Design Technology (D&T) is a core subject for all pupils at Aldro. We broadly follow the National Curriculum across Key stage 2 and 3. We aim to show our boys a flavour of all strands of D&T through a series of design and make projects. Our goal is to give our boys a range of subject knowledge and practical skills so they can confidently embark upon GCSE's in this subject area at their future schools. All pupils have the equivalent of 1 hour of D&T a week. In Forms 6 to 8 this is arranged as a 2 hour lesson once a fortnight, alternating with Art. All lessons are timetabled in our 2 purpose-built rooms, housed in the Art and D&T block. The D&T area consists of a Design Studio/Graphics classroom equipped with 7 PC's and a well resourced resistant materials workshop and adjoining material store.
The D&T curriculum is delivered through a series of projects, each following a structured design process. Our projects feature the use of a range of different materials, and in their time here the boys will work with wood, metal, plastics, card, textiles, electronics, systems and control and food technology.
Over recent years several of our pupils have worked towards scholarships and awards to senior schools in the field of D&T. In the last 3 years our boys have fought off strong competition to have been awarded D&T scholarships at Tonbridge, Charterhouse and Cranleigh. For general interviews and other scholarships, the work carried out in D&T has often been used as an added extra. A great ice breaker and fantastic conversation topic during interviews.
Aldro boys will often go on to study D&T at their senior schools starting off with GCSE and leading on towards AS and A level. Many have followed a design or technological path at university. We have ex-pupils now working as Architects, Mechanical Engineers and Yacht Designers as well as in the fields of Motor Industry, Medical Science, Graphic Design, Electronics and Electrical Engineering and Space Science. A few Old Aldronians now work for some of the top companies in their fields. A quote from a previous school inspection stated "The Design and Technology Depratment is a vibrant, stimulating department; I like what I see very much"
The Central aim of DT is to develop in our students the ability and confidence to identify, examine and solve problems using tools and materials. The emphasis placed on these three elements of design technology varies according to the age, ability and developing interests of the pupils, the nature of the problem to be solved, the teacher concerned and the material resources available.
Our projects will include some or all of the following components of the design process:
- Outline of specific context, situation, problem or challenge
- Design brief, often client related
- Research, investigation and analysis
- Creation and communication of ideas
- Design analysis
- Development of design
- Development of skills, and related knowledge
- Practical construction or manufacture
- Recording of progress
- Product evaluation and suggested improvements
All pupils at Aldro are working towards the Aldro Baccalaureate which was launched in 2018. Working alongside common entrance in the core subjects, it allows pupils to develop a far wider range of skills which focus on the following 6 key areas.
The D&T projects vary a little from year to year, but over the past few years the boys have studied a selection from the following topics.
Design Technology Projects and Topics
PENPALS - An animal themed cardboard engineering project to develop a card pen pot, with weighted wooden base to introduce basic workshop skills. Prototyping is an important part of the proofs and pupils see their ideas develop from a white paper template, to a card model they cut with scissors and craft knives, to a CAD/CAM manufactured professional quality final piece.
SEW EASY - An introduction to textiles, teaching basic equipment and simple stitches through samplers and simple textile exercises to enable boys to sew their school badges onto their jumpers.
PICTURE PERFECT - A focussed practical task creating a card prototype picture frame before replicating this using PVC foam sheets to introduce boys to a range of hand and machine processes as well as key safety rules in the workshop.
OLYMPIC GAMES - Hot on the heels of the Paralympics in Rio the boys designed and created their own Olympic themed board game using computer aided design and mounting their designs onto foam core, before creating other component parts and writing game instructions.
LOCK UP - Exploring a range of graphic design exercises to develop communication skills before creating their own fonts and logos to use on a personalised name plaque to help customise their lockers in the sports changing rooms.
GAME ON - Learning about the thermoplastic shaping process of vacuum forming and creating their own hand-held game by moulding high impact polystyrene around their own personalised maze game in an effort to get them playing with non-electronic games!
BEDTIME - A context driven project where all outcomes will be unique, allowing the boys to be creative and design a clock for their own bedroom. Most outcomes are made using acrylic, although some choose to use wood. We look at various ways to come up with different ideas, consider material choice, and layer to create depth and interest. Pupils start to take responsibility for ordering materials and planning the stages of manufacture. Each design should also feature the use of vinyl graphics to embellish the design, consolidating skills previously taught.
FEED ME - An introduction to food technology, considering balanced diets and ways in which we can make healthier choices when developing recipes. Creation of different brownie recipes including food tasting and nutritional analysis. Design and creation of packaging for the products to be given to loved ones for Valentines Day. Continuation to develop savoury Easter eggs as an alternative to chocolate!
MEGASTRUCTURES - An introduction to architecture and structural engineering. Modelling of geodomes on a small and large scale, working together as teams.
