Harry Gowlett


The importance of adopting the iterative design process when teaching design and technology (D&T) in secondary schools has grown. Resulting from new GCSE D&T specifications, the way practitioners teach D&T is rapidly changing to prepare learners studying the subject. Successful practitioners of the subject strive to find ways to adopt engaging pedagogical techniques to support the teaching of iterative design. This research study aims to explore the ways that tinkering activities can enhance existing schemes of work at key stage three in line with National Curriculum requirements, preparing learners ready for the new GCSE D&T specifications.

This research study has used a range of research methodology producing both qualitative and quantitative data, allowing for cross-referencing of findings to make links and distinctions. The focus of the study has been on two key stage three classes, allowing the study to find out whether the tinkering activities created aided learning whilst supporting the introduction of the iterative design process. Observations of these activities by experienced D&T teachers supported the research, as well as learner centred questionnaire data collected before and after tinkering.

The results from this study show that tinkering activities have a positive effect on supporting the teaching of iterative design at key stage three. The study also provides activities that are suitable for embedding into existing schemes of work, which are suited to most D&T departments in the process of making gradual changes to the way in which they approach D&T at key stage three.