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SL/HL Core Content

Topic 1 - Design process

This topic introduces the design cycle model—a fundamental concept underpinning the design process and central to a student’s understanding of design activities. Each element of the design cycle represents how designers progress through the design process to refine the design solution in increasing detail. The topic then moves on to focus on the strategies that designers use to arrive at solutions to problems, and the varied nature of the skills and knowledge they need to carry out their activities successfully. The skills identified in this topic should be reflected in the internal assessment (IA) and reinforced throughout the course.

Design Council Case Studies of the development of 5 innovative products.

Project Scenario - The Clock
Project Scenario - The Clock2 #2

Topic 2 - Product Innovation

Innovation and the continuous development of new and improved products are key to the design process. This topic considers the relationship between the design cycle and the product cycle. It moves on to explore the role of invention in innovation and the impact of market pull and technology push on product innovation. Establishing and developing markets for products are a critical element of the product cycle.

Topic 3: Green Design

Green design involves taking a “cradle to grave” approach to the design of a product by considering the adverse impacts of the product at all stages of its life (pre-production, production, distribution, including packaging, utilization and disposal) and seeking to minimise those impacts.

Project Scenario - The Garbage

Topic 4: Materials

This topic aims to ensure understanding of the relationships between materials choice, manufacturing processes and the concepts of designers. Design technology is intimately involved with material properties and the way they interlock with manufacturing processes. The intention of this topic is to gain an overview of this relationship while emphasising the choices available to designers

Smart Material Alternative to Styrofoam

Sporcle quiz

Project Scenario - Bridge

Topic 5: Product development

Designers need to understand a wide range of manufacturing processes and techniques to match their knowledge of materials. This topic does not try to encompass all known techniques but outlines and exemplifies the main manufacturing processes and techniques.

It is important to understand how the different processes link together in the manufacture of a product. During manufacture material is usually first shaped crudely and then more precisely into finished parts or components and finally assembled. Some products or components are made by a single process although most require a mixture of processes.

Project Scenario

Topic 6: Product design

The designer, by instigating technological change, is implicated in the resultant social consequences. Commonly these are seen as unexpected or unwanted effects arising from a new product, technique or system. This topic focuses on the designer’s responsibilities to the consumer/user, the client or manufacturer, environment and society, and how these responsibilities can sometimes cause conflict.

Project Scenario - Percentiles data logging.

Topic 7 - Evaluation

Project Scenario - Mobile Phone Evaluation.

H.L. Additional Content

Topic 8 - Energy

Topic 9 - Structures

PBS Building Big Lab

Topic 10 - Mechanical design

Project Scenario - Child's toy

Topic 11 - Advanced manufacturing techniques

Topic 12 - Sustainable development

  1. Project Solar Water Heater- Appropriate Technology for Egypt
  2. Project Solar Cooker - Appropriate Technology for Egypt
  3. Project Solar Cooker2 - Solar Cooker
  4. Project Wind - Appropriate Technology for Egypt

SL/HL Option

Option A: Food Science and Food Industry

Additional Hl content

Project Scenario - Healthy Snack food

Option B: Electronic Product Design

Option C: CAD/CAM


Excerpted from Design Technology: guide. Cardiff Wales, UK: International Baccalaureate Organization, 2001.

Excerpted from Design Technology: guide. Cardiff Wales, UK: International Baccalaureate Organization, 2007.

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Page last modified on August 26, 2012, at 04:15 AM