Lesson 1: Exploring frame structures

Using toothpicks and sweets, pupils explore different frame structures to test which are the most stable

Before the lesson

Learning objectives

To create a range of different shaped frame structures

National curriculum

  • Use research and develop design criteria to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that are fit for purpose aimed at particular individuals or groups.
  • Generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas through discussion, annotated sketches, cross-sectional and exploded diagrams, prototypes and CAD
  • Select from and use a wider range of materials, components and construction materials according to their functional properties and aesthetics
  • Investigate and analyse a range of existing products


  • Year 3 – Draw 2D shapes and make 3D shapes using modelling materials; recognise 3D shapes in different orientations and describe them
  • Year 4 – Compare and classify geometric shapes, including quadrilaterals and triangles, based on their properties and sizes

Success criteria

Cross-curricular links

Attention grabber

Main event


Pupils needing extra support: Could produce simple, smaller structures and may need to rely more heavily on images for ideas.


Pupils working at greater depth: Should explore larger, more complex structures (eg: with overhangs) and should experiment with different ideas.

Wrapping up

Assessing pupils' progression and understanding


Created by:
Vicki Risianova,  
Design & Technology specialist
After 4 years of being a TV and radio presenter, Vicki headed to the secondary classroom where she spent 12 years teaching Design and Technology as well as PE. Working as a subject leader, she ran D&T tournaments and weekly…
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