3D Design Technology

Principles and Purpose of 3D Design Technology Curriculum

3D Design Technology has links to art, science and mathematics, combining creativity with practical application and theoretical knowledge. Giving students the power to design and then create working products. The variety of skills practised in 3D Design provides curated opportunities for students to question and justify decisions; thinking critically about their choices as designers and problem solvers but also the choices consumers might make and why. As students move through the key stages, they will start considering others' interests and design history, so they have a more social and cultural view of design. Students are introduced to new technology as well as traditional tools and materials, allowing them to recognise why and where they are used. Students are taught how to work safely with and around machinery developing their awareness of self. With this knowledge, students are encouraged to work independently producing different creative ideas. This enables students to become creators, problem solvers, project managers and designers of the future.


Our KS4 curriculum is an option choice. We are currently with AQA studying Art and design 3D Design. 

The Art and Design 3D Design course allows students to produce a bespoke portfolio that will enable them to have in depth conversations about their work and the artists/designers they chose and were inspired by. The skills they learn are tailored to be more specific to their area of interest and pathway ensuring they become master crafts people.


The 3D Design course builds on skills learnt in KS3 such as drawing, modelling, making and evaluating. The projects are designed to give students the opportunity to practise the assessment objectives of exploring, refining, recording and analysing in the style they find most exciting and interesting. Students explore how ideas and intentions can be communicated using visual and tactile elements; how sources relate to historical, contemporary, cultural, social, environmental and creative contexts and how ideas, feelings, forms, and purposes can generate responses.

Why this, why now?

Our Key Stage 3 projects are based around analysis, investigation and creativity. Throughout KS3 students learn about materials, their properties, where materials come from (woods and plastic), what impact they may have on the environment and how they can be manipulated to create products using a variety of tools, machines and fixings. In year 7 students are introduced to the design process of research, design, development and making. They are taught how to design for themself or someone they know, to consider the needs of the user as well as the materials they are using. Students learn about the different types of woods available, where they come from and how to safely work with them. Students are also taught technical drawing skills; using grid paper students are able to draw simple shapes in isometric to support their design of a name plaque. 


The year 8 curriculum seeks to embed and build on the knowledge and skills from year 7, this time with a lens of design through history. Students explore the evolution of design styles and their popularity trends. Their final piece, a mirror, will reflect their understanding of their desired design movement. Students use prior knowledge of woods and expand on this understanding by using the same tools to create a lap jointed frame. This repetition of tool use helps to build confidence and develop greater accuracy. Students also revisit isometric drawing, introducing more complex shapes. A second material is introduced in this project, plastic. Students will learn about different types of plastics and their environmental impact, in the context of design choices. They will learn how to manipulate plastics with the line bender and prepare files on 2D design CAD to have work efficiently cut out on the laser cutter CAM.


The year 9 box project builds on the knowledge and skills acquired in year 7 and 8. Students follow the same design process with a focus on culture and the influence culture has on design and style. Students work to produce a box and piece of jewellery themed around their chosen culture. Students will produce an isometric drawing of their boxes along with a projection drawing, building on their understanding of drawing skills. Students use their prior knowledge of woods and wood joints to produce a half lap jointed box. Students are then given the autonomy to decorate the box using a range of techniques that draw upon previous learning e.g. plastics, 2d design (CAD). This autonomy supports students' understanding and skills of experimentation and material selection, skills which underpin the GCSE art and design 3D design course.  


At KS4 students will do 3D Design - Art and Design. This course has been chosen for its greater emphasis on the physicality of learning through doing and experimentation; this fits with the needs of our school cohort and aspirations. This course allows the students the same onward progression into careers such as architecture, 3d design, furniture design, which have historically been popular with BCCS students. The KS3 curriculum principles of research, design, develop and make also underpin the 3D Design course. The year 10 course is set up to build on prior knowledge from KS3 - materials, techniques, skills and experimentation. Technical drawing skills practised throughout KS3 are built upon for designing products that have no shape or style restrictions. Air dry clay is introduced in year 10, as a new material, alongside more advanced paper and card modelling techniques. The course culminates in year 11 with a final project which puts into practice all the knowledge and skills learnt and developed over the preceding 4 years.

