Product Design

Design Technology

Design and Technology – Product Design

Rationale – Students will learn to use a full range of practical skills which are built on each year through design and make activities. Students generate, develop and refine designs to be fully functioning, high quality products using the iterative design process. Students create unique and eco-friendly products by being responsible designers, using recycled materials with ethically sourced new materials to achieve a zero carbon footprint. Design work is judged on how innovative, creative and sustainable they are and using inspiration from existing designers while fulfilling users’ needs and safety considerations.

Students will learn how to use all of the machines, tools and equipment correctly and safely combining cutting edge technology such as the laser cutter, sublimation printer and 3D printer combined with traditional hand tool skills such as making wood joints, saw piercing, texturing and finishing techniques. Many other decorative techniques inspired by culture and iconic designers are explored to make aesthetic and functional products such as cast resin and pewter jewellery. Students work on a range of real life contexts which are challenging and inspiring including STEM activities, subject specific language and oracy skills, scientific principles and numeracy focus. A lot of the work we do includes transferrable skills which students will draw on in higher education and problem solving challenges which will help our students become resourceful, reflective, respectful and resilient learners. 

Key Stage 3

In Years 7-9 Product design is taught on a rotation system so that students experience all Design and Technology specialist curriculum areas every year.


Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

Project 1

Shaping and finishing polymers to make key fobs and phone stands.

Develop and communicate design ideas using annotated sketches.

Design and make functional, high quality products which meet the user’s needs.

Use electronic components to develop products by adding an LED light circuit.








Small storage jewelry box constructed and decorated by using CAD/CAM technology.

Students use a wider, more complex range of tools, equipment and machinery including CAD CAM.

Use traditional hand tools to safely and accurately cut wood.

Use a variety of finishing techniques inspired by culture including transfer print, varnish, paint and laser engraving for a high quality finish.







Mechanisms inspired pull along novelty toy.

Students use prior knowledge to design and make a toy that has pop up moving features based on cams and followers.

Select from and use specialist tools and equipment with precision.

Use prototypes to develop working cams and test them.

Use a range of graphic techniques to apply a high quality finish, including laser engraving.






Project 2

Use a range of levers and linkages to design and make a pair of lazy tongs with multi-functional jaws.

Students will analyse existing products and write a design specification.

Students will use anthropometric data and polymorph smart material to make ergonomic hand grips.

Test and evaluate-students test their mechanisms in a competition of two teams and evaluate their performance, suggesting improvements.



Electronics challenge. Based on a real life brief, students make a moisture sensor.

Understand how products are developed to solve problems.

Analyse existing products to inform a manufacturing specification based on function and user’s needs.

Safely use a range of electronic equipment and components, understanding their functions.

Test the circuit and identify faults to make improvements for a fully functional, quality product.




Solar powered buggies team challenge. Designing, building and testing solar powered buggies.

Test, evaluate and refine design ideas against a specification.

Re-configuring component layout for ergonomics and energy efficiency.

Students will develop an ‘efficient’ buggy running on 2 volts of energy that will be stored in an electrical field in the capacitor.

Timed and tested over distance achieved in a straight line.




Key Stage 4

GCSE Design and Technology – Product Design

Rationale – Students follow the GCSE Design and Technology AQA specification. 50% of the course is based on theory of core, specialist and designing and making principles, the other 50% is a Contextual Challenge which starts in June of the first year of study. Students choose a brief that interests them from a choice of three.

Exam breakdown:

50% 35 hrs coursework, 50% 2 hour exam.

In addition: at least 15% of the exam will assess maths and at least 10% of the exam will assess science.

The teacher will provide any necessary resources to assist with theory, coursework including the practical outcome and exam preparation. AQA text books, revision guides and past exam papers. However-quizes and other useful information will be available on line.

Q-How is the exam structured?

Section A-Core technical principles (20 marks) A mix of multiple choice and short answer questions assessing a breadth of technical knowledge and understanding.

