The Design and Technology curriculum at Hexham Middle School seeks to support flourishing pupils that have a real thirst for creativity. A learner within the Design and Technology department will have the opportunity to make their own design decisions, has an enquiring mind that is motivated to seek solutions to problems independently, and reflects on their progress through a systematic process of self and peer evaluation.
During Year 5, pupils are taught in their tutor groups for half an academic year in Design and Technology. At the start of Year 5 all pupils commence the process of transition with a baseline assessment to gauge coverage of the National Curriculum in the subject. Teacher assessment seeks to determine accurate starting points for each pupil and what their personal targets should be.
In Design and Technology, Year 5 pupils will start to develop their competency in using specialised tools, equipment and materials within the workshop. The key design and make project is called ‘The Colours of the Wind’ and aims to provide pupils with an opportunity to develop a greater awareness of the design process by realising an idea for a wind chime product suitable for a domestic setting. Pupils are encouraged to consider and adopt a variety of strategies and critical thinking approaches which prioritises creativity.
Pupils will also have the opportunity to complete an introductory focused practical task in computer programming.
Independent enquiry skills are introduced in Year 5 with pupils producing a primarily home based learning project focusing on a key individual within the field of Design and Technology whom has made an impact on the world. Pupils will be expected to digitally present their personal study and it will form part of teacher assessment, giving students the opportunity to refine their extended writing skills.
During Year 6, pupils study Design and Technology for the full academic year and develop the foundation of skills, knowledge and understanding acquired in Year 5. Initially during the Autumn term, pupils will focus on a structures-based project titled ‘Bridging the Divide’. Pupils are invited to take on the role of an architect or engineer and given the local geographical context of Hexham and its relationship with the River Tyne to develop a design for an alternative bridge creating a new river crossing. Pupils are encouraged to consider and embed their knowledge and understanding of the many cross-curriculum links this project has with Geography, Science, Mathematics, Art and Design, and History. Research and investigation skills, generating ideas and modelling will constitute a significant proportion of a pupil’s learning time as will developing an understanding of how one can strengthen, stiffen and reinforce materials to construct complex structures. Pupils will be expected to realise an individual response to the design situation but will be engaged in a group construction challenge to create a model of a new bridge.
During the Spring Term pupils will complete an electronics project making a Jitterbug toy. This project will allow pupils to learn about simple electronic circuits and components. Creativity is once again an integral part of this project and pupils will be invited to use a range of materials and specialised tools in the workshop to realise an individual 3D outcome. Pupils will have the opportunity to test, evaluate and refine their electronic toy throughout the project, reinforcing the necessity for ‘design iterations’. Pupils will be encouraged to test their 3D outcomes and gather the views of other intended users.
During the Summer Term, pupils will be engaged in an enterprise activity, where they will form part of a manufacturing team making simple products using resistant materials (timbers, metals and plastics). Pupils will compete against other teams in an enterprise fayre in Fellside Hall and will seek to make as much profit as possible. Pupils will develop an appreciation of manufacturing costs and optimum selling prices for products.
Year 6 pupils bolster their independent enquiring skills by investigating the history and development of a product that has transformed our world. Pupils will be encouraged to focus their efforts on products that have been introduced post the Industrial Revolution.
As pupils make the transition into Key Stage 3 there is an increasing expectation that they become familiar with the complex relationship between designing, making, evaluating and technical knowledge. Pupils will be given the opportunity to develop their confidence in using specialised tools, equipment and materials to make 3D outcomes that are functional, imaginative and ‘fit for purpose’. Adopting the principles of ‘Upcycling’, pupils will be encouraged to investigate how found materials can be transformed to make hybrid photoframe/clock. Pupils should be able to write their own design specification and develop creative solution that avoids stereotypical responses.
A short focused practical task will require pupils to make an electronic product (Fuse Tester). This activity will provide pupils with the opportunity to gain confidence in using specialised tools and electronic components.
Year 7 pupils will investigate how new and emerging technologies are influencing our society. Pupils will focus their studies on the growth of modern and smart materials. The outcome of this learning task will be a presentation board. Pupils will have to select and evaluate the relevance of their research,
In the final year at Hexham Middle School, pupils will design and make a mechanical toy (automata). This project will provide pupils with appropriate challenge to create an imaginative product, that has an educational dimension and is appropriate for a given target audience. Pupils will develop a growing awareness and deeper understanding of mechanical systems and mathematical modelling that can enable changes in movement. Assessment will focus on the quality finish of the final 3D outcome.
A short focused practical task will require pupils to develop a mock up for a new fragrance product and its packaging. Pupils will be expected to visually communicate their intended solution and prototype the packaging. Assessment will focus on the quality of the graphical design.
The final independent project that pupils will complete involves the investigation of Artificial Intelligence (A.I) and how this can be embedded within products. Pupils will be asked to consider how A.I will influence life in the future, and what are the responsibilities of designers, engineers and technologists?