DT Network

South Tyneside DT Coordinators Network meetings
Chuter Ede Centre

Presenter: Tom Mulholland



0790 6402 704

Please e-mail if you would like to receive any updates on ideas for classroom activities etc.

Make sure to include details of year group(s) involved.



The session in brief

A range of activities covering Reception to Year 6 involving simple materials and an increasing range of practical skills, knowledge and understanding. Links to other curriculum areas. Quality in a DT product.

Materials: Paper, card, paper fasteners, coloured gel, foam, wooden dowels, elastic bands, straws, plastic tubing, tape, prit glue.

Tools: Scissors, thick (12mm or ½ inch) dowel mandrels or thick pens/pencils, cd’s as templates, rulers, pencils, hole punches.

Skills and processes: Measuring, marking, holding, cutting, scoring, folding, symmetrical folding and cutting, punching, joining, smoothing/finishing,


Reception Flying fish, spinners, helicopters.  Paper, card

Year 1 Chinese dragons.   Paper, card, straws

Year 2 Wind and weather instruments.  Card, straws, dowels

Year 3 Games with spinner dice.   Card, dowels, tubing

Year 4 Shadow theatres.   Card, tracing paper, coloured gel

Year 5 Moving scenes involving levers.  Card, paper fasteners

Year 6 Anderson shelters and WWII scenes. Card, straws, dowels,

Additional demo’s: Foam slippers; Vehicles; Cams.


Many thanks to staff for taking part and suggesting ideas for further work. The idea was to get through as many short activities as possible using simple materials in the time available and use these as the basis of project development in your own school situation. The year 5 moving scenes involving levers is to be taken further at the next session as part of the ‘Cams project’. We didn’t have time to try the Anderson shelters although simple techniques using card eg. folding a box shapes etc. was covered. Foam samples for ‘slippers’ were handed out and this may be taken further on another occasion. Example models of the above will be on display at our next meeting.

Areas to cover in future sessions. Suggestions from staff:

Assessment in DT and more project ideas KS1 and KS2 including Cams.


Useful information:

Suppliers of materials in addition to YPO and the common school suppliers

Rapid electronics www.rapidelectronics.co.uk

Mindsets online www.mindsetsonline.co.uk

Tom Mulholland www.technologytom.com




The session in brief

Assessment in DT using the KS1 ‘Winding up’ project and KS2 ‘Cam toys’ project as case studies. Staff to design and make a wind up a scene or artifact involving a winding mechanism and design and make a scene or artifact involving a cam and follower mechanism. Develop an assessment scheme for the projects which allows the assignment of a national curriculum level.

Winding up project

Materials required: Modeling foam structure, wooden dowels, string, card, tape/glue, paper fasteners.

Tools required: Sandpaper, pencil sharpener, pointed dowel drill, scissors.


Cams project

Materials required: Modeling foam structure, wooden dowels, paper roll tubes, plastic or wooden cams, card.

Tools required: Sandpaper, pencil sharpener, pointed dowel drill, wooden dowel ‘mandrel’ for paper tubes, paper punch (hand-drills, junior hacksaw, workbench etc. can be used if available).

National Curriculum level descriptions

Level 1. Pupils generate ideas and recognise characteristics of familiar products. Their plans show that, with help, they can put their ideas into practice. They use pictures and words to describe what they want to do. They explain what they are making and which tools they are using. They use tools and materials with help, where needed. They talk about their own and other people's work in simple terms and describe how a product works.

Level 2. Pupils generate ideas and plan what to do next, based on their experience of working with materials and components. They use models, pictures and words to describe their designs. They select appropriate tools, techniques and materials, explaining their choices. They use tools and assemble, join and combine materials and components in a variety of ways. They recognise what they have done well as their work progresses, and suggest things they could do better in the future.

Level 3. Pupils generate ideas and recognise that their designs have to meet a range of different needs. They make realistic plans for achieving their aims. They clarify ideas when asked and use words, labelled sketches and models to communicate the details of their designs. They think ahead about the order of their work, choosing appropriate tools, equipment, materials, components and techniques. They use tools and equipment with some accuracy to cut and shape materials and to put together components. They identify where evaluation of the design and make process and their products has led to improvements.