Section B-Specialist technical principles (30 marks) and one extended response to assess a more in depth knowledge of technical principles.

Section C- Designing and making principles (50 marks) a mix of short answer and extended response questions.

Students will be set ‘low stakes’ written tests throughout their first year to allow them to develop confidence and check their theoretical learning in preparation for the written exam in their final GCSE year. Practical skills and coursework developed will be assessed regularly over the course of study to support their progress and learning.  One to one tutorials will be given to students to discuss effective progress and development.

Q-How many sections is there in the design and make task?

Assessment criteria:

  1. Identifying and investigating design possibilities (10 marks)
  2. Producing a design brief and specification (10 marks)
  3. Generating design ideas (20 marks)
  4. Developing design ideas (20 marks)
  5. Realising design ideas (10 marks)
  6. Analysing and evaluating (15 marks)


Q-What should be included in the final portfolio?

Reviewing contextual challenges, reviewing primary/secondary research, a design brief and design specification, initial design ideas, refinement and development of ideas, prototyping, evaluative decision making, high quality 2D/3D images of proposals, planning/timelines, modifications and evaluations, final prototype of finished product etc. Worth noting that when we moderate will expect to see everything that the learner has used in the development of the design and make project.

The typical steps of iterative design for user feedback are as follows:

  • Complete an initial design and present the design to several test users.
  • Note any problems had by the test user and refine the design to account for/fix the problems.
  • Apply the iterative design process to the first prototypes through to the developed 3D outcome, repeat steps 2-4 until user problems are resolved.
  • When properly applied, iterative design will ensure a product or process is the best solution possible. When applied early in the development stage, significant cost savings are possible.Other benefits to iterative design include:
  • Serious misunderstandings are made evident early in the lifecycle, when it's possible to react to them.
  • It enables and encourages user feedback, possibly resulting in modifying specifications and costings.
  • The designer is forced to focus on those issues that are most critical to the product and shield them from irrelevant issues.
  • Continuous, iterative testing enables an objective assessment of the project's status.



Year 9/10

Year 10/11

Autumn 1st half term

Health and safety in the workshop

New and emerging technologies

Industry and enterprise

People, culture and society

Production techniques and systems

Informing design decisions

Unit test


Targeted revision for mock exam

Written mock exam 2hr paper October

Identifying and investigating design possibilities, 10 marks – component 2

Developing a Design brief and specification, 10 marks




Autumn 2nd half term

Energy, materials, systems and devices

Energy generation and storage

Modern and smart materials

Composite an dtechnical textiles

Systems approach to designing

Electronic systems processing

Mechanical devices

Unit test

Revision for mock exam

Written mock exam 2hr paper December

Generating design ideas, 20 marks

Developing design ideas, 20 marks





Spring 1st half term


Mini project:

Wood joints, cutting finishing techniques/CAD/CAM.

Generating and developing design ideas, 2D and 3D drawing techniques

Materials-paper and boards

Timbers, metals and alloys and polymers

Unit test

Manufacturing a prototype, 20 marks

Practical exam for component 2 February

Exam revision




Spring 2nd half term


Common specialist technical principles

Forces, stresses, 6rs, scales of production

Improving functionality, ecological and social footprint

Unit test

Analysing and evaluating design decisions and prototypes, 20 marks

Exam revision


Summer 1st half term

Timber based materials

Sources and origins-working with timbers

Commercial manufacturing

Unit test

Written exam 2hr paper




Summer 2nd half term

Designing and making principles

Investigating primary and secondary data

Design strategies and the work of others

Communication of design ideas

Selecting materials and components

Tolerances and materials management

Tools, equipment, techniques and finishes

Surface treatments-Unit test

Course completed 








Curriculum Assessment:

Students will be given theory tests in lessons to assess their success and areas for improvement with all theory topics.  Students will sit two DT written exam papers in the Autumn term of their final GCSE year as practice before they sit their final written exam in the Summer term.