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What is taught in KS1 design and technology

Children doing crafts
Here’s your guide to the Key Stage 1 design and technology curriculum and how you can support your child's DT learning at home.

In design and technology (DT) lessons in KS1, children explore the following skills:

  • Evaluating current products and thinking about how they want to produce their own product.
  • Designing purposeful products for themselves, based on particular criteria.
  • Generating ideas through talking and drawing.
  • Selecting from a range of tools, equipment and materials.
  • Building structures, thinking about how they can be made stronger and more stable.
  • Exploring mechanisms (levers, sliders, wheels).
  • Evaluating their finished product against the design criteria.

KS1 Design & Technology lesson examples

Here are some specific examples of what a DT exercise might involve:

  • Year 1 pupils design a fruit salad to encourage children to eat more fruit. Their design is based on fruit properties, appearance, taste, smell and texture.
  • Year 1 and 2 pupils use multimedia software to create a presentation to tell younger children about the people who help them get to school. Working in teams, they are each given a specific responsibility in creating the presentation.
  • Year 2 pupils investigate how simple mechanisms can make moving pictures for use in storytelling activities. They then have a go at making their own simple levers and sliders.
  • Using a doll for a model, year 2 children design and make their own Joseph Coat of Many Colours. They explore single and repeat patterns on a variety of fabrics, and use computer-generated as well as paper patterns.

Help your child with DT projects at home

  • Your child can practise design skills by, for example, cutting out pictures from old magazines or cards, and folding and manipulating the paper to make moving pictures. Or they could use playdough or plasticine to model their ideas.
  • Create a ‘design box'. Recycle things like empty egg boxes, pipe cleaners, lolly-pop sticks, elastic bands, cotton reels, bits of card and plastic. Include masking tape, a hole punch and scissors. Your child can use these to create anything – miniature playground frames and swings, houses, furniture, or even alien beings!
  • Ask your child to look for examples of levers and sliders at home. Investigate how doors hang, flaps swing, drawers slide, buttons press and locks click. Encourage your child to be more aware of how things have been designed around the home for specific purposes and people.
  • Ask your child how he or she might go about creating a fruit or vegetable salad or smoothie that is designed to look and taste great. Talk about the type of ‘treatment' different fruit and vegetables require before they can be eaten, such as washing, cooking and peeling.
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