Overview: Course

The specification for Junior Cycle Graphics focuses on developing students’ understanding of and skills in the applications and impact of technologies in the world around them. These will be achieved through three inter-connected contextual strands: 2D graphics, 3D graphics and Applied graphics

Strand 1: 2D graphics  

In this strand, students will engage with, understand and apply the fundamental concepts and principles of 2D constructions, 2D shapes and projection systems. Throughout their studies, students will gain an appreciation of the application of 2D graphics to problem solving and develop an understanding of the role of 2D graphics in the creation of 3D objects and representations. Students should, as a result, be able to create clear representations of objects in space and accurately represent these in two-dimensions. 

Strand 2: 3D graphics  

In this strand, students will engage with, understand and use the fundamental concepts and principles underpinning 3D objects, modelling systems and graphical conventions. This strand is of specific importance in developing each student’s ability in visual imagery and representation. Students should as a result be able to accurately represent objects in three dimensions and apply these skills to problem solving. 

Strand 3: Applied graphics  

In this strand, students will draw on the knowledge, principles and techniques developed through the 2D Graphics and 3D Graphics strands to create and communicate solutions and information graphically. Students should be encouraged to investigate their physical environment and to apply the principles of 2D Graphics and 3D Graphics to the solution of a variety of problems. Students should be able to select the most appropriate methods to communicate their solutions to solve these problems, both in terms of their selection of graphical media and the mechanism for their utilisation.

While the learning outcomes are set out under strand headings, this should not be taken to imply that the strands are to be studied in isolation. The students’ engagement and learning are optimised by a fully integrated experience across the three strands. To give further emphasis to the integrated nature of learning, the learning outcomes for each strand are grouped by reference to four elements – Spatial reasoning, Design thinking, Communicating and Geometric principles and constructions.

Element 1: Spatial reasoning  

The learning outcomes from the different strands that are associated with this element encourage students to investigate a range of shapes, graphical information, objects and artefacts to assist students in developing their spatial ability. The learning outcomes aid the student in developing their abilities from initially recognising spatial properties to visualising their manipulation.

Element 2: Design thinking  

The learning outcomes from the different strands that are associated with this element encourage students to use their understanding of Graphics to develop ideas and solutions to everyday problems. Students will be develop the creative and innovative skills needed to develop and communicate their design solutions, influenced by their learning under the three strands. 

Element 3: Communicating  

The learning outcomes from the different strands that are associated with this element encourage students to communicate through appropriate media to relay technical information, and to design ideas and solutions to problems. Emphasis should be placed on developing the students’ abilities to communicate through a range of graphical media and make decisions on the appropriateness of specific media relative to specific stages of a design process.

Element 4: Geometric principles and constructions  

The learning outcomes from the different strands that are associated with this element encourage students to execute their understanding of geometric shapes and objects in the construction of two-dimensional and three-dimensional representations and in the solving of geometric problems. Students will adapt their knowledge from classroom activities to explore the role of geometric principles and constructions in the natural world around them.


Graphics uses an interdisciplinary approach which encourages the integration of the three strands in the teaching and learning of the subject. It has been designed for a minimum of 200 hours of timetabled student engagement across the three years of junior cycle.
This specification aims to strike a balance between exploring the breadth of possibilities the study of the subject presents and providing opportunities for in-depth experiences of particular areas, as appropriate. To this end, the specification embodies a certain amount of flexibility and freedom for teachers to facilitate learning in a way that reflects students’ own choices, their curiosity and their creativity. The achievement of learning outcomes should be planned in a way that is active and stimulating.