Level 4. Pupils generate ideas by collecting and using information. They take users' views into account and produce step-by-step plans. They communicate alternative ideas using words, labelled sketches and models, showing that they are aware of constraints. They work with a variety of materials and components with some accuracy, paying attention to quality of finish and to function. They select and work with a range of tools and equipment. They reflect on their designs as they develop, bearing in mind the way the product will be used. They identify what is working well and what could be improved.

Level 5. Pupils draw on and use various sources of information. They clarify their ideas through discussion, drawing and modelling. They use their understanding of the characteristics of familiar products when developing and communicating their own ideas. They work from their own detailed plans, modifying them where appropriate. They work with a range of tools, materials, equipment, components and processes with some precision. They check their work as it develops and modify their approach in the light of progress. They test and evaluate their products, showing that they understand the situations in which their designs will have to function and are aware of resources as a constraint. They evaluate their products and their use of information sources.


5-2-12 002a

Year 1

‘Winding up toy’ dragon

The Sele First School

Year 5 ‘Cam Toy’ Design Ideas, Lambton Primary School, Washington.

Lambton cams A
Lambton cams 001 A

Various cam toys
‘eclipse’ and ‘waving arms pop fan’

10-2-11 005a

Promotional advert or toy ‘eco rangers superhero’

15-5-09 074a


  1. DT Coordinator’s file
  2. Example ‘project rotation’ system
  3. Structures practical activity
  4. Vehicles practical activity

DT Coordinator’s file


  • DT policy document (mission statement)
  • Outline work-scheme covering all year groups
  • Individual work-schemes for each year group
  • NC Levels mapped to each project
  • Assessment examples from each year group including photographs of products.
  • General policy documents linked to the main school development plan where applicable: Health and Safety, ICT, Cross curricular links, Displays etc.

Example ‘project rotation’ system for discussion


School x

Four year groups: F, R, Y1, Y2.

Three projects: Playground structures, Winding up, Vehicles.

2010         Playground structures

2011         Winding up

2012         Vehicles

2013         Playground structures

Structures practical activity

  • Straws and pipe-cleaners
  • corriflute strips and elastic bands
  • Paper roll tubes and wooden dowels
  • Other ?

Focus on playground structures, bridges, shelters and buildings.

Explore the possibilities and link to a year group bearing in mind level of skills required to make a satisfactory product.

Vehicles practical activity


  • Card chassis
  • Paper roll tube chassis
  • Plastic foam chassis


Make a Land yacht using any or all of the above chassis as the starting points.

Develop the project and bring in further challenges to suit your class or a chosen age group.



  1. Update on National Guidelines
  2. Materials
  3. Bird feeders
  4. Habitats and shelters
  5. Suggestions for future meetings

National Guidelines: Design and Technology

The Statutory Framework for the Early years Foundation Stage 2012 comes into effect from 1st Sept. 2012

D and T offers a wide range of experiences which span the ‘seven areas of learning’ (TM)

The seven areas are:
Communication and Language
Physical development
Personal, social and emotional development
Understanding the world
Expressive arts and design
(specifically D and T)


DATA sees this as a big endorsement of the value of Design and Technology in the curriculum since D&T is mentioned by name in the framework document.
See DATA (Design and Technology Association) website.

This reminds us that there is a bigger picture (ie. the whole curriculum) and that we should try to exploit opportunities for all sorts of learning experiences through D&T.


No change for ks1 and ks2 until 2014 but can we assume there will be a smooth follow on from the EYFS framework - perhaps even more direct references to D&T?


Materials is a very important topic in both Science and D&T and there is much useful overlap in some cases..

In SCIENCE we investigate the properties of materials and classify them. Our senses eg. touch, can be used in our initial investigations. We develop experiments to find out more about them and to establish relationships.

eg. Which materials are strong. Which materials are conductors of heat or electricity. Which material is best for soaking up water? Which is the best fabric for making cycling shorts?

