The Sydney 2000 Olympic Caldron
The Sydney 2000 Olympic Cauldron was re-purposed after the games to be the center piece of the overflow park at the Olympic Site.

At this time of the year, students completing the preliminary stage of the Design and Technology course will be discussing ideas for their major project for the H.S.C. (Find some examples here of previous works) But before we look at some ideas for your major project, it may be opportune to go over the general requirements of this task as set out by NESA.

All students undertaking the Design and Technology course are expected to complete a major design project. (MDP)
Your Design and Technology MDP is worth 60% of the marks for your H.S.C. and can be begun at the beginning of the H.S.C course. It consists of a practical project as well as a folio documenting the design process undertaken to arrive at your project solution. (Click here for a portfolio guide) The MDP folio and project are marked concurrently by two or more examiners from NESA and given a mark  out of 60. To be successful in this project, you will need to  be able to demonstrate a wide range of qualities. Your Major Design Project must fit into one of three categories :-
– A product
– A system
– An environment

Design and Technology - From Concept to Solution. A guide to your major project success

Every product ever made has been designed. It is for this reason that the possible options for a HSC major design project are almost endless. All products, systems and environments need to be designed by someone at some stage, and hence have the potential for being a successful MDP. A good way to start thinking of possible projects for your HSC is to use cognitive organiser strategies such as mind mapping, a PMI table or brainstorming. You may come across a problem during the day that you think could be done better or that should be easier to do. These are opportunities to add to your lists of possible projects. It would be of benefit to create a mind map of the problem you encountered so as to explore the idea completely.

Some advice on selecting a MDP

Choose a project that a Year 12 student could be reasonably expected to complete. For example, a team of designers, engineers and draftsmen would be involved in the design of a complete hotel, a new highway bridge or new Olympic Stadium and it would take this team years to complete it. You will not be able to cover all the aspects required in a project like this to the depth that would need to be covered. You may choose to design portions of a whole project, or give ideas for the whole project and then just concentrate on one or a few sections. For example, the design of an alternative ergonomic, durable and comfortable seat would be an appropriate design project. Alternatively, the exterior or lobby area of a new hotel could also form the basis of your project. You should select an MDP that reflects your ability and interests. This will help you keep motivated though out year 12. A project that you are able to use later will also help as the year progresses. Will it be something you could use after it is completed? Could you use the project as an example of work you can do when seeking employment or trying to enter specific university or TAFE courses. Think about your financial and time limitations. Designing can be expensive, but it does not have to be. A big project can be expensive and can require an excessive amount of time to complete however many of the best MDP’s use minimal materials and are inexpensive to produce. Don’t try to do something just like you saw from last years Design and Technology class. Be innovative and different. The examiners want to see something new and imaginative. Think of the last time you saw something new and thought WOW. This is the kind of project you want.

Use these free resources to help in developing decisions for selecting a suitable MDP

Below are a list of ideas that may help you in selecting a major project.

Some of these ideas will have links which may be useful as inspirational material. I would suggest using this list to help develop discussion within your class or to begin a mind mapping exercise which may ultimately generate a short list of ideas


An alternative system for collecting honey from Bee hives (View example)

A piece of household furniture using recycled materials (View example)

A theater costume (View example)
A range of stamps with a theme (View example 1) or (View example 2)
An object used to hang coats (View example)
A water monitoring device
A walking frame for a child with disabilities
Protective equipment (View video link)
An interior design for an office or home
Clothing that gives feedback (View example)
Swimwear (View example)
A water craft (Boat, Canoe or surfboard) (View example)
Clothing accessories or a coordinated fashion range (View example)
A toolbox for woodworking tools
A graphic design of a car, truck, train or bus
A packaged computer game (View example)An iBook (View example 1) or (View example 2)
A toy for a child with disabilities
A print publication


A product developed in kit form (View Video Link)
A security system
Water drainage system
A crop management system
A system to encouraging better nutrition
A hydroponics system
A manufacturing production line
A marketing/management strategy for a new product
An interactive multi-media computer package
A robotics application
A system for reducing household energy use
A traffic control unit
A theatrical lighting system
A colour photographic storage system
An urban transport system
A computer program for data analysis
A household management system. (View link)



A design to minimise flooding effects on houses (View link)
A foyer for a hospital
An innovative design for a tent (View link)
A more permanent tent structure (View link)
A housing estate
A computer network environment
A soil conservation strategy for a rural property
An urban recreational walking path
An outdoor exercise circuit a town plan
A playground (View link)
A solar house
A food conservation program
A restaurant or coffee shop in a shopping center
Signage for a new transport precinct
A sustainable farm
An industrial complex
An underground dwelling (View link)
An ergonomically designed work environment
Fire resistant house
A mini wonderland at a children’s hospital
A modern building.
A new railway station layout
An amusement park

What ever your final decision may be, it is essential that you begin the process very early in the H.S.C year of studies. Don’t take on something that is too complicated or beyond your experience and ability. Seek advice from your teacher and others.

Other links

Past Design and Technology Projects

Student Project Interviews from The Powerhouse Museum

Project backgroundVideo link
Life guard assistant
Whilst this example is of an Industrial Technology Multimedia project, the concept would suit a Design and Technology project as the project. A product like this would suit a student wanting to raise awareness of an issue, provide resources for an educational setting
Solar bag product – This product is a good example of the use of a variety of materials and technologies. It is also important to note that the student speaks about seeking opportunities to attend learning workshops which helped her understand the process of creating aspects of her project.
The Bin Buddy, addressing the problem people have in getting their bins up and down long driveways. It attaches to a vehicle using a conventional tow ball so bins can be easily lifted off the ground, transported to the roadside, then lowered for pick up.
Nesting box installation system –
Coffee Pod cutter – The need for this product was to create a product that could assist in reducing the waste produced from coffee pods
Textiles based project which used old maps to create a new product