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Design and Technology

Curriculum

This is an exciting time for the DT department as we are now a compulsory GCSE subject. Furthermore the recent new investments have opened up fresh possibilities and the potential to take teaching, learning and progress to a higher level within our department which already produces consistently strong results for our students.

Our dedicated and hardworking team believe that Design and Technology provides students with many valuable assets for their wider education. Students are actively engaged in the complete design process where they investigate design contexts, record findings, generate and explore design ideas, model and develop concepts, plan and make high quality prototype products then evaluate their success and potential for commercial production. This develops and embeds a wide range of educational skills, enabling students to express themselves creatively and to ‘think outside the box’ when faced with unforeseen challenges.

The creation of products from concept idea to finish is an extremely rewarding process which develops a sense of pride and ownership in their work. We have challenged ourselves to develop a curriculum that is robust, innovative and makes use of the industry standard technology available at Thorns to inspire the next generation of skilled confident creative individuals, and in the process create great memories and opportunities for future careers or further education.

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In Year 7 Design and Technology we introduce students to this challenging, creative and fun subject which enables students to explore and combine subject knowledge to design and make products of a high quality using both traditional and modern manufacturing techniques. Students are introduced to the ‘Bigger Picture’ the 5 core subject knowledge areas via a range of activities and skills development tasks to produce a ‘Themed Clock’, ‘Headphone Wrap’ and ‘Monster Cushion’ through schemes which cover problem solving activities, the generation and exploration of ideas, modelling and development of concepts, computer generated design and manufacture in addition to evaluating and testing in a variety of materials which include wood, plastics and textiles. The aim of the Key stage 3 curriculum is to build a strong foundation and prepare our students for the demanding GCSE course which is a compulsory part of our KS4 curriculum.

Focus days form an integral part of the DT curriculum in Year 7 students will produce an Air Powered Car – For this day long scheme of work. Students are given the challenge to design, model and race an air powered model car using card and balloons. Students have the opportunity to create various design iterations in order to explore the basic principles of motion and forces. Students will produce a research sheet with key focus on Design and technology and our world and Mechanical Components and Devices.

In Year 8 Design and Technology students continue their development exploring and combining subject knowledge to design and make a ‘USB Lighting Device’ and a ‘Steampunk Themed Pencil Case’ using both traditional and modern manufacturing techniques. Students continue studying the ‘bigger picture’ via the 5 core subject knowledge areas to carry out a range of activities and skills development tasks which include problem solving activities, the generation and exploration of ideas, modelling and development of concepts, computer generated design and manufacture in addition to evaluating and testing in a variety of materials which include wood, metals, plastics and textiles. The aim of the Key stage 3 curriculum is to build a strong foundation and prepare our students for the demanding GCSE course which is a compulsory part of our KS4 curriculum.

Focus days form an integral part of the DT curriculum in Year 8 students will produce a motorised Speed Boat – For this day long scheme of work. Students are given the challenge to design, model and race a foam boat powered using a simple circuit. Students have the opportunity to create various design iterations in order to explore the basic principles of hydrodynamics and forces. Students will produce a research sheet with the key focus on Electronic Systems and Programmable Components and Mechanical Components and Devices.

In Year 9 Design and Technology students cover a wide range of projects to embed the skills covered in Y7 and 8. In these engaging challenging, and creative projects students are introduced to Electronic systems and programmable components – programming algorithms, Passive Amplifier Project, Textiles – mood lighting, Pop – up Card, Tabletop game – focusing on mechanisms. During these projects students cover a range of activities and skills development tasks which include problem solving activities, the generation and exploration of ideas, modelling and development of concepts, computer generated 3d modelling in addition to evaluating and testing. The aim of the Key stage 3 curriculum is to build a strong foundation and prepare our students for the demanding GCSE course which is a compulsory part of our KS4 curriculum.

Focus days form an integral part of the DT curriculum in Year 9 students will produce a motorised Speed Boat – For this day long scheme of work. Students are given the challenge to design, model and race a foam boat powered using a simple circuit. Students have the opportunity to create various design iterations in order to explore the basic principles of hydrodynamics and forces. Students will produce a research sheet with the key focus on Electronic Systems and Programmable Components and Mechanical Components and Devi

In Year 10 +11 Design and Technology we embed and further develop the core skills covered in KS3. We prepare students for the coursework component of the course. The course is divided into 2 components both worth 50% of the final GCSE grade. The first being a coursework folder where students are actively engaged in the complete design process where they investigate design contexts, record findings, generate and explore design ideas, model and develop concepts, plan and make high quality prototype products then evaluate their success and potential for commercial production. The second part of the course comprises of a 2-hour subject knowledge exam worth 50%.

Focus days form an integral part of the DT curriculum at KS4 students are given the opportunity to engage in a variety of skills based workshops which include aspects such as 3d sketching and design techniques, prototype modelling, 3D CAD skills development exercises and coursework progression. During these sessions activities that are not always achievable during a single lesson slot are made more accessible.

Mr B McFarlane

Head of Department

I studied for a Product Design degree at the University of Coventry and later completed a PGCE post graduate degree at the University of Wolverhampton. My background as a Product Designer has been the driving force behind my passion for teaching Design and Technology. During my time working in industry, I worked at Speedo International in the product design department, working on a range of products including several of my own concepts. During my degree show exhibition, I was approached by the Vienna based company KKG Katamaran Konstruktions, who specialised in the design and construction of luxury catamarans, and was invited to work for them as a product designer. I am extremely proud of my achievements, most notably having one of my concepts developed, manufactured, and sold globally by the internationally recognised sports brand Mitre Sports. I have worked at Thorns for 13 years, leading the DT department since October 2017.