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National Curriculum

Design and technology key stage 2

Statutory content

This content relates to the 1999 programmes of study and attainment targets.

See related downloads and key actions

Teaching should ensure that 'knowledge and understanding' are applied when 'developing ideas', 'planning', 'making products' and 'evaluating' them.

Explanatory text

During key stage 2 pupils work on their own and as part of a team on a range of designing and making activities. They think about what products are used for and the needs of the people who use them. They plan what has to be done and identify what works well and what could be improved in their own and other people's designs. They draw on knowledge and understanding from other areas of the curriculum and use computers in a range of ways.


The general teaching requirement for health and safety applies in this subject.

Knowledge, skills and understanding

Developing, planning and communicating ideas

1. Pupils should be taught to:

  1. generate ideas for products after thinking about who will use them and what they will be used for, using information from a number of sources, including ICT-based sources
  2. develop ideas and explain them clearly, putting together a list of what they want their design to achieve
  3. plan what they have to do, suggesting a sequence of actions and alternatives, if needed
  4. communicate design ideas in different ways as these develop, bearing in mind aesthetic qualities, and the uses and purposes for which the product is intended.

Working with tools, equipment, materials and components to make quality products

2. Pupils should be taught to:

  1. select appropriate tools and techniques for making their product
  2. suggest alternative ways of making their product, if first attempts fail
  3. explore the sensory qualities of materials and how to use materials and processes
  4. measure, mark out, cut and shape a range of materials, and assemble, join and combine components and materials accurately
  5. use finishing techniques to strengthen and improve the appearance of their product, using a range of equipment including ICT [for example, 'drawing' software or computer-aided design (CAD) software and a printer]
  6. follow safe procedures for food safety and hygiene.

Evaluating processes and products

3. Pupils should be taught to:

  1. reflect on the progress of their work as they design and make, identifying ways they could improve their products
  2. carry out appropriate tests before making any improvements
  3. recognise that the quality of a product depends on how well it is made and how well it meets its intended purpose [for example, how well products meet social, economic and environmental considerations].

Knowledge and understanding of materials and components

4. Pupils should be taught:

  1. how the working characteristics of materials affect the ways they are used
  2. how materials can be combined and mixed to create more useful properties [for example, using cardboard triangles on the corners of a wooden framework to strengthen it]
  3. how mechanisms can be used to make things move in different ways, using a range of equipment including an ICT control program
  4. how electrical circuits, including those with simple switches, can be used to achieve results that work.

Explanatory text

Note for 1a

Cross reference to English

En2 Reading: Reading for information

3. Pupils should be taught to:

a. scan texts to find information
b. skim for gist and overall impression
c. obtain specific information through detailed reading
d. draw on different features of texts, including print, sound and image, to obtain meaning
e. use organisational features and systems to find texts and information

Cross reference to ICT

Finding things out

1. Pupils should be taught:

a. to talk about what information they need and how they can find and use it [for example, searching the internet or a CD-ROM, using printed material, asking people]

Note for 1b,1d

ICT opportunity

Pupils could use desktop publishing (DTP) software and a colour printer to develop and communicate their design ideas.

Note for 2c

Cross reference to art and design

Investigating and making art, craft and design

2. Pupils should be taught to:

a. investigate and combine visual and tactile qualities of materials and processes and to match these qualities to the purpose of the work

Cross reference to science

Sc3 Materials and their properties: Grouping and classifying materials

1. Pupils should be taught:

a. to compare everyday materials and objects on the basis of their material properties, including hardness, strength, flexibility and magnetic behaviour, and to relate these properties to everyday uses of the materials

Note for 2d

Cross reference to mathematics

Ma3 Shape, space and measures: Understanding measures

4. Pupils should be taught to:

a. recognise the need for standard units of length, mass and capacity, choose which ones are suitable for a task, and use them to make sensible estimates in everyday situations; convert one metric unit to another [for example, convert 3.17kg to 3170g]; know the rough metric equivalents of imperial units still in daily use
b. recognise that measurement is approximate; choose and use suitable measuring instruments for a task; interpret numbers and read scales with increasing accuracy; record measurements using decimal notation
c. recognise angles as greater or less than a right angle or half-turn, estimate their size and order them; measure and draw acute, obtuse and right angles to the nearest degree

Note for 4c

Cross reference to ICT

Developing ideas and making things happen

2. Pupils should be taught:

b. how to create, test, improve and refine sequences of instructions to make things happen and to monitor events and respond to them [for example, monitoring changes in temperature, detecting light levels and turning on a light]

Cross reference to science

Sc4 Physical processes: Forces and motion

2. Pupils should be taught:

Types of force

c. about friction, including air resistance, as a force that slows moving objects and may prevent objects from starting to move
d. that when objects [for example, a spring, a table] are pushed or pulled, an opposing pull or push can be felt

Note for 4d

Cross reference to science

Sc4 Physical processes: Electricity

1. Pupils should be taught:

Simple circuits

a. to construct circuits, incorporating a battery or power supply and a range of switches, to make electrical devices work [for example, buzzers, motors]
b. how changing the number or type of components [for example, batteries, bulbs, wires]in a series circuit can make bulbs brighter or dimmer
c. how to represent series circuits by drawings and conventional symbols, and how to construct series circuits on the basis of drawings and diagrams using conventional symbols

Breadth of study

5. During the key stage, pupils should be taught the Knowledge, skills and understanding through:

  1. investigating and evaluating a range of familiar products, thinking about how they work, how they are used and the views of the people who use them
  2. focused practical tasks that develop a range of techniques, skills, processes and knowledge
  3. design and make assignments using a range of materials, including electrical and mechanical components, food, mouldable materials, stiff and flexible sheet materials, and textiles.

This content relates to the 1999 programmes of study and attainment targets.

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