The cycling shorts investigation might result in a useful D&T decision about a product and what it should be made from. We still have to consider how to join the materials eg. is stitching together suitable?

The common materials groups are....?

The characteristics of the materials in theses groups are....?

In D&T we are interested in choosing the most appropriate material for a particular job eg. part of a product. We are also interested in choosing the correct method of ‘working’ the material and joining it to other parts in a product.

  1. Investigate the materials samples.
  2. List the activities you could initiate with these materials and say what the children might learn as a result.
  3. Can any of the activities help with ‘the seven areas’ from EYFS?
  4. Share ideas (TM to document and make available to all).
  5. Which ideas could we develop into useable classroom activities?

Don’t forget... what’s in the box?.....what’s in the containers?

Two seasonal projects involving working outdoors

Bird feeders


Basic kit of parts provided based upon a wooden block with       pre-drilled holes.

Develop the project to suit a particular age group.

Share ideas.


Habitats and insect shelters

Simple methods of making shelters to allow the study of insects.

Share ideas.


  1. ‘Pirates’ and other complete projects
  2. ‘TOOBZ’ structures and mechanisms
  3. Projects involving light and colour
  4. Suggestions for future meetings

Pirates and other complete projects

The aim is to completely document at least two projects for the group in preparation for the final meeting on Tues 11th June.

They are to act as examples for other projects and should have a structure which is easy to follow and reproduce.

Alternatives should be included where possible to allow different materials to be used in construction of practical products.

Information should be included which will allow the projects to be adapted to suit different age groups.

An example assessment framework will be included.

Pirates project brainstorm - thank you to all group members who contributed.
Here is the completed brainstorm

pirates brainstorm 1

Practical activity - making a simple boat from plastic foam

Is the foam block easy to shape using only scissors?

What age group could do this?

How can the basic hull shape be decorated to look like a real pirate ship? - black sheet foam and paper pins available.

We would have to consider testing the ship - floating, carrying a load, balance, adding a sail.

A section of plastic guttering about 1metre long would be ideal for sail testing. The wind could be provided by a desk fan (safety consideration relating to electricity!).

Plasticine could be used to great effect for creating various hull shapes and load testing with treasure - 1p or 2p coins to represent treasure. It would also help illustrate balance.

Making a floating model pirate ship

pirate ship (1)a


wooden dowel mast

foam block 6x18x1cm

paper fasteners

card for sail

neoprene foam sheet strips

pirate ship (2)a pirate ship (3)a

The plastic foam block can be shaped using scissors - best to try a test run with some material first to check age group able to do this.

If unable to cut the block then leave as rectangle.

Use two strips of foam to create sides and pin in place (20mm pins)

Partly sharpen ends of dowel in pencil sharpener and push/twist dowel into block.

Punch holes or make scissor cuts in card to accept mast.

The ship can be tested for buoyancy and coins can be added to investigate balance and how much weight it can carry before water starts coming in. The ship can be blown along by a fan or by blowing through a straw.

Projects involving light and colour

Using card and laminated coloured gels to produce a variety of products which may form part of a product or can be developed into a complete project.

gel expts 001a02 gel expts 006a02

Coloured gels can be made much easier to use by passing them through a laminator first!
This strengthens the gel and makes it easier to hold, cut and stick. It also seems to enhance the colour!

Don’t make the mistake of making flat pictures on a card background! They might look nice but the full effect of the gel is only apparent when light passes through it as in a stained glass window.

The best effect is when the gel is used together with opaque materials such as card to create a combination of light and shadow.

The images can be projected onto a white screen or light wall or even onto a tracing paper screen to be viewed from the other side - this is my favourite!


29-10-10 079a

Making a shadow puppet theatre and putting on a play is a great way to learn about Transparent, Translucent and Opaque materials! - see further info and video clip on the
D and T’ -  ‘torches page

‘TOOBZ’ structures and mechanisms

Using ‘toobz’ machines to produce structures and mechanisms in plastic straws.

What else can this method of processing straws be used for?


Pirates project.

