  smooth rough edges, will be introduced and the children will be encouraged to test their model, checking to see if it works as planned, explaining how it can be fixed if not. This simple evaluation of their product will be built on and developed as the children progress throughout the school.

Textiles will be explored in the second term of year 2. Using their ICT skills and knowledge from year 1, the children will begin their journey of computer aided design. They will use a Paint programme to design their product. The idea of a 3D textile product being assembled from two identical fabric shapes will be introduced. The children will be able to practise, explore and evaluate different joining techniques before deciding and explaining the best one to use for their design. Building upon the use of templates in year 1 mechanisms, skills will be transferred to creating a template for marking out and measuring on a piece of fabric. Large eyed needles will be used, as a step up from simple threading laces in FS and the children will experience using a running stitch.  Materials will be selected using functional properties and aesthetic qualities, building upon and deepening the year 1 science knowledge of the properties of everyday materials.

In science, during the spring term, the children look at the importance of staying healthy and different types of food. Cross curricular links will be made and prior learning revisited within design technology in the summer term as the year 2 children complete a food and nutrition project.  The children will begin to explain and understand the need for safety and hygiene; hand washing and putting on an apron will be done with increasing independence. Cutting skills will be built upon as the low resistance foods will now be cut in to equal size pieces or slices, extending from rough shapes in year 1. The introduction to using a swivel peeler expands the children’s cooking skills; this will be done with adult support. Other skills which will be introduced to the children during this term include; grating soft foods, snipping using kitchen scissors, whisking foods using a fork and mixing/stirring to combine ingredients. Taking in to account the development of maths, the ingredients that are used will now begin to be measured a little more accurately. Different sized measuring spoons will be used and fractions referred to such as half and quarter. The children will begin to explore food originating from different parts of the world and links can be made with the geography unit in which Christopher Columbus and the Americas are studied.



Year 3

The year begins with the children taking part in the Harvest Festival alongside the year 5’s. Members of the local community are invited in to school and will be treated to baking that has been carried out and produced as an expansion of skills and knowledge which began in the Foundation stage. Research will be carried out about key events or individuals which have relevant links to the cooking and nutrition unit of work. Instructions will begin to be followed more independently than in key stage 1 and the health and safety rules and procedures will be developed; this will include looking at the correct storage of food. The use of digital scales will be introduced, with support to obtain accuracy and the children will be expected to read these with an understanding of grams as a unit of weight. Cutters will be used with an expectation that good use of materials will be applied and waste avoided. The children will also be required to shape and mold to create visually appealing products.

During the spring term, year 2 will carry out a unit focusing on ‘shell structures’. The children will look at designs of packaging and explore and evaluate current products. During this time, the children will be introduced to the skills and techniques of scoring, cutting out and assembling pre-drawn nets. The children will then experiment with and create their own nets, using a ruler to measure to the nearest cm, half cm or mm. Mathematical understanding will be developed and applied with 3D shapes informing the designing and making processes. Tabs will be discussed and the understanding of the purpose of these explained. The practise using scissors, that the children have had throughout their school journey, will be needed to ensure that cutting is carried out with good accuracy. Drawing upon the experience and knowledge about structures in year 1, the children will use techniques such as folding and shaping, corrugating, ribbing or laminating to strengthen and stiffen their shell structure, which could take the form of packaging for food. Computer aided design can be used to design a net, text and add graphics to their products according to purpose.

To finish the year, mechanical systems will be studied, expanding what has been studied in the mechanisms work in previous years. In year 1 the children will have explored levers and sliders, where they were introduced to cutting slots for sliders and using paper fasteners as pivots. In year 3, realistic ideas will be generated alongside the use of annotated sketches and prototypes as they look at fixed and loose pivots, creating guides and developing finishing techniques. The knowledge of different types of movement will be deepened, thinking about how the mechanism can be adapted to suit the required movement for a moving picture. This shows the next step of progression and gives foundations to the year 5 work involving the use of cams.

Year 4

Children will apply their growing understanding of cooking and nutrition as they begin in year 4 at Marlborough. Whilst carrying out an in-depth study on Greece in their History and Geography lessons, the pupils could be given the opportunity to explore Greek cooking. Instructions will be now carried out independently as children join and combine a range of ingredients to produce a predominantly savoury dish. New skills will include using a garlic press and whisking food using a hand whisk. A swivel peeler will be used with supervision and firmer foods such as carrots or apples will be grated. The children will progress to using a vegetable knife with medium resistance foods being cut, using a either a fork or the claw grip to secure the food or cutting partly prepared foods using a bridge hold. A measuring jug will be used to with support to obtain accuracy with the scale of ml’s being used. The use of food date marks; use by and best before dates will be introduced building upon the safe storage of food learnt in year 3. Understanding of the seasonality of vegetables and fruit will be deepened from fs and year 1 and the children will also look at foods which are reared and caught in the UK, Europe and wider world. The impact of a budget on the selection of ingredients will draw upon mathematical knowledge of money.

During the spring term electricity will be studied in science. Cross curricular links will be made in DT, where the children will be asked to research key events or individuals relevant to electricity. The children will investigate and analyse similar products to the one that they will be making and use this as a starting point for their design. The children will learn to connect simple electrical components in a series circuit and program an interface to enhance the way the product works. Electrical systems such as switches, bulbs and buzzers may be used to create a product which will solve a design problem and the children will be required to gather information about the needs and wants of the intended users.