HIGH STREET GIFTS - A joint food and graphics project. Working in class groups to create a range of 3 different food products to be packaged and gifted for Fathers Day.
MERRY MECHANISMS - An investigation in to types of motion and mechanisms used to change the direction or type of motion. This was implemented with a seasonal twist allowing the boys to construct a standard pine framework within which to add a mechanism to animate a Christmas themed scene.
KEY SKILLS - An introduction to metalwork, initially investigating a wide range of metals, their common uses and the standard categories of pure, alloy, ferrous and non-ferrous metals. This follows with a design exercise and the manufacture of an aluminium key fob, bag tag or pendant, all cut and finished by hand requiring a significant amount of elbow greases to produce a high-quality outcome.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST - Manufacture of stage props for the Form 5 and 6 productions. This involved developing techniques required to create accurate templates, mount decorative paper onto foam core, and use scalpels to cut giant cutlery for the magical servant characters.
ALDRO ENTERPRISE - Initially introduced as a spin-off of Lord Sugar's popular Apprentice programme, the boys worked collaboratively as class groups to compete to sell as many batch produced Christmas products in order to compete with the other forms and raise the most funds for charity. This has now developed into a year group enterprise project jointly between the Art and D&T departments. Boys also learn about cost of materials, manufacturing cost and profit margins.
BIRDHUT - Understanding the relevant and importance of accurate working drawings and being able to work from them to accurately cut and assemble all 10 parts for a standard "Birdhut" construction. Independent research required them to research into the range of saws and drill bits that could be used, before trialling a selection to establish which is most fit for purpose. The boys then employ their design skills to come up with a range of suggestions of how to theme the house to embody a unique beach hut theme. Weatherproofing is an essential part of this outcome, so exterior grade ply is used, along with weatherproof PVA and exterior paint finishes.
GET HOOKED - Pupils are required to identify their own specific need in terms of storage and organisation. They are then rquired to design, model and manufacture a unique design to solve this problem using sheet acrylic and the strip heating process.
BRIDGES - An investigative piece of work looking both at existing bridge design and a series of experiments to see how bending and folding sheets of paper can make the strongest beams to carry or suspend weight from. Pupils are encouraged to independently research how strong model bridges can be made to carry the greatest weights, whilst taking account of strength to weight ratios. In teams they then produce a model bridge from paper to be tested to destruction. Teams are awarded marks for teamwork, design, research, strength to weight ratio and maximum load carried.
CHECKMATE - The production of a high-quality handcrafted artefact that boys will take away with them as a keepsake and memento of their years at Aldro. The techniques of joining together strip and creating a chequerboard pattern with decorative and personalised border design is initially modelled in card. Boys are then introduced to veneers and the process of lamination, where they replicate their design usin a selection of hardwood veneers. Once laminated to an MDF base using the bagpress technique boys will carefully sand and lacquer their chessboards before applying a layer of fablon baize to the base. This project runs in conjunction with the Art department who manufacture clay playing pieces to accompany the board.
BATMAN - A project developed in response to the boys love of table tennis, where they designed and made their own table tennis bats. Initially they start by analysing existing products, before coming up with their own individual design. The paddle is constructed from layers of plywood and rubber using contact adhesive, and the handle shaped from a variety of different materials ranging from pine, to jelutong to birch dowel and even polymorph, a smart plastic.
BRIGHT IDEAS - A basic colour changing LED circuit is constructed before fitting this to a purpose made base to house all the components correctly. The boys will then look ata range of patterns to inspire them to create an innovative and interesting design for the shade of the mood light.
INDEPENDENT - Some scholars have taken on their own independent projects both in and outside of lesson time. This ranges from model soap-box racers, storage cases for the chessboard and pieces, architectual projects, ambient speakers and creating both curved laminated key fobs and contoured plywood shades for the lighting project by bending wood around foam formers in the Bagpress.
There are plenty of D&T extra-curricular activities on offer to the boys too, some of which are listed below. Please do take a look at the photo gallery to see examples of pupil's work.
- Lego Masters Challenge
- World Book Day Reading Caves
- Snow Sculptures
- Great Aldro Bake-Off
- Poppies 1918-2018
- Scholarship Programme
- Vex IQ Robot Challenge
- Charterhouse Design Show
- Lego Towers and Bridges
www.explainthatstuf.com a great general site for DT –Science
www.technologystudent.com lots of answers to DT problems
www.mechanicalmonkey.co.uk mechanical toys and movement
www.mindsetonline.co.uk Middlesex University DT ideas, supplies materials, smart materials
www.howstuffworks.com answers to many DT – Science problems
www.youtube.com Great DT resource and used in lessons for forms 3-8. Needs selective viewing though!
www.technologystudent.com loads of useful information for DT research and students
www.designandtech.com A link to many DT associated sites.