  • Further development of practical activities and documentation
  • See ‘Pirates page’


Suggestions for next year (3 meetings).


Concluding the pirates project

Board games

Treasure map

Materials related to ships and pirates

Classroom coordinates maths game/treasure hunt

Magnetic compass science link

Flotation and balance - milk carton ship

Raising treasure from sea bed - sinking and floating

Novelty card lever models - pirate and sword etc



Suggestions for next meeting


Electricity projects

  • Making a demonstration circuit board for the classroom eg. for a wall, table display or visual aid.
  • Links with science.
  • ‘Prototyping’ or testing the design of an electrical product eg. the switch in an alarm system.


Chinese dragons

3 types of dragon model which allow the study of motion and mechanisms


Suggestions for last meeting of the year


Early Years Foundation Stage - the starting point for D and T

  • Extracts from the new National Curriculum documents for EYFS
  • The starting point for an audit of DT in your school?
  • Sound - making musical instruments


Finishing off the ‘demonstration electricity circuit board’ started at the previous meeting


Cams project - a simple way to make cams.


New Technology:

The Raspberry Pi computer - what is it and what are the possibilities for using it in D and T?



Topics for next school year?


The new national curriculum for D and T

Has D&T changed in any way?

What are the implications in your school?

Have you made any changes?

NC documents and support info from DATA

Assessment. Torch project example.

Importance of D&T in the curriculum.

What is Design and Technology?


The six principles which characterize
Design and Technology


Design and make real, believable and meaningful products


From an open ended starting point encourage original thinking


Design to meet the needs of the end user

The features of genuine D&T


Communicate the purpose of the product being designed


Ensure that the product meets the needs of the user

Design decisions

Demonstrate creative, technical and practical expertise and draw on knowledge from other subject areas

An ‘old way’ to describe what we mean by
Design and Technology

Design skills


Making skills

Problem solving

Identifying a problem

Generate ideas or solutions

Communicating design ideas

Communicating plans for
making the product

Making the product

Evaluation of process
and product


Programmes of study

Early Years Foundation Stage

The starting point for Design and Technology


The specific areas


Reading: children read and understand simple sentences. They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.

Writing: children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They also write some irregular common words. They write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others. Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.


Numbers: children count reliably with numbers from 1 to 20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number. Using quantities and objects, they add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer. They solve problems, including doubling, halving and sharing.

Shape, space and measures: children use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money to compare quantities and objects and to solve problems. They recognize, create and describe patterns.



children recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools. They select and use technology for particular purposes.


KS1: When designing and making, pupils should be taught to:


 Design purposeful, functional, appealing products for themselves and other users based on design criteria

 Generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas through talking, drawing, templates, mock-ups and, where appropriate, information and communication technology


 Select from and use a range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks [for example, cutting, shaping, joining and finishing]

 Select from and use a wide range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their characteristics


 Explore and evaluate a range of existing products

 Evaluate their ideas and products against design criteria

Technical knowledge

 Build structures, exploring how they can be made stronger, stiffer and more stable

 Explore and use mechanisms [for example, levers, sliders, wheels and axles], in their products.


Through a variety of creative and practical activities, pupils should be taught the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to engage in an iterative process of designing and making.

They should work in a range of relevant contexts [for example, the home, school, leisure, culture, enterprise, industry and the wider environment].

When designing and making, pupils should be taught to:


 use research and develop design criteria to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that are fit for purpose, aimed at particular individuals or groups

 generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas through discussion, annotated sketches, cross-sectional and exploded diagrams, prototypes, pattern pieces and computer-aided design


 select from and use a wider range of tools and equipment to performpractical tasks [for example, cutting, shaping, joining and finishing], accurately

 select from and use a wider range of materials and components,including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their functional properties and aesthetic qualities


 investigate and analyse a range of existing products

 evaluate their ideas and products against their own design criteria and consider the views of others to improve their work

 understand how key events and individuals in design and technology have helped shape the world

Technical knowledge

 apply their understanding of how to strengthen, stiffen and reinforce more complex structures

 understand and use mechanical systems in their products [for example, gears, pulleys, cams, levers and linkages]

 understand and use electrical systems in their products [for example, series circuits incorporating switches, bulbs, buzzers and motors]

 apply their understanding of computing to program, monitor and control their products.

