Design and Technology

Design and Technology

Senior School Design and Technology Department

Design and Technology (DT) is a creatively driven course that enables pupils to transform ideas into reality. It is an applied science that teaches pupils skills and knowledge used widely by researchers, architects, designers, inventors and engineers.

At Marlborough College Malaysia, DT is delivered by specialist practitioners, in a superbly resourced centre. We have a growing collection of notable resources, such as 3D printers, laser cutters, a CNC router, a heat treatment room, a suite of iMacs and a permanent exhibition space. Pupils work with a range of modern materials, tools, equipment and machines to produce models and prototypes that aim to solve problems.

By learning engineering, materials science and graphics theory through a practical, project based and inquiry led curriculum, DT pupils build a portfolio of evidence that can be used to impress Universities and future employers.

By studying DT, pupils benefit from developing useful attributes that can drive change, in comparison to counterparts who may only be able to re-present text-book ideas or develop purposeless creations. It is widely recognised that DT effectively supports the development of skills valued by Universities and employers, such as communication and research skills, project management, critical thinking skills and the ability to work in or lead a team. Such organisations also value the industrial context of learning and project work in DT, as it has a closer relationship to professional work than traditional classroom learning.

Many pupils choose to study DT at an examinable level to demonstrate creativity and practical skills, which can balance their Curriculum Vitae (CV) and show that they are well-rounded learners. Many choose to study the subject because it is exciting, stimulating and addresses global challenges for the next generation of engineers, such as sustainable production and responsible consumerism.

Our curriculum follows a carefully structured path that develops from Prep School into the Senior School and ultimately beyond into the outside world. All pupils are taught DT from Year 3 to Shell (Year 9, which is the first year of Senior School), from which point DT becomes an optional subject up to Upper 6. We currently offer Graphic Products or Resistant Materials IGCSE courses to Remove and Hundred (both with Cambridge exam board), and IB Diploma programme Product Design in Sixth Form.

The Design and Technology department is keen to foster links with local businesses and creative industries in order to enrich the learning of our pupils. Please email if you feel that there may be an opportunity to work together to enrich the learning of MCM pupils.

Directly related DT careers include:
Design (Product, Industrial, Graphic, Jewellery, Furniture, Automotive, Design, Packaging, Fashion, ), Engineering (Automotive, Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Structural), Architecture, Branding/Marketing/Advertising, Project Manager, Entrepreneur, Research & Development.

DT in Shell

DT in Shell

The Shell Design and Technology programme incorporates a broad range of DT related specialisms (electronics, graphics, textiles, programming, CAD/CAM etc), which is possible because the curriculum is not constrained by an exam board. We believe that it is important for MCM learners to be well-informed and well-rounded individuals, and this year has been structured to ensure that pupils are exposed to a diverse range of information and experiences.

This year is particularly important, because it gives pupils greater insight, with regards to which DT subject they may like to pursue at IGCSE level (either Graphic Products of Resistant Materials).

2019-2020 Shell projects include:
– Geoglow, a colour changing USB lamp
– A Montessori toy project
– A balloon powered car competition(3D CAD & 3D printing challenge)
*These projects are covered in conjunction with related subject theory



DT at IGCSE level is creative, practical, active and can add variety to your timetable. Pupils build a portfolio of interesting work that can be very useful in University interviews.

Assessment comprises of 50% coursework and 50% examinations (x2). This means pupils can achieve excellent grades if they work hard with their coursework, so it can be a good option for pupils who have a good work ethic but don’t do well in structured examinations.

At IGCSE level, pupils can choose either Graphic Products or Resistant Materials in DT. These specialisms will be delivered by different Beaks. Both courses complete a project folder and practical/manufactured outcome, but they differ in their focus as outlined below:

Graphic Products
Graphic Products has a business context and is suitable for pupils who may be interested in architecture, marketing, advertising, branding and graphic design. This course focuses on developing creative and technical drawing skills, developing skills using professional graphics software and creating practical outcomes that have been manufactured using CNC machinery. Common projects include retail displays, product packaging and architectural models.

Resistant Materials
Resistant Materials is ideal for pupils who enjoy problem-solving and spending time in the workshop. Pupils will develop manufacturing/prototyping skills by using a range of tools and materials to produce outcomes such as speakers, desk lamps and bespoke storage units. Given the product design nature of this particular course, pupils will spend time developing 3D ideas by hand or using computer software.

Regardless of specialism, DT Pupils will complete two exams at the end of the year (2x 25%).
Pupils will also submit a design folder and a practical project (50%).

Exam Paper 1 (25%): All DT pupils – 1hr 15.
Product Design and design thinking exam for all DT pupils.

Exam Paper 2 (25%): Graphic Products only – 1hr.
Subject-specific exam concentrating on technical drawing, materials, tools and use of ICT.

Exam Paper 3 (25%): Resistant Materials only – 1hr.
Subject-specific exam concentrating on material selection, correct tool use and safety.

Coursework project folder (50%): All DT pupils – 10 months
Internally marked, externally moderated (checked) design folder and practical project.

