Curriculum Mapping Against 10 Key Learning Areas

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Map your curriculum against the key learning content of the D&T GCSE specs

This document compares the learning across all of the GCSE specifications. The learning has been mapped across 10 key learning areas we have identified when working with teachers. Scroll down for more background information on how we have identified these 10 areas.
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Our documents can be used by teachers in their school but must not be used in any other way without permission. 

It should be noted that this document is not a scheme of learning but it might be used as a starting point for department discussions on approaches to schemes of learning. It’s important to read the ‘About’ page first before using the document as this gives more information on how it's organised and how it might be used.

Each of the folders below breaks down the learning into a series of documents, one for each key learning area identified in the document above. These can be used to map the key learning areas across a 5 year curriculum. The information is the same as in the larger document above but each series of documents focuses on one exam board only. The documents are editable so they can be adapted to suit the needs of a department. 
Our documents can be used by teachers in their school but must not be used in any other way without permission. 

What are the 10 key learning area documents?

The larger document originally started out as a something for our own use so we could quickly see the learning from each specification relating to key learning areas without having to get all the specs out each time. Feedback from teachers was that they would also find the document useful so it's been released for teachers to use in their departments. There's more information below on why we identified the 10 key learning areas that we use. When working with individual schools we also found it useful to break down the larger document into one for each exam board spec to enable the department’s curriculum to be mapped against the 10 key learning areas. These documents are likely to be of most use to teachers who have attended our training where the 10 key learning areas are an important part of the structure used for courses. 


Honeycomb Learning: how we have used this document

We've worked with teachers looking at how the D&T curriculum can be mapped to create a more joined up five year curriculum from years 7-11 (a seven year curriculum where schools teach Post 16). This is based on our research on the use of distributed practice as a strategy to improve student engagement and maximise results. 

Teachers used our KS3 Keywords and Headlines document along with our GCSE Keywords & Headlines for D&T DfE Subject Content (and the A level audit where appropriate) to do this. Linear ticklist versions of these audits are included in the above links but when working with teachers these were adapted into a hands on activity using hexagon cards. Nearly every group we used the cards with called them ‘the honeycomb cards’ and the name stuck! The honeycomb cards are given away for free on many courses and are also available as a ‘Pay What You Want’ resource

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Using the cards teachers identified ten key learning areas that might be prioritised when creating schemes of learning across all key stages. These act as key reference points for enabling a spaced practice approach to be mapped to help students revise and embed learning, as well as encouraging learning to be linked and cross referenced. 


Our 10 key learning areas are:

  1. Users, needs & design contexts
  2. Designing: Design Strategies & communicating ideas
  3. Past & present professionals
  4. Wider impact of designing & making: Social, moral, environmental & cultural issues, energy storage & generation, new & emerging technologies
  5. Levers & mechanisms
  6. Forces & stresses
  7. Electronics & programmable components
  8. Smart & modern materials & technical textiles
  9. Materials: Categories, sources, origins, selection & properties
  10. Making: Working with specialist materials & techniques

The reasons for our choice of categories is explained more on our courses and there are other potential groupings which are of equal value. Some categories have more content than others and there are natural cross overs between all of them so they should not be viewed in isolation.  


How we aim to use the document

  • To provide an overview and quick reference point all in one place for the learning content for the D&T GCSE specifications
  • To get an overview of the links between KS3, GCSE and KS5 
  • To identify key learning areas that might be prioritised when creating schemes of learning across all key stages. 
  • To help us map schemes of learning and other resources we produce against these key areas in order to support a five/seven year curriculum with clear learning links and progression across all key stages
  • To show the importance of KS3 as the building block for all key stages in order to evidence to departments and senior leaders the importance of KS3 curriculum time 
  • To show the importance of all material areas and how they contribute to the D&T KS3, 4 and 5 curriculum 


Resources that support this document

The Let's Learn resources are being developed to support each of the 10 key learning areas. These will be developed over time and are constantly being added to. 

The D&T Curriculum section of the website has other resources departments might find useful when planning e.g. other curriculum audits, information on other qualifications such as the A level. 


Return to the Creating Schemes of Learning page to see all resources

You might find additional materials to support ideas on this page in other sections of the website e.g. #ThinkDoTechDoodle, and Free Resources


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