Designing and making

Approaches to designing and making 

The technology component of the SESE curriculum, as outlined in the science skills section, is entitled designing and making. Designing and making involves children making small-scale objects such as toys or larger things such as lighthouses or trucks. Children should be provided with opportunities to design and make objects that function or work, such as a teddy bear’s lunchbox, a pop-up-card, a battery-driven vehicle or a boat powered by a rubber band. The children can then be challenged to think about why their products work and how they can be improved.

Designing and making activities need not always be about practical problem solving. Children should begin to perceive ordinary objects as examples of technology. Tea-pots, pencil sharpeners, sweeping brushes and chairs are examples of objects that are made to fulfil a need. Common objects can be explored for their design and for their artistic and technological features.

Teachers can use their knowledge and skills to help children do this by asking questions such as:

Why is this object used?
Why has it been made in this way?
Are these objects always made from the same materials?
Can other materials be used to make these objects?
Have these objects always been made in this way?
If not, why not? If yes, why?

Opportunities should be provided for children to focus on how familiar, everyday objects are made. Sometimes the children might take things apart, such as a bicycle pump or a torch. They should reflect on how well things work and judge them according to their ease of use, reliability, safety, appearance and texture. Children should reflect on the need to improve, change or develop things already in existence.