IB Design | Halcyon International School London

IB Design

The infusion of technology in the school has encouraged research and innovation throughout the community.

NEASC, 2018

Grade 7 Smoothie Design
classroom case study

In IB Design, students have the opportunity to take full responsibility for the development, review, and refinement of their products: building relationships with their ‘clients’, undertaking research on design technology processes, and reporting customer feedback throughout the course of each project. In Design, Grade 7 designed smoothies aimed at providing students with a menu of energising ‘brain-boosting’ snacks to prepare them for a day of learning. Grade 6 acted as their clients, sampling combinations of ingredients ranging from spinach to honey and considering how successfully the smoothie fit the design brief.


Design (Group 7)

Design (Group 7) is a part of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme at Halcyon, compulsory from Grade 6-9, and a popular optional subject in Grade 10.

Design challenges students’ creativity by requiring them to combine their skills from different disciplines to create solutions to problems using the design cycle: identifying issues, researching materials and developing final products. This provides students with an opportunity to prepare for the thorough process of research and development involved in the Personal Project (Grade 10) and Extended Essay (Diploma Programme).

Through this process, and an exploration of how past, present and emerging design has developed “within cultural, political, social, historical and environmental contexts”*, our students develop an appreciation of design and respect for alternative viewpoints and solutions.

In Halcyon’s purpose-built design lab, students enjoy time dedicated to analyzing their brief, developing ideas, creating solutions and evaluating their projects. We enjoy showcasing their work, and invite you to learn about some of their projects below.

*Quotations are taken from the International Baccalaureate Subject Guides. Read more:
MYP Curriculum

Example work from students

Digital game interdisciplinary unit

In Grade 8’s English/Design Interdisciplinary Unit, students used their coding skills to build an interactive game version of book chapters that they wrote in their English class. Each student wrote chapters as their own creative additions to ‘The House on Mango Street’ by Sandra Cisneros, and used their critical thinking skills to adapt these narratives to a coded format that could be enjoyed by their peers.

‘Halcyon Who?’ Project

Incorporating the real-life contexts our students encounter on a daily basis is key to sparking an environment of inquiry, investigation, and analysis. Grade 7 Design students were tasked with independently crafting an introduction email to a staff member, arranging a meeting, researching their needs, investigating possible solutions, and designing a product – problem-solving skills that lay the path for success. Read our blog below.

IB Design Enrichment

Design Explorations

Many of our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and Creativity Explorations are aimed at supporting our students in developing their understanding of the design process. Building Wearable Technology, Robotics, Makerspace, App Maker, Baking, and Board Games explorations require students to design a ‘product’ – a robot, recipe, or game – with other people. Through our STEM Explorations, students can also develop a stronger understanding of technical design terms as they learn to code and program applications.

Personal Learning

Throughout the course of their Passion Projects, Personal Projects and Extended Essays, students have the opportunity to delve deeper into design-related interests ranging from computer science to video game design. Past Personal Projects have included building an arcade machine and designing and illustrating a coffee-table book on influential women.

National Competitions

Our students are encouraged to submit a page of their own entries to the Design Museum’s annual Design Ventura competition. Students’ innovative ideas have included a bottle fitted with an alarm clock that reminds its user to drink on an hour basis; a lamp with a task-planner attached; and fitted book-corner protectors.

Clubs and super-curriculars

– Games! And More Games! Exploration
– Build Your Own Memory Exploration
– Building Wearable Technology Exploration
– Research Exploration
– Makerspace Exploration
– Future Entrepreneurs Exploration
– App Maker Exploration
– Trashion Exploration

Work Experience, University and Careers Counselling

IB Design Facilities

Design Laboratory

Our students are able to enjoy a cutting-edge design laboratory on-site, which features a 3D Printer, colour and material swatches, a workshop table, and vibrant displays of example design work.

London Exhibitions

Our campus is within close distance of the Design Museum, a central London venue that celebrates the history of product design and product innovation, and features thought-provoking exhibitions on typography, sustainability, music, and more.

Visits from designers

As well as learning from inspiring exhibitions in London, our students have welcomed designers and academics from all over the world to the design laboratory to share information about their experiences and insights into their work. Recent visitors have included Haidee Drew, and Claire Dawson, a senior lecturer in Fashion Management at Coventry University.

Design Laboratory

Or Design Laboratory provides a brightly lit and spacious workspace for our young innovators, featuring inspiring displays of student work on the walls.

Subject groups:

IB Design

We invite you to explore the full range of IB subject areas in the Middle Years Programme and the Diploma Programme. You can also review students’ subject options at both Higher Level and Standard Level in the Diploma Programme, which may help your family think about a subject combination that will provide a good foundation for a range of courses at universities and colleges around the world.