IB Diploma DT

IB Diploma Design Technology

Inquiry and problem-solving are at the heart of DP Design & Technology. The curriculum centres around design thinking and project management, which provides the methodology used to structure the inquiry and analysis of problems, the development of feasible solutions, and the testing and evaluation of the solution. The creative tension between real-world theory and highly-valued soft-skills is what characterises Design & Technology within the DP sciences subject group, making the subject engaging, rewarding and respected by Universities and employers.


The DT syllabus covers a broad range of interesting topics, which have many overlaps with popular degree choices (including non-design and engineering courses such as psychology, business management and marketing). The course features an exciting invention project (Internal Assessment/IA) worth 40% of the final grade, where pupils identify a problem that they can solve by designing and manufacturing a working prototype. As a pupil-led, independent project, pupils may tailor their learning experience in a way that allows them to explore and engage in new or existing areas of interest. The IA is completed over twelve months, alongside theory lessons and mini practical’s.


Although advantageous, pupils do not necessarily need to have studied IGCSE DT before to join the course; however, they must be able to demonstrate an appropriate level of knowledge and skills from related subjects. Final examinations have a weighting of 60% of the total grade. U6 SL pupils complete two exams in May (one multiple choice and one short answer paper), which examine theory topics 1-6, listed below. U6 HL pupils also complete an additional paper (long answer questions) to assess theory topics 7-10.


Besides the theory topics listed, pupils will also develop impressive 3D Design skills, make use of modern technologies such as 3D printers and will develop an understanding of what is required to take a product to market.

Standard & Higher level theory:

Topic 1: Human Factors and ergonomics

Topic 2: Resource management & sustainable production

Topic 3: Modelling

Topic 4: Raw material to final production

Topic 5: Innovation and design

Topic 6: Classic design


Higher level theory:

Topic 7: User-centred design

Topic 8: Sustainability

Topic 9: Innovation and markets

Topic 10: Commercial production

Prep School Design and Technology Department

Design and Technology (DT) aims to promote skills and knowledge relating to engineering, architecture and design, whilst facilitating the enrichment and application of learning from the wider curriculum (particularly Maths and Science). Projects in DT support the development of analytical, problem solving and evaluative skills that contribute to the growth of all pupils, not just those interested in creativity and invention. Often considered an applied science, MCM has positioned the Prep DT studio and workshop alongside the Science department in the Cotton corridor.

Many people consider tools and materials to be at the centre of the DT curriculum, but in fact these elements are part of a much bigger collection of resources and strategies used in DT to develop robust learners who have an insight of life beyond the classroom.

At Prep School level, the DT curriculum is divided into four areas; research, design, make and evaluate. This helps pupils and parents recognise progress and achievement in core aspects of the subject.
Based on the English National Curriculum, the DT department has created engaging schemes of work for each year group that blend subject theory with exciting practical activities. Taught by a close-knit team of passionate, specialist Design and Technology Beaks from both the Prep and Senior schools, pupils at MCM benefit from a quality STEM education from seven years old. It is a challenging yet inspiring learning experience, helping learners progress from a foundation level through to the well-respected IB in Design and Technology.

Example projects and topics completed over the past years include:
Year 3
– Paddle Power (energy, buoyancy, upcycling and recycling)
– Rangoli Stamps (cultural influences, colour wheel, geometric & rotational symmetry)
– Radical Rockets (graphic design & space travel)
– Fruity Felt Friends (an introduction to textiles, sources, properties and processing techniques)

Year 4
– Mechanicards (mechanical diorama class project – traditional tales themed)
– Land Yacht (DT keywords, common processes and multi-stage sequences)
– Puzzled (world travel – Geography themed, printing techniques)
Year 5
– Pathfinder Torches (introduction to electronics, circuits and schematics)
– All Greek To Me (introduction to Food Tech, food preparation, safety and culture)
– Straw Structures (shell/frame structures and forces)

Year 6
– Bespoke Rulers (design process, design conventions, graphic design & 2D software)
– Ping Pong Paddles (product analysis, manufacturing using machinery and hand tools)
– Delightful Drinks (graphic design, packaging semiotics, typography and presentation skills)
Cuttlefish Casting (ocean pollution, casting process & metal work

Year 7
– Monster Madness (an introduction to textiles, sources, properties and processing techniques)
– Jewellery Box (marking out, developing accuracy skills, confidence using machinery)
– Robotic Hands (Muscles, bones, tendons, modelling techniques, mechanics, levers and pivots)
– Soma Soma (visualisation & drawing techniques including isometric and perspective, 3D graphics and 3D printing, nets, workshop skills).

Year 8
– Lit Lighting (concrete casting, AC electronics, electricity from source to socket)
– Glorious Isolation (architectural design process, creativity within constraints, 2D & 3D CAD, modelling)
– Flatpack Fun (innovative design, target market, artwork, efficient use of materials, presentation skills).
– Little Bits Challenge (teamwork, UN Sustainable Development Goals, innovation, presentation skills, electronics & schematics).