Problem Solving Challenges

Problem solving is at the heart of Design and Technology.

We can deliver this through

  • Complete projects where there is an end product
  • Shorter tasks - ‘design a....’, ‘make a ........’
  • Shorter group activities - ‘team problem solving challenges’

Team problem solving challenges are usually short, competitive activities of a practical nature which encourage children to work as a team, generate ideas and communicate them to the group, plan what to do next, try things out and evaluate, repeat a task to improve a process and the final quality of the solution.

They are a lot of fun and can use the simplest materials and equipment.

Every child can become fully involved and learn a lot from the group.

These challenges are not just D&T activities. They contribute to personal development and whole school aims.


  1. Paper cylinder tower
  2. Castle siege
  3. Marble drop time machine
  4. Move the dangerous material
  5. Keys and locks jumble
  6. Crash test dummy
  7. Rocket rescue
  8. Control the robot remotely
  9. Sending messages

Formative Assessment – Initial Guidance

Design and Technology Association


DfE’s website states:

‘As part of our reforms to the national curriculum, the current system of ‘levels’ and level descriptions used to report children’s attainment and progress will be removed. It will not be replaced. Schools will be able to introduce their own approaches to formative assessment, to support pupil attainment and progression.’

Perhaps the single most frequently asked question in relation to the new National Curriculum, particularly by secondary schools, is how should we assess pupils’ work now the levels have gone? The aim of this initial guidance is to set out some principles to guide the development of formative, ongoing assessment systems in primary and secondary schools.

Developing a formative assessment system

According to the DfE schools are now able to focus their teacher assessment and reporting in D&T, not on a set of opaque level descriptions but on the essential knowledge, understanding and skills that all pupils should learn. It means that teachers have the freedom to develop a curriculum with challenging and relevant content, against which it is not possible to impose a centrally prescribed assessment system. How schools develop and teach a curriculum which is relevant to their pupils and how they track the progress they make against it, is for them to decide.

The D&T Association is positive about this change in approach and would advise schools to consider the following points when developing school-based assessment systems:

Teachers need to consider more broadly what the pupil actually knows, understands and can do, rather than focus on a numerical level. The new programmes of study set out what pupils should be taught by the end of each key stage.

• An assessment system should be built into the school curriculum, so that schools can check what pupils have learnt and whether they are on track to meet National Curriculum expectations at the end of the key stage.

• During school inspections, if Ofsted gather and evaluate evidence about pupils’ progress in D&T, this will be informed by the school’s chosen pupil tracking data.

• To promote consistency, groups of schools may choose to use a common approach to formative assessment, for example across a local area, academy chain or federation.

Guiding principles

The D&T Association recommends that schools use the following principles, which are consistent with the Government’s initial thinking. A formative assessment system should help schools to:

• set out steps so that pupils reach or exceed the end of key stage expectations

• judge whether pupils are on track to meet end of key stage expectations

• pinpoint aspects of the curriculum where pupils are falling behind and recognise exceptional performance

• support planning and teaching for all pupils

report to parents and, where pupils move to other schools, provide clear information about each pupil’s strengths, weaknesses and progress

Schools may find the Progression Framework developed by the D&T Association and National Curriculum Expert Group helpful when developing formative assessment systems. This is freely available from the data website.

Tues 24-2-2015

Developing a Design and Technology project including an assessment scheme.

Which year group?

What skills, knowledge and understanding might be involved?

What skills etc. are being built on from previous projects?

Will the product solve a problem, have a user and perform a real function?

Is the project going to follow the complete ‘design process’?

Are any subject links possible/beneficial?

What resources are available/budget?

Will the project ‘enthuse’ the children?


