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Design Technology

In Design Technology, a solution can be defined as a model, prototype, product or system that students have developed independently. DP design technology achieves a high level of design literacy by enabling students to develop critical-thinking and design skills, which they can apply in a practical context. While designing may take various forms, it will involve the selective application of knowledge within an ethical framework. DT enables students to develop not only practical skills but also strategies for creative and critical thinking.

Design in Group 4 Sciences

Both science and technology have a fundamental relationship with design. Technology preceded science, but now most technological developments are based on scientific understanding. Traditional technology comprised useful artifacts often with little understanding of the science underpinning their production and use. In contrast, modern technology involves the application of scientific discoveries to produce useful artifacts. The application of scientific discovery to solve a problem enables designers to create new technologies and these new technologies, in turn, can impact on the rate of scientific discovery.

The aim of the DP design technology course is to foster the skill development in students required to use new and existing technologies to create new products, services and systems. Theory of Knowledge questions are discussed to enrich the syllabus and broaden students’ understanding of the impact of technology and design thinking.

All standard and higher level students complete a common core:

  • Human factors and ergonomics
  • Resource management and sustainable production
  • Modelling
  • Raw material to final product
  • Innovation and design
  • Classic design
HL extension

Higher level students examine four further topics designed to extend and deepen their understanding of the subject. The four additional higher level topics aim to introduce aspects of innovation.

  • User-centred design (UCD)
  • Sustainability
  • Innovation and markets
  • Commercial production

All standard and higher level students complete a design project as an internal assessment task. This design project allows them to demonstrate their investigative, analytical, design thinking, design development, prototyping, testing and evaluation skills and mirrors the design processes used across the various industries that integrate design practice. Internal assessment accounts for 40% of the final assessment.

At SL, the design project requires students to identify a problem and develop a solution. It is assessed against four common criteria:

  • Analysis of a design opportunity
  • Conceptual design
  • Development of a detailed design
  • Testing and evaluation

At HL, the design project is extended to include aspects of innovation. The design project is assessed against two additional criteria:

  • Detailed development of a commercial product
  • Making choices for commercial production

The standard level course is assessed through a multiple choice paper (paper 1), a core paper, which consists of a short response and extended answer questions (paper 2), and the internal assessment design project. At HL, paper one has more questions, and students answer an additional paper (paper 3) consisting of three structured questions based on the HL extension material, one of which is based on a case study.

Pupils are able to work in wood, metal, acrylic, textiles or new materials for their final design project.