The final project for the year 4 children will be textiles. This will look at using a single fabric shape to create a 3D textile product, expanding year 2 knowledge that two identical shapes can also be used. The preparation of pattern pieces as templates will be used and ideas modelled with some accuracy. As fine motor skills will now be more developed, the use of a small eyed needle will come in to place. With support, where needed, the children will develop the ability to start and end stitching with back stitch being introduced alongside running stitch. Fastenings will be explored and recreated, with details and decorations now being stitched on to the product, rather than glued in key stage 1. Pupils will be asked to draw upon their increasing scientific knowledge to select suitable materials according to aesthetic qualities and functional properties. The use of joining techniques will be developed with the advantages and disadvantages discussed before decisions being made as to which to use. The safe use of needles, pins and scissors will be expected, with children knowing that on-going work can be stored in re-sealable bags.

Year 5

Joining in with the year 3 children to welcome members of the community to our Harvest festival, the y5’s expand and develop their baking techniques and skills. Modifications can be made to recipes with flavours, colours, shapes and toppings being adapted to meet the needs and wants of the intended users. Full understanding will now be embedded as to the health and safety requirements when cooking. Both digital and analogue scales can now be used with an expectation that this is done both accurately and independently. The use of a measuring jug will also be carried out independently, with grating being carried out using the zesting tool with light adult supervision. The rubbing technique will be introduced and the children will be shown how to gauge the quantities spooned to ensure an equal amount of ingredients are placed in to each container. Knowledge and understanding of the importance of preparing, cooking and storing food so it is safe to eat will be deepened and the children will be able to explain that a healthy diet is made up from a variety and balance of different foods and drinks, as depicted in the Eatwell Plate guide.

The strengthening and reinforcement of structures in years 1 and 3 will be built upon during the spring term. Year 5 will research a key event or individual and explore free standing structures within the UK and wider world. They will explore the idea of a 3D framework and experiment with various techniques for joining different types of materials together, with attention being paid to aesthetics. 2D to 3D frameworks will be developed with prior year 3 knowledge becoming a source to draw upon. Throughout the different units of work and projects that have been carried out during the children’s time at Marlborough, a variety of tools and equipment will have been used to mark out, measure, cut, shape and join materials. All these skills can now be used to accurately make 3D frameworks. After an introduction to using junior hacksaws and bench hooks in year 2, the children in year 5 will revisit this learning. Wood will be cut with straight ends to create parts and used alongside the children’s knowledge of free standing structures to help them build. An evaluation of the finished product will allow the children to look at their own structure and explain how it could be made more stable, how it stands up, how it could be made stronger, where the weak points are and how they could be reinforced.

After being reintroduced to the use of junior hacksaws during the spring term, the children in year 5 will become more confident and skilled when they complete their project in mechanisms and mechanical systems during the summer. The knowledge gained from previous learning about different types of movement, will be extended and deepened further. Bringing all these experiences together, cams will be explored and used to create a product. The children will learn that the different type or shape of the cam can affect the movement and will decide which is most appropriate for their product. Dowel wood will be accurately cut and used to create axles/shafts. In addition, wheels will have an off centre hole drilled using a hand drill. Knowledge gained from studying structures will allow children to know that the corners of frameworks can be strengthened using triangular card. The safety rules when using scissors, hack saw, drill and bench hook will now be fully embedded.

Year 6

Research will be carried out this term relating to a relevant individual or key event within the textile industry. Computer aided design will be used to print out and create mock-up parts of their design or pattern during this textile unit of work. Progressing from using two identical pieces of material, a combination of fabric shapes will now be used to create a 3D textile product. More detail will go in to the making of pattern pieces and the children will be expected to use materials economically to reduce wastage. Building upon the running stitch and back stitch taught in Year 2 and 4, the children will also explore whip stitch and blanket stitch, selecting the most appropriate for their product and explaining the reasons why. Other skills include; measuring and marking both sewing and a cutting line, leaving a seam allowance, sewing on buttons and making loops and using applique to add decorations to their products.

Progression in cooking and nutrition will have been made each year throughout the children’s journey at Marlborough. By the time they reach year 6, simple recipes will be followed independently. The wide range of vocabulary that the children have been exposed to will allow them now  to describe products using their sensory characteristics. The skills that have been previously gained can now be used to give the children opportunity to take more ownership over their recipes. The children will be encouraged to constantly evaluate their product as teach stage and make modifications taking into account the properties of the ingredients and sensory characteristics. A swivel peeler can be used to create food ribbons and higher resistance foods cut with a vegetable knife, using the claw grip or from whole using the bridge hold. The understanding and prevention of cross contamination, food spillage and food decay will be fully embedded as will the safety rules for using the equipment and heat sources. The children will look at the temperature and units of time when cooking and will evaluate current products in terms of appearance, flavour, texture and cost. Fair trade will be explored and the children will gain an understanding what this means for the consumer and the farmer.

The year will be finished with the children revisiting electricity in their science lessons. Here cross curricular links can be made with prior learning in ICT. The children will be exploring the use of input devices such as a toggle switch, push to make switch, micro-switch, reed switch or sensor. They will create a sequence of instructions to control and monitor the electrical products that they have designed and made. Drawing upon ICT knowledge, the children will program a computer to monitor changes in the environment whilst controlling their products. It may be possible to bring an outside company in to school to deliver this unit.