Desk tidy project


A desk is a ‘work area’ whether in a school, home, shop or business. If we are going to work efficiently at a desk then we must be organized. Materials, tools, stationery items etc. must not clutter up the space or the result could be wasted time looking for things and poor quality work. Our mess could spill over into a shared space and spoil the work of others!

Stimulus materials

Photographs taken of your own classroom desks during a lesson or of work benches in other places eg. a kitchen.

15-5-09 075a
x 330a

Investigating the ‘untidy desk’ situation

What is a messy desk?

Is a messy desk a real problem or should we just ‘get on with it’?

What problems can it cause?

Who makes the mess?

Which objects/items are involved?

Messy desk survey?

Identifying the problem to be solved

The problem I have identified is...

A messy desk can be difficult to work on because lots of the space is taken up by things just lying around and getting in the way. It can waste time trying to find things and sometimes pencils etc. fall on the floor and you don’t know where they are. If your desk is kept tidy you can get your work done more quickly.

We need a solution to the ‘untidy desk problem’.


1. List of items normally found on my desk and items shared with others on my table or in the class.

2. Ways people have found to tidy things and keep their workspace free of clutter.

3. Are there any ways or places to store things away when not being used?


Design criteria or specification

My Desk tidy must have these features:

  1. Must take up a small space on the desk (area or footprint...?)
  2. Must hold: 2pens; 2 pencils; rubber; pencil sharpener;....
  3. Must be easy to see the items.
  4. Must be stable on the desk and not fall over easily.
  5. Must be strong and stand up to every day us.
  6. Must be easy to pick up and move.
  7. Must be attractive to look at.
  8. must be easy to identify as mine.


Further Research

Materials available: Card; Plastic containers; Card tubes; Wooden base; Corriflute sheet plastic; Plastic laminate pockets;...

Other resources: ICT design software for nets, colours, textures, images; Plastic laminating machine; Glue various;.....


Chosen idea:





Define the skills, knowledge and understanding we would expect to come out from the ‘desk tidy project’.

Skills (designing and making)

Collecting research
Picking out relevant facts from research
Paper modeling
Being able to give reasons for choices eg. of ideas
Marking out an accurate shape on card ready to cut
Cutting out accurately
Using a glue gun safely
Using a ruler to measure in millimetres
Positioning and holding a material during gluing
Drawing clear labeled sketches with explanatory notes



Knowing how to create various shapes in ‘publisher’
Knowing how to create a shape of the correct size
Joining shapes to make a template or net
Printing out the net
Which type of glue is best for certain materials
Knowing the safety rules for using a glue gun


Which type of glue is best for certain materials
The shape of an object can affect strength
How 2D shapes can fit with one another
How 3d shapes can fit with one another
Research is important because...
The product has a user and we must consider this in our design
Paper modeling is very important prior to making something



Produce a list of short statements (‘can do or ‘has done’ list) which allow us to easily assess the performance of a pupil in this project.




phone_book_pencil_cup_multi_5[1] phone_book_pencil_cup_29-1024x1024[1]

Technical knowledge

Build structures, exploring how they can be made stronger, stiffer and more stable

apply their understanding of how to strengthen, stiffen and reinforce more complex structures

Toobz Machine Structures

A practical activity using toobz ‘plastic straw cutting and joining tool’ to make structures.

Tues 12-5-2015

Desk Tidy project

The ‘iterative design process’

Nets or developments (microsoft ‘publisher’)

Making a hardboard base - practical skills activity



‘Wind up’ mechanisms, moving toys and novelties

This project was developed as a response to the ‘Victorians’ and ‘moving toys’ topics.

Clockwork toys were very common in Victorian times although moving ‘automata’ were made a thousand years ago. The problem is the spring mechanism which needs to be wound up.

Can an elastic band replace a wind up clockwork mechanism?

What type of moving product can we make?

Strength of structures and how bridges work

The new NC documents for DT....

Technical knowledge

Build structures, exploring how they can be made stronger, stiffer and more stable

apply their understanding of how to strengthen, stiffen and reinforce more complex structures

beam bridge forces diag02
causey arch forces diag02
Vauuxhall bridge forces diag02
Albert Bridge Forces diag02

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