Teaching the 3D Design Technology Curriculum

Teachers create a purposeful learning environment that helps students engage with the lesson. Teachers have high expectations of behaviour, this is important for practical work. Students will know the “big picture” for the project outcome and will be engaged in producing work in preparation for this. This is important to ensure high quality outcomes which demonstrate student ability to explore, refine, make and analyse their work. At the start of each lesson students reflect on previous learning using a task sheet. On the task sheet students write personalised targets for the lesson to help them progress, manage their time and prepare themselves for the lesson ahead, thereby promoting engagement and independence. Students use the task sheet to explain key tools and equipment needed with reasoning, allowing them to articulate what they are currently learning; as well as what has been previously taught. Students will feel comfortable in sharing ideas and presenting their work in front of others. They will also be able to give supportive feedback and suggestions based on their opinions of design and visual language

Assessing the 3D Design Technology Curriculum

Students will receive verbal feedback on work each week as their project progresses, as well as targeted questioning to check previous knowledge or to extract details the student has yet to display. Questioning is used at the beginning of lessons and at key points within the lesson, to ensure there are no misconceptions; as well as engaging students in discussions to deepen their understanding of what they are doing. Substantive knowledge is checked to ensure students know what equipment or materials are required for the tasks they are carrying out and why they are needed. Students will produce a presentation page for each project allowing for a continual record of progress. The main areas of assessment are designing, making and evaluation. Work is referenced before data drops and reporting to give parents the most up to date and accurate feedback. Students use the task sheet to demonstrate their understanding of the topic, support self-reflection and planning. The ability to work independently is crucial for KS4 and this process promotes independent planning. This task sheet also supports developmental discussions and allows the teacher to check students have the knowledge to achieve the tasks selected. This model continues at KS4 with the addition of tutorial meetings in year 11 for in depth feedback and target setting when students are completing their sustained project.


At KS4 students work is live marked so students can instantly improve and progress. Every 6 weeks work is marked against the task lists with written feedback. Students are expected to act upon this during support sessions.

Progression in the 3D Design Technology Curriculum

It is important that before KS4 students have an understanding of the design process and know how to develop their ideas as well as have an understanding of material properties and how to work with them. To ensure this is achieved each project is taught starting with materials and understanding before anything else.

Students will be equipped with the skills to design and develop ideas in a variety of ways. To do this each project includes the process of design and development. Students are taught to develop through drawings, hand models and CAD/CAM.

The nature of the subject also means students need a thorough understanding of health and safety. Students will be taught the risks and then the precautions taken to minimise them. This will be a log which students keep with them throughout KS3.


KS3 - Our curriculum at KS3 will:

  • Provide students with the understanding of the design process so they are able to explore and develop their ideas from different viewpoints including Historically and culturally. 
  • Give opportunities to work in different ways and with different materials and tools, so that design intentions can be realised. 
  • Equip students with 3D drawing skills through isometric drawing as well as CAD computer aided design so design intentions can be communicated effectively.
  • Ensure students can analyse the effectiveness of designs and think critically about improvements. 


KS4 - Our curriculum at KS4 will:

  • Introduce students to a wide range of artists, designers and craftspeople so that they are aware of the potential for their work.
  • Ensure that key learning is based around the exam board assessment objectives so that students become more fully aware of the expectations for NEA work.
  • Prepare students to be able to work independently by equipping them with a range of ways to record, explore, experiment, develop, refine and make their ideas.
  • Personalise their learning through more individual choice over projects and influences. 

Although not offered at BCCS we aim to prepare students wishing to study 3D Design based subjects at KS5 with the following in addition to the skills and knowledge:

  • knowledge of working to a brief
  • a sense of self agency where they are completely in control of their own project and will see a project through to completion
  • skills to be analytical thinkers and risk takers, where necessary make adaptations to produce the best possible solution