Design Technology at Portway Infant School
It is our intention that all children develop a love of Design Technology by giving them the opportunity to use their creativity and imagination, to design and make products. We want to encourage children to become independent, creative, problem solvers and thinkers, as individuals and as part of a team.
At Portway children are inspired to develop their design technology skills through a range of practical activities. Children are given opportunities to evaluate existing products and solve problems within a variety of contexts.
Cooking and nutrition forms part of our Design Technology curriculum. Children will learn where food comes from and the nutritional value of foods supporting their Science learning and linking in with their developing Geography skills. They also learn some food preparation techniques and health and safety in food preparation.
In the Early Years children explore a variety of construction kits and learn how to use tools in their making. Throughout the year our children develop a sense of purpose to what they are going to make and begin to share ideas on the best way to complete a task.
The children love to complete our ‘Construction Challenges’ including creating a fruit picking machine at harvest time, making a carriage for Cinderella to get to the ball or a suitable house for the three little pigs during our fairytales topic. When learning about London the children enjoy creating their own 3D version of some of the buildings along the River Thames spending lots of time thinking about the most suitable construction resources the changes they might need to make and evaluating their final products. In the Year R Curriculum the children are introduced to joining techniques such as split pins, staples, sellotape and different forms of gluing and sticking.
In Year 1 the children build upon the skills and techniques they have learnt in Year R. They explore existing products and make decisions about their own designs based upon what they have found out. The exploration of wheels and axles leads to the children designing and making their own car for Mrs Armitage. During our Castles and Dragons topic, looking at the properties of different materials helps the children to work together to create a holder for a dragon’s egg to keep it away from the icy ground.
By the time our children reach Year 2 they have become more proficient in using tools and have developed more confidence in exploring the design and made world around them. Through targeted questioning the children develop more technical language and are able to solve problems for example when working in groups to create a bridge structure that will hold a certain weight. Products are discussed as a design solution to problems such as how Mrs Grinling will get Mr Grinling's lunch to him in the lighthouse without walking up all the steps. As part of their learning about Roald Dahl books and characters, the children design and make glove puppets. They then use these to aid in telling stories to the Year R children.
We take our Design Technology learning outside into Forest School where the children are encouraged to explore the outside world. They see the structures of our bird tables, learn how to build fires and make dens as well as creating giant marble runs from guttering. Children are taught to use tools to create jewellery from natural objects and take part in leaf whopping with hammers as well as sharpening sticks (whittling) with potato peelers to make their own skewer for toasting marshmallows.
Many of these experiences with tools, construction and mechanisms prepares the children for future learning in the design technology world.